I was watching Alivia D’Andrea’s Glow up Diaries the other day (Yes, I know I am a little older than her intended audience, but please bear with me either way). The first episode popped up on my Youtube home page and I opened it out of pure curiosity.
Whereas I am not entirely interested in the contents, I got quickly captivated by the masterful editing, which is praised by many and is one of the reasons why Ms. D’Andrea is so dearly beloved by her fans.
Alivia D’Andrea is the writer, actress, director, and editor of her series (The Glow up Diaries), which is honestly commendable, can you imagine being able to do all these things?
Anyway, as I was watching I started noticing a trend of people pointing out that Alivia D’Andrea is problematic.
The reason? “Someone who watches the Glow up Diaries could be motivated to engage in extreme dieting, this series is promoting diet culture, this is not ok.”
I don’t think Alivia D’Andrea is problematic, (I genuinely admire her skills) but these people who profit off of commenting on “problematic celebrities” like Alivia most likely are.
And it’s not just the Glow up Diaries, there are plenty of celebrities being called problematic for what they do, say, or not say (the recent trend calls celebrities out on not expressing their political views on Instagram).
If you are mad at problematic celebrities you are most likely the problematic one. And here is why.
1) There is a difference between “descriptive” and “prescriptive”, it’s on you to acknowledge that.
It goes without saying that a video or a text created with the intention of documenting or expressing something does not serve as a set of guidelines of what you shoud do. More often than not, people even put disclaimers to remind you that what you are watching is something personal to them, it does not apply to other people. In other words, entertainment is descriptive. Not prescriptive.
I came across a video of Italian Youtuber Wildflowermood about water fasting to heal from a disease (this was done with the support of an expert apparently). Just try and read the comments, you will find an insane amount of comments on the lines of “I have to work, there is no way I can just fast for two weeks”, “you will be happy to know that people who suffer from anorexia are now sharing this video”.
Fun fact, the video comes with a disclaimer at the very beginning, to warn the viewer that the fast had been prescribed to her specifically and has not to be done by other people, and if done, it cannot be done without being prescribed and followed by a specialist.
So who is problematic here? Someone documenting an almost harmless experiment online or people ignoring the disclaimer and attacking a Youtuber for posting an entirely descriptive video?
Nobody is telling you that you should do it as well. They are even putting a disclaimer to tell you the opposite, they are just documenting something they did.
There is a difference between descriptive and prescriptive and it is on you to be aware of this difference.
You might want to look inward and ask yourself why you feel that whatever other people do you should do it yourself.
2) You cannot expect moral perfection from an entertainer
I am so surprised that people should hold higher moral expectations for their entertainers, singers, content creators than their politicians.
One indeed has to be a decent human being, regardless of the platform they have. I would never excuse someone for being blatantly violent or racist.
The problem is when you expect celebrities to hold up to a standard that you wouldn’t even be able to hold up to “just because they have a bigger audience”.
It is a very 2021 thing to do, to expect people who choose one career path to excel at everything else as well. This has to stop.
The thing is, you have leaders, politicians, and administrators out there being shamelessly violent, racist, manipulative. Isn’t interesting how you expect nothing different of them? Why do you hold your entertainers to a higher moral standard than your leaders?
3) You disregard your educators when they fail to entertain you, and then proceed to bully your entertainers demanding that they educate you.
I once heard a colleague say “a teacher is like a rockstar, they have to set the tone and entertain the crowd”. I couldn’t disagree more.
Learning cannot always be entertaining.
I am a big proponent of the idea that the success of a lesson depends on the combined effort of the facilitator and the learners. It is pointless to blame it on the teacher’s lack of clout.
I know that there is this narrative of being cool for disregarding your educators, and it is also pretty common to blame it all on them, when you are bored at school, for not being entertaining enough.
But here we are, with this problematic tendency of disregarding your educators unless they are able to provide entertainment, and then expect your entertainers to provide the world with education instead.
I know you love your entertainers, you want them to be the heroes that can change the world for the better, but I’d like you to keep in mind that it is not your entertainers’ job to educate you, they chose a different career path.