By Brianna Allard
Beyoncé, Amy Schumer, Katie Perry, Demi Lovato, Kim Kardashian, Lena Dunham — at first it may seem like these celebrities have nothing in common, but as of recently, they have all been very vocal about their views on politics.
Additionally, all of them have received some sort of criticism for using their platforms to express their view on politics, criticism that is not very well — placed.
Some people think that celebrities should not use their social media platforms to express their political views, but I disagree. Celebrities have the same right to express their political views that everyday citizens do.
First, much of this controversy stems from the fact that politics has become taboo in today’s society. Even for everyday citizens, politics as a topic of conversation is generally avoided.
For example, as an International Studies student, I enjoy talking politics, both domestic and abroad. However, my grandmother refuses to talk about anything that has to do with politics with me. And this does not only apply to me — she does this to anyone in my entire family who does not agree with her.
This is the root of the issue in today’s society. We need to open up the political dialogue and make it mainstream.
In fact, I do believe that one of the reasons we are in the political situation we are in today – where the majority of Americans do not trust their elected representatives in Washington – is exactly because the majority of Americans feel uncomfortable broaching the topic of politics.
It is time to change that. It is time to open up political discourse and make it mainstream. Perhaps if more people talked about politics, especially their frustrations with the political system, we could see actual change in Washington.
Who better to start to open up this political discourse than celebrities? Many of the people I mentioned at the onset of this article are part of daily household conversations. Because these people are so popular, they can bring attention to the fact that politics needs to be discussed.
Celebrities have the ability to reach millions of people from the comfort of their homes. Kim Kardashian has 92 million followers on Instagram. Even Lena Dunham enjoys a rather large following. These social media accounts can be platforms for change.
Granted, some celebrities – Sophia Bush, Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham – already do this. Sophia Bush has been especially vocal since Trump’s election. She went to the Women’s March, and made a post prompting her followers to contact their senators and express their dissatisfaction.
Sophia Bush has the right idea. She, as an American citizen, has every right to express her dissatisfaction with politics on social media.
Being a celebrity should not change this right. True, some things are different for celebrities, but this should not be one of them. Celebrities have the ability to create a much needed political dialogue in the United States.
That being said, some celebrities take it too far. I think they should use their platform to discuss politics, but not to try and persuade their followers to agree with them. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that politics has become such a hard topic in society today. The discourse needs to be open, but to all opinions.
I think the reason why a lot of people do not like to talk politics is because political discussion soon turns to argument. Celebrities also have the power to change this. They obviously get thousands, if not millions of comments on their posts and it is safe to say that if they post something political they will get both positive and negative comments.
As household names, celebrities should set the example for others to engage in healthy political discussion rather than all—out arguments with those who leave negative comments.
I am not saying that celebrities have to respond to every negative comment they receive on their political posts, as that would be ridiculous.
I am just saying if they do publish a response to a negative comment, the response should be civil rather than aggressive. This is the example for political discourse we need.
Celebrities have every right to use their social media platforms to express their political views. They are great platforms to get the general population to bring politics back into everyday conversation. That being said, these platforms need to be used to promote politics in a positive, constructive way. The discourse needs to be civil and constructive, something that would be a nice and refreshing change from the current political conversation today.
Brianna Allard, FCRH ’18, is an international studies major from Somers, Connecticut