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04th Nov 2022

Lindsay Lohan is right – social media gives today’s celebs a sense of control she never had

“When I first started out in the business, none of us had a say in how to control our own narrative.”

Earlier this week, actress Lindsay Lohan spoke about the changing landscape of celebrity culture, and how that’s been ushered along by social media.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan, she said: “When I first started out in the business, none of us had a say in how to control our own narrative.

“There were paparazzi pictures and then people ran with it. So, I think it’s really good that in this day and age people can say who they are and who they want to be.”

She went on to say that she is jealous of today’s celebrities, and the control granted to them through social media.

It’s understandable why Lindsay may feel this way. In the early to mid 2000s, paparazzi followed Lindsay everywhere she went. Her mugshots appeared in magazines and tabloids published photos in which she appeared to be unconscious in a car.

These days, we’re dealing with a very different celebrity culture, thanks, in a large part, to the ubiquity of social media. The biggest stars of today – the Kardashians, Selena Gomez, Gia Hadid – are meticulous when it comes to their Instagram grid. Their social pages are not only used to make money, but to centralise their fans and share content – photos or life updates – directly with them, and on their own terms.

This isn’t to say that the paparazzi have vanished – their invasive presence prevails – but their powers have been weakened. The reasons behind this are manifold. Firstly, celebrities’ ability to access their fans directly means that they can beat tabloids to the scoop, so the value of their work is slightly reduced. Secondly, as the conversation about celebrities and their right to privacy evolves, we’ve become increasingly aware of the harm done by paparazzi. As a result, our interest in their work dwindles. Thirdly, social media has overtaken tabloids as our first port-of-call for celebrity news. Why would we seek out news from a magazine stall when we can go straight to the source?

Social media isn’t an entirely empowering entity. Between trolls, abuse and misinformation, there are countless problems therein. The sense of control given to celebrities doesn’t come with a guarantee of respect, nor are they entirely protected from abuse. It’s understandable that many stars – Saoirse Ronan, Emma Stone, Daniel Radcliffe – have opted out entirely. However, it is interesting to note how social media has toppled the paparazzi’s monopoly on controlling the narrative, and that, in itself is worth celebrating.