When I was a little girl I was initially puzzled by the way people (in Iran) had to choose between two artists.
I gradually learned that this had something to do with the social background of the fans. For instance Marzieh could only be liked by posh people and Delkash by worker-class and the socialists.
In case of Gina or Sophia (Lolobrigida and Loren) it had to do more with sexuality: women liked Gina and Sophia represented a threat to their nejabat. And men liked Sophia, of course, but would have been happy if they could have Gina as well.
In case of Elaheh and Pouran there was an attempt to create a battle but it proved hopeless and was given up soon. As Elaheh's voice itself gave the verdict. As a result Pouranists gave up and listened to Elaheh instead, without telling anyone about it.
This issue was so serious that if anyone liked both of those compared, would never admit it openly for the fear that they would be perceived as an outsider (which seems to be a swear word for some Iranians).
I have experienced this phenomenon in the UK only when it comes to pet lovers. Here it is very rare to see a cat and a dog in the same household.
People here usually either like cats OR dogs. And during a conversation about pets if you say that you like both cats AND dogs, there is usually a pause and depending on what kind of people you are talking to, you either get ignored (by the more stupid) or given extra attention (by the enlightened ones).
The psychological reason for this case may be that because the character of these two animals are extremely different, people subconsciously are likely to prefer the one which is more similar to themselves or the partner they wish to have (the extremely loyal dependent dog and the comfort-seeking independent and not so loyal cat).
I have no idea if this kind of forced comparison of two artists is still practiced in Iran. But I am getting the impression that something in that line might be brewing amongst the Iranians living in the U.S.
Don't people know yet that this kind of hype is usually planned by the artists' promoters/ agents in order to keep them in the news?
I would tend to finish by saying why bother, let the artists do their own publicity battle. But I can't, because the research on these issues has already shown that people usually identify themselves with the celebrity they like. And that the behaviour of that celebrity becomes an outlet for their own frustrations in their ordinary daily life.
Hence I will finish by suggesting the following exercise which may prove useful:
— Think about what is it about that celebrity that you identify with?
— Is there a similar situation in your life, perhaps someone you have competed with before?
— What qualities has the other artist got (the “baddie”) that you don't like?
— Is there a person that you know whom s/he reminds you of?
— If you had a similar situation how did you solve it/ how would you solve it now if you had a second chance?
— And when you have answered all those questions already, then ask yourself: Is it really relevant to your life?
— If the answer is still yes, then you are either lonely or live with someone you have nothing in common with.
Perhaps get together with the other fans and open a fan club in order to socialize more with people who share the same passion. Then of course you could discuss and write one definitive letter making it clear where your fan club stands on the issue and then no more of it.
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