Michelle Bellamy: Sending friend requests

When the first Deadpool movie came out, eager fans had the opportunity to witness Captain America and Iron Man argue over which team Deadpool would join in the pending Civil War. It didn’t matter that this occurred over Twitter, nor did it matter that it was actually Robert Downy Jr. and Chris Evans fighting over Ryan Reynolds: the fans ate it up.

There has been an interesting shift that I’ve noticed over the course of the past decade. Fantasy and reality have been merging, celebrity status has required more yet less effort at the same time, and connectivity is stronger yet virtually nonexistent. I have reached an odd and awkward point where I feel like I am just as close to celebrities as I am to some relatives and friends.

On my Facebook page, I have this collection of people I’ve met in my various jobs, schools, and other activities as well as family, but I also have a small collection of people who are what we call “youtube stars” and even big name celebrities. I will just as likely see a post from a youtuber or George Takei as from my old high school friend who lives a town over.

Since friendships seem to have devolved into clicking a button and selecting an emoji face, I am just as good a ‘friend’ to my friend as I am to George. I can’t help but feel that by following these celebrities on Facebook right next to my ‘normal human’ friends and interacting at the same level, I am almost devaluing any potential real relationships. There’s another side to this as well. The pressure put on celebrities to be likable humans. The fact that so many follow them on social media is one example of the desired connection, but people also want to know who celebrities are as real people. Look at websites like IMDb. Almost any actor listed there has trivia facts. We find out who is related to whom, which actors turned down our favorite role, and behind the scenes tidbits for our favorite movies.

We also have reality shows which demand the celebrities to show us new or interesting sides of themselves out of character. The show Lip Sync Battle actually brought this to my attention. People literally turn on their TV to see celebrities lip syncing to other peoples’ songs. We expect them to be talented and to dance and to entertain us- as themselves. I myself have watched our favorite young spiderman dance on stage to Umbrella, and it’s truly endearing. It made me care for his character more- and that is weird to me. I don’t know what this says about me as a person, but I do know that the realization has inspired me to take a closer look at the real and solid people in my life. Perhaps I can pay as much attention to them and gain some real life experiences.

Bellamy is a 35-year-old mother of three girls. She’s a teacher at a high school, which serves students with mental health and behavioral issues. She also guides walking tours in Over the Rhine. A couple of her favorite hobbies are a “little unusual,” such as ghost hunting and special effects make-up. In her free time, she likes reading, writing, drawing, or hunting thrift and antique stores for odd things.