GT Writing Task 2 / Essay Sample # 245
You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:
Some people think that famous people can help international aid organizations to draw attention to important problems. Others believe that celebrities can make problems seem less important.
Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
In recent years, many global aid agencies have used celebrities to excite attention to important issues, and many people think that it is quite effective. Others opine that the involvement of such famous personalities actually downplays the problems. I believe that despite their face value, celebrities often denigrate the severity of social, environmental and humanitarian problems despite their good intentions.
No doubt, well-known people’s endorsement is an effective strategy that can gain momentum in attempts to raise public awareness of pressing problems. They argue that famous persons are distinguished by their unique personality traits and success to engage and attract diverse audiences ranging from the media and fan base to philanthropists and political elites. A case in point is Princess Diana; she helped place a Red Cross campaign to ban landmines in the international spotlight. Diana, perhaps the most celebrated woman in the world back then, visited Angola, and dared to enter a live minefield, met amputees, and compelled unprecedented worldwide attention for banning minefield. This was quite effective.
However, it is also true that celebrated persons can often undermine the severity of an issue as their approach to humanitarian purposes is likely to cause more of an ego response than a profound moral response. To put it another way, such celebrity activism can never work effectively because media and mass people often pay more attention to the persons than to the issues they supposedly represent. Take Angelina Jolie for example. Last year, when she participated in an anti-corruption campaign, the media ran more stories about her personality, private life and lifestyle than the original issue. On top of that, it sometimes depoliticizes the issue. For instance, complex social issues like women empowerment, in women’s magazines particularly, are depoliticized by the individualistic narratives of the empowered famous white women.
In conclusion, it is a fact that celebraties make problems seem less serious as they bring rapt attention to their personalities and lifestyles. Therefore, global aid groups should carefully engage renowned people to grab attention to the issues about which people are indifferent.