Because of their visibility, it may be easier for some people to extend grace to public figures. Social media has collapsed the space and distance between fans, celebrities and their public and private lives so there’s a level of access and surveillance (even if consensual) that we’ve not been granted in the past. Given the digital age, and the intrusion of gossip blogs, tabloids and paparazzi, we have an abundance of archived data of people navigating their substance usage. When public figures like Demi Lovato
, Ben Affleck
and Lindsay Lohan
have been open about their use in the past, we know that their struggles aren’t exclusive to their status. We also know that fame, mental health and substance use has a long history of being documented in the media, though there seems to be a shift that tilts towards a more sympathetic lens, especially with the recent #FreeBritney movement and the Framing Britney Spears documentary
. This turning point is an indication of an attempt to try to right the wrongs of past offensive views when it comes to celebrity and mental health. But what is to be said of people who exist on the fringes of pop culture’s purview and how we discuss them?