Celebrity buzz has taken over our social and personal lives. Right from Will Smith’s unforgettable slap to Vinayakan’s comment on consent, conversations about these events are still playing out even today.
The month of March ended with the ignited discussion of a very controversial slap. Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on the stage during the 94th Academy awards. I’m not going into detail as you have been listening, reading, and watching this for weeks now. Prior to that, another famous commentary lit up social media. In effect, the comment was about “consent for sex” that actor Vinayakan made. Let’s go back a little further now, to Oct 2, 2021. The police arrested Aryan Khan, son of King Khan, in connection with the Mumbai cruise drug case.
I’m pretty sure a lot of controversial statements and matters have happened during, after, and before these three incidents. But, here, I have taken these three instances of celebrity buzz to get to my point. (It’s personal and the matter is yours to think about).
So, what’s the point of stating three unrelated matters in different degrees of severity in a single article? Let’s see them one by one.
Alas! Will Smith Slapped
After the incident at the Oscars, the most googled health condition on the internet was Alopecia. People who had no idea about the condition got to know in detail about it. This is the only plus point to the controversy. The matter of discussion, however, was about whether Will Smith and Chris Rock did the right thing. We might find the slap reaction extreme considering the joke.
First of all, it is not at all okay to joke about a medical condition, period! Equally, it is not okay to harm someone based on a joke they said. I said equally as both things are of grave importance weighing one another. (You might have a different opinion). “Reading the room” is as important as being sensitive. If it wasn’t Will Smith who slapped, this would never be a story. That is exactly the kind of influence celebrities have in today’s world.
Here is an interesting example to dive more into this topic. In May 2013, Angelina Jollie announced that she underwent BRCA genetic testing, tested positive, and underwent a double mastectomy. This test is done to check whether a person has a genetic mutation that may develop into breast or ovarian cancer. People with a history of breast or ovarian cancer in the family are more likely to get the disease and usually, they undergo this test. But during a short span of 15 days since she made her announcement, there was a significant increase in 64% of total BRCA tests taken by women between the age group of 18 and 64. This effect was named the “Angelina Effect”. However, with time, the news of its significance decreased and only a small percentage of women who tested positive underwent mastectomy.
You all might be familiar with the Black Panther fame “Chadwick Boseman” who passed away on 28 Aug 2020 due to stage three colon cancer. What happened after his death? The world mourned over the loss of a favorite Avenger. The director of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever refused to recast another person in his role respecting Chadwick. But, did, by any chance, the percentage of people who undertook colonoscopy increase after his death? The answer is no. There wasn’t any indication of colon cancer awareness spread after his death. This is an example of the influence celebrities have on common people rather than medical professional experts. We see what the media shows us, we think what the media wants us to think about.
You can listen to an elaborate discussion about the above-mentioned incidents here :
Is Consent a Green Card For Sex?
Yet another celebrity buzz that got us talking was when Vinayakan openly declared his take on consent for sex. Just to say, the actor was clearly provoked by the interviewer who intentionally put out a question that had nothing to do with the movie promotion. People do make mistakes when they are angry and may speak of things they don’t mean to (or did he mean it ?). But, what he said was absolutely wrong too. Also, this incident was read along the lines of me too allegations against Vinayakan. Not much to say, things got out of his hand. I’m not commenting on the me-too allegation as the case is ongoing and I hope justice prevails.
Now let’s move on to the actual issue to be addressed here. What does the word consent mean? Is consent a matter to be addressed only in the case of sex? “Consent means the permission for something to happen”. Not just in the case of sex but applicable for everything. Consent (here, for sex) can’t be measured on a sentence but on the interpersonal relationship that one person has with another and on how healthily this matter is communicated between them. Also, it depends upon the understanding of whether you and the person you are asking for consent are on the same plate about the addressed topic.
Here, in Vinayakan’s case too, the “permission to seek sex” became a celebrity buzz after the interview went viral. This topic got on the plate (which is a good thing) just because a celebrity commented on it. It easily dismissed the long struggles of sex educators and sometimes, medical professionals who try to teach the importance of the topic with scientific and empirical evidence for so long. So what happened when it went viral?
