Earlier this week I was looking at an article on The Guardian's website of a collection of pictures behind the scenes of the White House during Barack Obama's tenure, as taken by the official White House photographer Pete Souza (click here to see them for yourself).
A friend had shared this post on Facebook suggesting that the reason why it may have been of interest to him being 'maybe because he is just a normal man with a very important job' which I agreed with and it also got me thinking, having been something that I have thought about in the past.
When a person decides to take on a career in which, if they reach the pinnacle of success, will ultimately be in the public eye 24/7 and (whether consented or not) constant media coverage, they essentially become public property. It is so simple for us, to forget that it isn't by choice that we see it all, flaws 'n' all. It is something that most certainly comes with the territory and from this side of the spectrum, one could so naîvely say 'If you don't want to be followed about by the paparazzi you shouldn't have been a [insert job that comes with a degree of celebrity status here]' but I think that's an incredibly unfair way of looking at things.
I want to look specifically at Rihanna and use her as an example, with the situation I'd particularly like to put the spotlight on being her apparent binge drinking and drug use in Summer 2012 that the media so kindly informed us of. Why is this our problem? Because apparently she's a role model... Did she ask to be a role model? I don't think so. Furthermore, She's a young 20-something year-old just trying to enjoy her life who just so happens to be one of the biggest artists on the planet. Why should that mean we constantly berate and attempt to impose on her life decisions? I may not know her personally, but I just look at her as a young 20-something like myself, trying to enjoy the years of her youth which will not last forever. Why should she care what people think? Why should she be a victim of her success?
Of course other's will argue about the route that the likes of Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain and so many others have gone down but, just like them, Rihanna is an adult who is in control of her own life. There are far worse people in this world than her, and so many other celebrities who the media and public criticise, but because they're famous, it means we should judge them?
I think the problem lies in the fact that, because of these people's talents, status, stature and/or role within society so many of us lift them to an unjustified platform and, inevitably, so many of them fail to meet our ridiculous standards. I'll be the first person to put my hand up and say that the public figures that I look up to are on a high platform but that platform is, in most cases, restricted to their craft. They are only human, like us, and I wish we could all do the impossible: appreciate what they do and respect that they make mistakes, like we do, difference being that they are blown to a huge disproportion.
As for Barack, well, I found it quite touching looking at those pictures. Because in light of all the politics, the public appearances, the promises, the disappointments and everything else, it reminds us that he is only human. A human who is doing a job in the public eye but only human nonetheless.
Currently listening to: Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d (album - below is a preview of it)