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Ellie Doering / Gavel Media

'Loved to Hated' Female Celebrity Pipeline

Fame can come quite suddenly, hurling talented and already successful people into the mainstream. There is a big difference between having a cult following and achieving major stardom. It makes sense that when someone's fan base expands, more people will like them, and a lot more people will hate them. People love to hate things that other people love, and society especially loves to hate young, talented women. Recently, this has happened to stars like Olivia Rodrigo, Tate McRae, Rachel Zegler, Reneé Rapp, Ice Spice, Sabrina Carpenter, and many more. 

Smaller celebrities typically have a niche, positive fanbase that supports all of their content. Many of these women become famous partly because of their relatability and transparency, and the support they get from their fans encourages them to continue their openness. I remember seeing Olivia Rodgrio's original songs on her Instagram when she was still in "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series" and watching Reneé Rapp's covers on YouTube while she was still in Mean Girls on Broadway. I felt like I had a real connection with these people and was hoping for their success (ignoring the obvious parasocial nature of that statement). However, once formerly niche celebrities step into the mainstream, all bets are off, and people begin to brutally criticize them, especially because they are young women. 

The 'Loved to Hated Pipeline' is very closely intertwined with the idea that society hates popular things, especially because young female fans often influence what is popular. It's assumed that young women are incapable of liking something with genuine worth or talent, dismissing their interests as frivolous. Artists like One Direction and Taylor Swift are often seen as less than other artists because of their connection with teenage girls. When the influence of young female celebrities expands beyond their small, supportive fan base (that is naturally made up of mostly young women), they are brought into the bigger world of notoriety, exposing them to an extremely critical and often misogynistic part of society. 

Female celebrities who are already hated because of their popularity and their female fanbase often face increased criticism for acting outside of their ascribed societal roles as women. Women are expected to be quiet and subservient to men, so when artists like Reneé Rapp and Rachel Zegler have unfiltered, authentic personas, they receive a lot of hate. There is a running joke that Reneé Rapp needs "court-ordered media training" because of her sometimes controversial presence online and in interviews. The idea of media training relates to the phenomenon of celebrities handing over their Instagrams to professionals to help curate the perfect, likable image while simultaneously losing the transparency that made them relatable in the first place. 

Similarly, Rachel Zegler faced a lot of hate online for her statement regarding her upcoming role as Snow White in the 2025 remake. She criticized the stereotypically helpless nature of Snow White and the concept of the "fairest of them all" as a descriptor for the highest level of beauty in the original version. Zegler highlighted the progressive spin taken in the 2025 version in an effort to combat the racism and sexism embedded in the original plot of the movie. While I do not see much wrong with her comments, she received massive amounts of hate for her statement. This criticism comes on top of the hate she was already receiving for being a woman of Colombian and Polish descent playing a character known for her 'whiteness.' Many TikTok users began to compare the treatment of Rapp and Zegler, showing that the intersection of Zeglers race and womanhood has caused her to be disproportionately targeted. Some justify the horrible treatment of Zegler, saying she deserved it because she publicly criticized a character that is beloved by many. However, I do not believe a white actress like Rapp would have received the same near-cancellation for making that statement. 

The 'Loved to Hated Pipeline' for female celebrities touches on various issues, including the hatred of popularity, the belief that young women do not like things of value, and the narrow manner in which female celebrities in the mainstream are expected to act. Thus, many female celebrities that were formerly and quickly adored easily become hated, often for speaking their mind and being vulnerable. Authenticity helps skyrocket people to fame, which creates an impossible dichotomy for women trying to navigate stardom. Once young female celebrities dare to push the boundaries of femininity, they are crucified by the public, and women of color face worsened treatment because of their intersecting oppressions. 

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poli sci and history major who chronically rewatches movies/tv shows that were popular in middle school to feel something