Celebrities receive a massive amount of exposure in our society. We follow them on Twitter, search for gossip articles about their latest exploits and scrutinize every action they take. In essence, our society idolizes and subsequently worships a universe of mortal stars. It is an inevitable element of our cultural dialogue which characterizes our generation. However, we must ask ourselves. How much exposure is too much?
Recent celebrity gossip may help shed some light on this topic. “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara encountered a wardrobe malfunction during her Emmy experience on Sept. 23. Her dress tore during the festivities before the presentation of the “Best Comedy Series” Emmy. However, Vergara’s wardrobe team mended the dress 20 minutes before she accepted the award with the other members of the “Modern Family” cast.
So how do we know about the malfunction at all? It occurred beyond the scope of the public eye and was mended backstage before she accepted the award. Vergara posted a picture of the tear in the back of her dress via Twitter to inform her followers of the incident. In the picture she posted, one could clearly see the white thong she wore to the event. That picture promptly went viral on the internet and consumed segments of our cultural dialogue.
The wardrobe malfunction Vergara experienced was an accident. It does not compare to Janet Jackson’s blatant act of exposure during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show in 2004. However, it is still an example of overexposure. Vergara’s experience could have remained private and no one would have known it occurred. It is not an example of the paparazzi intruding on the life of a star to attain a photograph. According to an article by Kate Hogan in People Magazine, the Photo was taken by Vergara’s boyfriend, Nick Loeb.
If someone other than a celebrity posted this sort of picture on Twitter, they would probably face some sort of repercussion. For instance, they might lose their job. However, stars do not face this type of consequence. In their world, any type of publicity seems to be good because they receive attention.
In fact, some stars use overexposure as a catalyst to propel their careers. This description is applicable to stars such as the Kardashian family. According to an article in Forbes Magazine by Dorothy Pomerantz, “Reality stars like the Kardashians depend on overexposure to drive their businesses. They want to be in the spotlight constantly to get people to watch their shows and ultimately buy the products they endorse. We estimated that Kim Kardashian earned $12 million last year, not including what she got paid for her wedding.”
The media perpetuates the overexposure of stars by focusing on their news. In all likelihood, this trend is a result of the fact that stars such as the Kardashians are money-makers. There is a wide audience that wants to hear about them. Speaking in simple terms, their news sells. It is a topic that will generate a response from the American population, which will create revenue for media outlets.
However, I am not claiming that Vergara was motivated by this phenomenon. She shared an honest moment of her life with her followers, although she probably should have excluded the photograph from her Twitter post. Nonetheless, Vergara will still reap the benefits of overexposure even if she did not make the post with that intention. As a result of this incident, people will search for her picture, read new stories and observe her acting projects. I did all of those things during the writing process for this article. All of those things will increase her level of publicity. The individuals who engage in these activities will perpetuate the cultural continuum of the idolization and worship of stars which characterizes our generation.