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The Kardashians Vs The Queen - What Is An Icon?

17/01/2017 17:45
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The Kardashian clan are supposedly icons. Just let that sink in - the girls who share their every move on television and through their social media channels are considered icons. 2016 seems to have been plagued with celebrity deaths and according to the news, every single star that passed away was also an icon. You cannot disagree that those who died all had achievements to be proud of, but they had one thing in common. They were all in the public eye. All considered celebrities. Has the notion of an icon become just another word for a celebrity?

The Oxford Dictionary defines an icon as 'a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration'. Maybe the Kardashian brand deserves some respect, after all they get talked about often enough, but if you took away their combined 134million Twitter followers, what have they got and more importantly what have they given us? Similarly, should people who get paid for simply doing something they love for a living such as musicians and actors be branded global icons? If having a talent makes you an icon then many gifted individuals never get the recognition they deserve.

To me, an icon has to be more than this. They must have the ability to make a substantial life- changing difference to ordinary people. Being an icon is about breaking boundaries and changing mass perceptions through actions and achievements. Surely it is insulting to scientists and medical pioneers to call Kim Kardashian an icon, when they are inventing, developing and saving lives on a daily basis.

People also throw around names like Wayne Rooney and Kanye West as being 'icons'- but they have not changed the world. I admit they may have helped some people, their fans, but to be a true icon, I believe you have to touch everybody in some way. Wayne Rooney, for instance, has definitely influenced the football industry but not everyone is interested in sport and not everyone will know who he is.

Perhaps it is a sad sign of the times that I struggle to think of a modern day icon. I agree with some that the Queen, who has selflessly served her country for over 63 years, deserves icon status along with figures from the past such as Florence Nightingale or Martin Luther King whose legacies are still talked about today. These people have completely changed the world we live in and deserve to be regarded with the upmost respect.

Despite the world ever-changing, a true icon will be unforgettable because they remain supreme to their successors. Unlike Martin Luther King, many of those celebrities who passed away in 2016 may be forgotten by the mainstream in five years time. An icon's death would cause national heartache similar to the global grief displayed when Princess Diana died.

I am not disputing the fact that everyone, including celebrities, has value but we have already lost so much in this world. I believe we should be setting an example and saving the highest praise for those truly worthy who have gone totally above and beyond in their life- icons.

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