The popularity of a film star can be defined as the aspect of a player’s personality whereby their professional and private lives are merged into one with regards to public interest. Thus, the star is not like a picture personality whereby the people get interested only in information that regards their work life; the star image herein is beyond the control of the production company in question. The player, in this case, has more control over the narrative that people get to hear seeing as it is not just about their work but more about their entire lives. A star image is thus the presentation that the player in question puts forward consistently, like a brand that is associated with their name and performance.
Dyer notes, “Stars are often molded as per social constructs, in that they represent the aspects of their culture that are associated with success, beauty, perfection, womanhood or masculinity” (85). Depending on what message the player seeks to pass across to their audience, they are often dependent on the cultural definitions of moral and ethical propositions in order for them to show conformity or defiance depending on what would sell their image. The people would easily perceive a thin woman as beautiful and a fat woman as bold and lovable in regards to the circumstances within which the woman is presented to them. Here, the thin woman is the cultural norm with respect to the prevailing stereotypes while the fat woman is considered as a welcome exception. Culture, in this case, affects how people embrace the star depending on whether they are conforming to or defying the social constructs and disregarding the norms.
In Sunset Boulevard, Norma Desmond is a faded star. She is long forgotten having outlived the popularity of her acting style (Sunset Boulevard). The star image that she tries to revive is the picture personality that is appreciated only for the performance on the screen and involvement in the film industry. Norma lives like a recluse and has no social involvement whatsoever. It is thus a challenge to sell her as a performer given that the public is already accustomed to knowing their stars beyond their professional lives. Sunset Boulevard presents Norma Desmond as a forgotten star, one whose fame was entirely based on her appearance on the silver screen. It thus follows that when she stopped acting and fell into oblivion. The fact that she had no social life may have worked for her previously, but the American society and Hollywood have changed . Previously, the film consumers were content with just knowing the names of the performers and the projects in which they had worked. The production houses were in total control of the stars such that all that mattered was which movies they were in and how they looked in these movies. Nevertheless, that was all in the past, in the days of the silver screen. This is why Norma Desmond was unlikely to get back into the limelight. She was not interesting enough for any producer considering that the actors and actresses are responsible for selling the movie.
According to Turner, “The relation herein is that the society today pays as much attention to the means as it glorifies the end” (198). In the case of stardom, the means is important given that the player’s private life generates content for tabloids thus giving the public something to dwell on in between movie projects. This is what drives the numbers in filmmaking companies today just as it did in America during the 1950s.
A famous contemporary star is Ben Affleck, an individual who has been associated with narcissism and metrosexuality. His star image is that of perfection as a successful white male who is not only extremely handsome and stylish, but also a very talented entertaining performer in his projects. Ben Affleck has been featured in fashion magazines where he wears very expensive clothes and accessories in a bid to stamp his worth to the readers. He is a remarkable individual in terms of his professional life considering the number of movies he has worked in. However, his private life is also impressive and successful considering that he is one of the few individuals who have managed to survive great declines in image owing to personal choices like his relationships with famous singer and actress Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow. These relationships were in some way expected to take a toll on the actor’s career, but he managed to stay afloat as there were people interested in him that keept him in the limelight much longer than was expected by his critics.
By staying in the center of attention, he has come to be viewed as a symbol of resilience and sustainability; his strength is used as a branding value for masculinity in the US and beyond. Currently, he is happily married to Jennifer Garner and is seen as an example of a successful man with a family by his side and a very successful career to match. He is considered to be very resilient because of his experience of alcoholism because of which he had been staying at a rehab facility in 2001.
The star image of Ben Affleck makes his fans appreciate him more for being ‘human’ as he makes mistakes and manages to get back up and endear himself to the public again. His ability to always bounce back is his greatest selling point, which is used to depict strength and encourage the consumers to pick themselves up and move on when in a tight spot.
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