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Who will be ousted from the revolving door of celebrity next?

In the age of the internet, a celebrity can fall from fame just as fast as they rose towards it. But this strange phenomenon mainly happens to famous women, and it’s causing them to send fans one simple message: I am human.

It seems like every week there’s a new star on our radar. I’m not talking about NASA’s findings. I’m talking about celebrities.

You know the drill. Out of nowhere, the internet begins banding together in adoration for a particular actress, musician, or artist – think Tyla, Sabrina Carpenter, and Ice Spice.

As a result of everyone with an internet connection gushing over how fun and unique their art or overall image is, they’re trending online on a regular basis. Suddenly, you see them everywhere.

The algorithm spews you their music while in discovery mode, shows you every time PopCrave has tweeted about them, and before you know it, you’ve unwittingly learned everything there is to know about this person, right down to their favourite pizza topping.

As it does with all things new and shiny, mass media capitalises on the public’s obsession with the Person of the Moment – engage idolisation mode – by slapping these individuals onto magazine covers and calling them ‘the goddess of pop’ or the ‘people’s princess of rap.’

Then, also seemingly out of nowhere, the internet turns against them. These stars are suddenly the subject of intense criticism, labelled cringe, annoying, or boring – a brutal consequence of overexposure they didn’t ask for in the first place.

But have you noticed that this mainly happens to women?

You’ve been “Woman’d”

This modern phenomenon – where everyone stops liking the same woman at the same time – has been coined being ‘woman’d’ by culture writer Rayne Fisher Quann.

The way female celebrities are shot to fame and torn down just as quickly is described by Quann as a lifecycle with a ‘depressing inevitability’. Writer Juanjo Villalba describes it as ‘a dynamic that pushes a woman to perilous heights, so the public can relish in taking her down a peg and then pat themselves on the back when they build her back up again’.

It’s happened not just to musicians and actors such as Britney Spears, Millie Bobby Brown, and Anne Hathaway – the latter of which was accused of being ‘annoyingly perfect’ and ‘calculatedly earnest’ – but also to the highly successful writer Rupi Kaur, whose poems were wildly popular on Instagram throughout the 2010s.

Rayne Fisher Quann went viral for her concept of being ‘woman’d’ when she sent out a tweet predicting it will also happen to Ottessa Moshfegh, the writer of the highly-successful novels, Eileen and My Year of Rest and Relaxation.

Today, a woman’s rapid rise to success means a fall from grace can almost be expected. No one, not even introverted writers, are safe.

A human, not a villain

It all starts when we see a side of a side of a star that is maybe, I don’t know, human?

Perhaps they’re caught on camera ignoring a fan (likely because they didn’t see or hear them), or revealing what audiences perceive to be a ‘bad take’ in the middle of an interview (Gasp! You can’t have a different opinion to me!). They may simply fail at presenting themselves in the most palatable way possible.

The media then snowballs off the public’s reaction, publishing any and every piece of content they can that diminishes the reputation of the female star they once helped elevate to stardom.

And while these narratives were once limited to the pages of gossip magazines, our internet algorithms create an all-access echo chamber that repeats and repackages our own gradually worsening views about certain individuals.

With so much content affirming our newfound beliefs, watching the downfall can become more entertaining than the celebrity themselves.

Unsurprisingly, female stars are becoming more aware of this trap that’s been set for them.

Those with large audiences have started stressing to their followers that they’re not perfect people. They admit to being flawed and explicitly ask not to be put on a pedestal. They’re fully aware that their fall from grace is one poorly judged or well-intentioned action away.

That women have to warn audiences from perceiving them as god-like individuals is ridiculous. None of us are perfect, so why do we expect stars to be?

The reason is, of course, that celebrities are seen as commodities born for our consumption. In that case, remaining desirable requires being timeless and designed without flaws in a culture that values novelty and trendiness more than ever before.

Let’s be real, this is an impossible task for anyone to take on.

The good news is, we don’t have to perpetuate the cycle. Becoming less of a fan doesn’t mean require becoming a rampant hater. We should remember that we’re all human. Yes, even Rihanna, as hard as that is to believe.

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