Your Problematic Fave

You know what celebrity you love, even though you know they aren’t what they seem – potential trigger warning for transphobia.

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Photo Courtesy of Selina Fluty

Kids and teenagers who don’t know better often idolize problematic faves.

Selina Fluty, Columnist

There are lots and lots of celebrities, all over the world. From Benedict Cumberbatch, to Misha Collins, to The Rock, there’s always somebody who has a large following of average teenagers or other people. As soon as there’s merch to buy, then somebody is going to think that a person is perfect. And, when I say that people will describe this celebrity as without flaw or imperfection, I don’t just mean that as a general term. No, there are people out there (and they’re not as uncommon as you think) who idolize regular human beings, like they’re an all-knowing creature who can do no wrong.

If you trek through social media and fan accounts of celebrities, then you’re bound to find somebody who perceives their favorite celebrity as more than human. These people tend to overlook or ignore their favorite celebrities’ mistakes and definite faults, some more drastic than others. Pick a favorite TV show, look up the cast, and you’ll find the one actor that everyone loves but has some opinions that need to be addressed that are totally ignored. These celebrities, who often have good intentions and are well-liked, can have multiple faults that can come off as rude and offensive to a large amount of people. Despite all this, kids who like the actor or actress don’t care or even ignore those faults, only to say that their idol is perfect and is always right. These celebrities are always called problematic faves.

For example, I’m going to own up to the fact that I have a problematic fave. Mine is Jared Padalecki, co-star on CW’s hit television show, “Supernatural.” I do think he has great intentions. He does run a campaign called “Always Keep Fighting,” an anti-suicide campaign that centers around selling t-shirts to support charities that help fight depression and self harm. He’s been on the show for around 11 years now, and has gained a considerable fan base because of it. He has 2.21 million followers on Twitter, and most are impressionable young people that can easily be affected by their favorite celebrities.

Although Padalecki is a good guy and is referred to as an oversized puppy, he’s not perfect, like a great many people like to say he is. Besides often throwing in a sexist joke at con panels filled with mostly women and female teenagers, he also made transphobic Twitter posts at various times, like when Justin Bieber’s mugshot came out, and he stated that “… she looks kinda hot without all her makeup on,” according to a screenshot of the tweet posted on celebreceipts on Tumblr. Even though Justin Bieber isn’t exactly a great role model, misgendering someone creates a toxic atmosphere for people who request different pronouns than the ones they were given at birth.

Not only that, but he’s often insulted his “Supernatural” co-stars, Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins, by using homophobic and transphobic language in tweets. Also, in scandals years past, he’s often gone overboard with pranking and mocking Misha Collins. In one April Fool’s prank, he ended up leaving Collins afraid that he would lose his job.

But, when you get down to it, rare is the person who doesn’t see Padalecki as a “perfect sunflower child,” or something along those lines. Even when people are shown that the actor isn’t a perfect rendition of someone’s hopes and dreams, they ignore the obvious signs that a human being isn’t perfect. Instead, they just go to defend Padalecki. Since the 33-year-old actor also has such a large fan base, he’s heavily protected from criticism.

And that actor isn’t the only one. There’s tons of celebrities that are given the same treatment, and sometimes, it ends up with the celebrity acting arrogant, and letting their fans take the blame and protect them. These protected celebrities sometimes even attack their own fans, like when Justin Bieber reportedly spit on his own fans. However, Bieber’s fans are always quick to try and protect him and claim that he’s only doing what’s best. I doubt getting a DUI is really a spitting image of “perfect,” but you do you, right?

Celebrities are definitely important to society. They can raise awareness about things that the average person can’t, and they can bash stereotypes and do wonderful things for fans. And, yes, since they are human, they make mistakes. Obviously, sending message after hateful message to a celebrity who messed up isn’t how to handle the problem, because they’re already getting notified of their mistake from tons and tons of sources and news sites. But, neither is almost all of the fans silently letting the celebrity think that they haven’t done anything wrong. Celebrities aren’t perfect people (hence the fact that every celebrity can be called a problematic fave), but they can’t be constantly defended by their own fans, sometimes so ruthlessly that hundreds of people will attack one person. However, they need to be educated on their mistakes, like the rest of us humans.