By: Rachel Devitt

I, like most of my peers, was shocked when I found out two years ago that Amanda Bynes had been arrested and charged with a DUI. Bynes was America’s Sweetheart and star of the hilarious “The Amanda Show.” My generation grew up idolizing her as the girl-next-door comedian. When she began tweeting bizarre things, I was one of many who followed her on Twitter and laughed at the outrageous things she was willing to publicize (one particular tweet referenced rapper Drake in a sexually explicit way). The tweets became weirder and the arrests more frequent, which continued during her downward spiral of 2013.

After a year of relative silence from Bynes, she became a presence on social media once again after tweeting about a “microchip” that was placed in her brain, as well as accusations of sexual assault by her father. She was again placed in a psychiatric facility, and was recently released under the conservatorship of her mother. Bynes has continued to tweet about the unfairness of her situation, and how she feels she should have access to her finances, and should be able to make her own legal decisions.

When will the public stop looking at Bynes as just another crazy celebrity who has gone off the rails, and more like a human with a serious mental illness? After the second round of psychiatric treatment Amanda has had to go through, I began to question why I found it entertaining to look at her tweets at all. I know that it’s always fascinating to see someone the public idolizes seemingly fall from grace, but when they fall to a place this low, isn’t it cruel to continue to watch? In our smaller communities, we would never make fun of someone who has a mental illness, so why do we all feel comfortable laughing and discussing Amanda, just because she’s in the public eye?

The media’s glare on her mental state has led her to continue to act out. If people stopped paying attention, would she finally accept the help she needs and work towards living a mentally healthy life? It’s clear the saga of Amanda Bynes has become a spectator sport for the public and in her current situation Bynes has received enough media attention to have a continued investment in her life. The age-old saying ‘there’s no such thing as bad press” is challenged in this instance, because if there weren’t so many channels for Bynes to express the interworking of her mind, and have them be the front and center of every online celebrity blogger, she might have been able to sort out her issues a long time ago.

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