Youtube and other social media pages were flooded with comments and personal takes on the matter of consent. It turned out to be informative and educational in some too. But still, it hasn’t received the significance of how comprehensive sexuality education is a necessity for the educational curriculum. Will similar issues and topics finally lead to the educational prospect? It’s something you could think of. The one thing we need to accept and find solace with is the fact that we are all part of this faulty system of inequality and exclusiveness. We are all learning, unlearning, and relearning. To broaden our minds and grow, being inclusive is the best thing we can do. It’s not about what a celebrity said. Rather, it is about us and our society that needs to grow out of the moral bonds that we are set in.
How Can King Khan’s Son Be A Junkie?!
Were you alarmed at the news of Aryan Khan being caught by the NCB from an Empress ship off the coast of Mumbai? If yes, why were you alarmed? If not, do you have any other reason to quote it other than “ivarkokke pinne enthum avallo” or “ee field okke ingane thanneya kandille”? A lot of celebrities supported him. The media celebrated this news in all means possible. Days after this celebrity buzz, more than 25 kg of heroin worth 125 Cr was caught from Nhava Sheva Port in Navi Mumbai. The bustling hassle still encumbered SRK’s life as public sneering continued. The media was more than happy to trace his moves now they have a reason.
SRK is a superstar of utmost importance in the Indian film industry. Was the sudden bolt based on political or religious motives? It’s vague as the grey areas are still not clarified. But again, let me get to the point. There was a huge crowd looking up to the Badshah of Bollywood as their epitome of inspiration. People loved the onscreen hero for the real-life struggles that made him a hero. For them, he is more than a film star.
Fanhood is inevitable for a lot of celebrities and this puts them in a position of unforeseen social responsibility. They are required to act best in every means possible because the heroic tag can’t be removed now. If any crime happens, they are bound to comment. If any festival arrives, they are bound to wish. If any incident happens in their industry, their statement is validated irrespective of their importance in the particular situation. This might make them feel pressured but this “social responsibility” is inexorable. And what happens when this epitome’s son gets charged in a drug case? Ayyo, swantham mon ingane ayitano natukare upadeshikunne? The witches’ brew is set for SRK and his family.
All these three incidents made me think of the character “Mookkan” from the novel “Vishwavikhyathamaya Mookku” by Vaikom Muhammed Basheer.
The story is about a cook who turns out to be a celebrity. A strange thing starts to happen to the protagonist when he turns 24. His nose starts to grow tremendously. Within a short period, he loses his job as a cook when visitors poke into his personal life. Neither the authorities nor any political party stands by him. Even though his family undergoes hardships, no one is bothered about it. The annoyed protagonist soon shuts his house to prevent new visitors who curiously would come to see him. That’s when the real story starts.
People start bribing his mother to see the nose and in a few years, he becomes a millionaire. The rest is history. He acts in some movies, famous writers write his biography, and poets praise his nose. Mookan’s comment on every single thing happening around the world is deemed important. Anything he said or didn’t bother about, the public valued.
To those who haven’t yet read this story, please try. It is written in the most simplified manner possible to address a highly complicated affair. No offence, you or I can be the mookkan overnight and the world will still act like in the story.
Also Read: 9 Greatest Malayali Poets Of All Times
So, in essence, what I’m trying to convey by analyzing these three issues is that you might be a super fan of one celebrity or influencer. But understand, they are also humans like us. And if something happens, it is also our responsibility to think about the bigger picture in the incident. It is not just about who is right or wrong. But about what has to be done to prevent this incident from happening again (mainly for us).
It is not acceptable for a celebrity to mislead the public with comments from a personal point of view that can directly impact the minds of thousands. Audiences are the people who value and respect them. But understand it is also an individual’s responsibility not to blindly follow anyone’s word or act irrespective of their position and power. The same is applicable in the case of media. People love drama an celebrity buzz. The media uses this celebrity buzz to their advantage. Don’t fall prey here too.
Entertainment is not the same as education. To analyze and understand things we are all blessed with the power of thinking. Think, analyze, discuss, learn, unlearn, relearn and educate yourself! And don’t forget to criticize my article in the comments below.