Celebrities have always existed in some form. Throughout history, portraits of kings, queens, nobles, gods, popes and saints have been the subject of countless works of art.
Painted portraits, wall engravings, song verses, and stanzas of poetry are testaments to the enduring fascination with the human face. Some faces are so famous, such as the face belonging to Helen of Troy, that it is claimed, as English poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe, “launched a thousand ships.”
Modern history has brought with it new faces and facial fashions that we both admire and despise. serve as a
With our insatiable public appetite for celebrity images, it’s no wonder some celebrities welcome face masks as a way to avoid the public eye.
Social media and news are flooded with celebrity faces and continue to be important sources of desire and fandom. Increased accessibility to celebrity images via social media platforms has shaped and contributed to current beauty standards.
Seeing the faces of celebrities in images allows us to linger and study them at our leisure.
Instagram’s faces, featuring “ideal” yet common features created using filters, and the ever-expanding plastic surgery and beauty industry see it as a result of the frenzied consumption of celebrity images. can do.
Faces have become a kind of currency for celebrities. To reflect this ongoing phenomenon, one only needs to consider things like the Kardashian and Jenner families. However, other families have made multiple product recommendations.
However, using celebrity status for material or financial gain is not unique to the Kardashian-Jenners. It is perceived as a personal exchange through product consumption.
For 21st century celebrities, faces are indicators of value.
High visibility and name recognition
According to Stanford University professor Lawrence M. Friedman, one of the criteria for celebrity is “high profile.” Visibility can bring power and privilege, and celebrities understand this equation well.
Consider the example of harassed celebrity Kanye (Ye) West, who has been wearing a mask while performing since 2012. West has been photographed on numerous occasions wearing a mask to ensure his anonymity. ).
When celebrities wear masks, they perform the spectacle of anonymity rather than achieving anonymity per se.
Masks put additional distance between us and them – it allows for one-way scrutiny and the ability to see, but not be seen. This has the effect of preserving their relative status as images rather than recognizable entities.
Therefore, it is easy to forget that the object of this desire (or ridicule) is human. Some might suggest that this unsuccessful form of disguise was strategic or intentional, driving a frenetic economy of celebrity image production. It’s no wonder they’ll adopt masks in public if they can regain access to The West. I feel uneasy.
Australian singer Sia is also famous for her masking. It becomes a tool for playing and embodying characters.
Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk will also perform on stage wearing a fantastic mask. She once said of masks:
It’s a way to hide and reveal another side of yourself […] Wearing a mask makes me feel protected so that I can be myself.
self introduction and branding
For celebrities, masks have become a way of self-introduction and branding.
Our appetite for and consumption of celebrity faces shows no signs of abating, proving that we live in a “face society,” as philosopher Thomas Macho argued.
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The internet and social media platforms have created a culture of extreme visibility. In a saturated image culture, perhaps the last radical act a celebrity can do to achieve anonymity, or, paradoxically, to stand out from the ever-growing horde of celebrity faces is masking.
Reini Barton, Senior Lecturer, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Please read the original article.
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