Do You Think Celebrities Have a Responsibility to Be Your Role Models?

Do You Think Celebrities Have a Responsibility to Be Your Role Models?
Miley-Cyrus.jpg

I often hear adults complaining about things that famous teenagers do.  Miley Cyrus is often criticized for her choices; there has been a recent outburst against Eminem and Rihanna's new video.  I remember hearing similar complaints about pop stars and celebrities as I was growing up.  I also remember questioning those complaints, as I do today.  Sure, I loved to listen to music, go to movies, and read the latest issues of Seventeen and Teen People.  But I admired people like my parents, grandparents, brave women like Amelia Earhart and Sally Ride, and teachers who made a big impact on my life.  Despite my love for Hanson, I never expected them to do much more than make good music and look adorable.  People I knew and trusted helped shape my goals and decisions.

I still hold pretty much the same opinion.  Sure, some of my role models hold "celebrity" status, but that isn't why they are my role models.  People become celebrities because they can sing, dance, act, or maybe they're just attractive and have good connections.  They don't always become famous because of their values, morals, or contribution to society.  It's true that their jobs put them in the public eye constantly, but they're still learning as they go, like all teenagers.  We all make mistakes growing up -- it's just that their mistakes are on display in People and US Weekly.

Others argue that because celebrities and athletes chose a career that allows them the spotlight, they have the responsibility to use it wisely.  I understand this arguement.  I actually think it would be great if celebrities chose to live this way.  Who doesn't want more positive influences in their life?  I just don't think it's their job to behave in a way that you should look up to.  I grew up in the Britney Spears generation, and I have yet to make her mistakes.  I doubt that girls growing up today are going to make the same mistakes as Miley.  In fact, perhaps some celebrities show us what not to do.

Hey tweens and teens, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one.  Should celebrities be held to higher standards?  Should they be setting an example for you?  Or do you just appreciate their work and ignore their mistakes in their personal lives?

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  • I have noticed that what celeberties lives have been put online so they are up for everyone to see, and i dont think that what celeberties do in there free time is not anyones elses buissness, but what some "stars" are making bad choices such as miley cryus and lindsey lohan.

  • In reply to snookie2121:

    You're right, Olivia! Some stars make pretty lousy choices. But you're a bright young lady and I'm glad you can tell that those kinds of celebrities just aren't role models. :)

  • In reply to snookie2121:

    I'm not a fan of hearing people say "[so-and-so] should just shut up and [act/play/sing]. I don't want to hear their opinions." Nor am i a fan of "[so-and-so] should just do their job. What's their problem? They have millions of dollars?"

    We love to ignore the fact that celebrities come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you get paid in millions or not at all, you're still a person and deserve to be treated like one. They deserve a break sometimes just like they deserve a voice. Role models are few and far between because nobody is perfect.

  • In reply to snookie2121:

    I am not a teen or tween. But I can promise you, it IS a celebrity's job to be a role model. Just because you turned out all right doesn't mean some other unfortunate soul won't think it's "okay" to imitate Lady Gaga's outrageous behavior. Miley swinging on poles and sitting on men's laps as a lapdancer gives a message to young women that it's all right to "break the rules" -- no, it's not. Miley can "get away" with anything she wants because, for now at least, she's a big star. If you liked Hanson, it's highly unlikely you were in any trouble. If you were a young girl now and wore the incredibly revealing clothes of Rhianna or "sang" along to the unbelievably foul, misogynistic, racist, hate-filled "music" of Eminem, then you would not be turning out okay; you'd thnk all that garbage is acceptable.

    Yes, there is a level of responsibility amongst celebrities to be role models. The fact that you are even asking this question shows what has become of our society.

  • In reply to Clearsky54:

    I agree that teens, tweens, even adults can be misguided when they follow a particular celebrity's behavior and deem it acceptable when it's not. However, I don't think we're giving teens enough credit. Why not have educators and parents arm them with a critical eye towards media at at a young age, and allow them to decide which celebrities are worthy of being role models?

    Along with Hanson, I sang along to Aqua's "Barbie Girl," despite the fact that I didn't no what the lyrics meant. (I cringe listening to them now.) I grew up listening to Britney Spears. I think we can all agree that she's no role model, but I didn't decide to become just like her. Sure, it's nice if celebrities are role models, and that would be prefered. But I don't think they are required to act a certain way just because their lives are made more public.

  • In reply to snookie2121:

    Celebrities should be role models as long as they are selling their image and wares to children. Their image and their lives become an obsession for every child who has bought into the star's marketing package. It's harsh, but it's in the contracts. If a celebrity could be compared with a store brand, brand recognition is what sells the movie, the show, the album, the books and DVDs. The celebrity's image IS the brand. If the brand is then associated with less desirable influences, associating with people or being in places we wouldn't want our children to be, then the brand becomes degraded. Options are you condemn the brand or you stop buying it. Because it is a person that has sold themselves as a brand a child star needs to change their name and image when they strive for adult stardom, because children will continue to associate a certain name/image with a certain set of values. Is this fair? Depends on whether you spent loads of cash to support the image's career and allowed your little darling to adore the person. Parents on their toes will discourage obsessive image devotion (sounds like a commandment?) and marketers will stop making prostitutes out of child stars. There is a lot of responsibility to be spread around. If you're going to encourage people to spend money on it, the public image needs to carry the value.

  • In reply to Goldygirl:

    This makes complete sense to me. For some reason, I always had it in my head that it was either all or nothing -- either all celebrities are held to this "role model" standard or none are. I like the idea that celebrities marketing to children should be held to a higher standard. I agree. Thanks for sharing your point of view!

  • In reply to Goldygirl:

    Great talk here. I think these teenage celebrities all start out OK, but something happens to most all of them along the way--except for Ron Howard and Jodie Foster maybe. Every time I see one that looks like she has her/his head on straight (like Miley early on), I just sit back and wait. But, I think you're right about the fact that these people are just people growing up in the spotlight. Their mistakes are highlighted fivefold and the pressure around them is probably worse than we can even imagine. As for their role model potential, they may play a part, but I'm sure people much closer to kids (parents, grandparents, friends, siblings, cousins) play a much bigger role. And, that's in addition to what kids learn on their own through books, experimentation, play, school and adventures. Maybe balance is the key...never depending upon a sole person as a role model is a safe bet. Then again there's a lot to learn through mistakes--your own and those of people you admire.

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