Very recently, I purposely decided to challenge the status quo (something I enjoy; something that now comes naturally, often without even trying outright). A few hours later, I am still working through the reaction I got.
The topic at hand for the crowd's discussion: Who are the oppressed? Who do we stereotype and belittle in our society?
The answers put forward so far: young single moms, foster kids, the homeless, mentally & physically disabled people.
(These answers are painfully true and deserve far more attention than I am currently going to give them)
As the wonderful people are pondering these and coming up with more related ideas, a spirited member of the peanut gallery (yours truly) pipes out rather loudly with an answer not yet mentioned.
"celebrities" said the girl, knowing it would cause a stir.
(insert *stir* of crowd here; giggles, laughs, and disagreement)
Now, to be fair, I know exactly what I'm doing when I do this kind of thing. I know that I am about to say something completely unholy and directly opposed to the norm. And I know what you're thinking: celebrities are anything but oppressed. But this is where I have to disagree. I may be stirring the pot, and I may be doing it on purpose, but far be it from me to say something that loudly if I don't believe that I am right.
To oppress someone, in essence, is to deny them their humanity; to erase their dignity; to ignore their worthiness of grace. Instances of oppression are much more obvious in those well versed categories (see "answers" above), and oppression in those areas is absolutely devastating, unfair, and unjust - I am by no means trying to belittle the horrors seen the world over each day. It is sad yet true, that we categorize people's worth based on what we think of them; we somehow see fit to deem the dirty as less than human. But what we often forget is that we're doing the exact same thing in a different light when it comes to those on the fault-ridden pedestals they make in Hollywood. We deny their need for human decency because we see their actions as "asking for it" or "bringing it on themselves" - change the context, and you have the typical reaction to a homeless person.
Celebrities are wealthy and beautiful and talented. They live in big houses and they drive nice cars and they are well fed and well kept (for the most part). Peel all of that away, though, and they are people too. They are people who have lost their worth in our culture (as individuals worthy of grace, love, respect) because of an image. Your defense here might be that they choose the image, and again I digress to a different opinion. They may choose to act or sing or even to construct a public persona. I highly doubt, however, that they choose to have their marital troubles mocked at large, their mental illnesses made spectacle, their weakest moments held up on parade for the entertainment of millions. We put pictures of their cellulite on magazine covers and we make sure everyone knows when they make a parenting mistake. Why would we focus on our own faults, or the fact that 83% of us live our lives the exact same way that "they" do? (in some form or another)
We do this to them because we love it and because it's easier to point out a speck than own up to a plank. Entire professions are made from stalking, hunting, and tearing strips off of people's dignity. We love to set them up so we can watch them fall. In my eyes, this is merely another form of oppression. In my opinion, we are fooling ourselves if we think we're getting off scott free for this one.