Special 50th Entry!
Female fans often mob their favorite male celebrities, many of them screaming and crying along the way…often at airports, concert halls, hotels, and any other place they can stalk their targets to. Somehow, “favorite” doesn’t seem to be a strong enough adjective in these cases.
This phenomenon isn’t something that is just characteristic of humans. From a biological and ecological point of view, male celebrities may represent all the high quality traits that are desirable in a mate. It would seem natural that the females would congregate around the high quality males so that their offspring would have all the good genes. The scientific term that goes with this idea is sexual selection.
This thought came to me when going on a walk with my younger sister, who, at the time, was attempting to find a male celebrity who was visiting New York City. She followed his Twitter feed, hoping for clues for where he would be next. He announced through tweets that he would be in Times Square, as well as another location, but my sister never found him. She claimed that all she wanted was a hug from the guy, but if it were just a hug she wanted, what would make a hug from him any different than one from a guy friend or even a stranger?
She defied answering this question, which makes me think that these feelings that fan girls are expressing are more inherently instinctual than they seem.
Why do girls cry and scream when they line up to see the objects of their obsessions? Also, what kind of group mentality is happening?
My sister made the point that you never see male fans do this for their favorite female celebrities, and it is true. You will see them drool and fantasize about them, but never screaming in a crowd. Male fans are just as likely to obsess about their favorite celebs, but they do not express it in the same ways.
What kinds of characteristics make this behavior more or less adaptive for males and females?
Modern male celebrities represent wealth, good looks, and success, which may all be signs of superior genetics (but not necessarily so, some people are just dumb lucky). For those who live in the stage of hunting and gathering, a good male would be a fast runner who could bring home the meat. But in modern civilization, my theory is that the more girls scream, cry, and chase after them, the stronger the evidence that this one or group of males is superior to the average non-celebrity male, meaning that their good genes are in higher demand. This attracts more females who are looking for high quality mates and adds fuel to the fire.
The reason that male fans won’t act the same way about female celebrities is because their biological goal is not to find the highest quality female but to get their genes into as many offspring as possible. Males in many species are not as heavily invested in the upbringing of the offspring as the females are, and may even only be interested in “spreading their seed.” Females must be choosy because they must put the bodily resources into creating the offspring, which is expensive in many ways.
So in this light, I think it makes more sense that females would gather around high quality males that have a better chance of having good genes to be passed onto the next generation. I am being skeptical when I say this just because I have seen some of the popular male celebrities nowadays, but let us hope that this (them having good genes) is at least partly true!
Flickr user marcel_borsboom