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There has been a significant amount of outcry from the public about celebrities recently. Miley danced provocatively! Taylor dropped the F-bomb! Bieber peed in a mop bucket. How could these people do that? They’re role models!
At TheCelebrityCafe.com, we’ve had a few op/eds covering the individual situations. We discussed Taylor Swift’s use of the F-word. We defended Miley Cyrus’ recent behavior. We even talked about Kanye West and his recklessness. While these are the individual writers' opinions, there is a major question that we, as a society, need to agree on. Should celebrities be role models?
I understand that being in the limelight is kind of like being Superman. You can use your fame for good or for evil. But, being a celebrity does not make you a superhero. (Unless you play a superhero in a movie, then you are exempt from this op/ed.)
Celebrities are meant to entertain us- through singing or acting. Though I’m not a celebrity myself, I am pretty sure that they don’t get into the job to “make a difference.” Making a difference is just something they could do on top of that- not required or expected.
Would it be great if all celebrities use their fame to live perfect lives and influence others to be great? Yes. However, it isn’t their job to be role models. Sure, their jobs put them in the public eye and they should use every chance to help the world but people aren’t perfect.
If we are going to make one celebrity a role model, shouldn’t that standard fall to all of them? Is it fair to condemn Miley Cyrus for ‘twerking’ at the VMAs when Lady Gaga danced half-naked at the same awards show? And can we name one celebrity “role model” who hasn’t made a mistake?
Personally, my favorite celebrity is Vanessa Hudgens and I watch her movies and am generally interested in reading about her in magazines. Hudgens did have that little nude picture scandal. But that scandal didn’t make me want to get naked and take some pictures. She’s not my role model. No matter how great I think Hudgens is, I don’t expect her to do more than make movies and date really hot guys.
The difference between celebrity mistakes and our own is that, when I make a mistake, it isn’t a headline. Now, I’m not defending celebrity mistakes. They know that they are under a microscope and should realize that their mistakes are a big deal. And when someone who is looked up to does something bad, I think that is an unfortunate situation- but they shouldn’t be smeared by the public and the media just because they did something bad.
I also understand that children choose their own “role model.” Maybe a little girl looks up to Justin Bieber, is it Bieber’s job to live perfectly so the youth of the world will as well? Last time I checked, Bieber signed up to sing and not be a cultural example. Justin Bieber is 19 and he should not be responsible for shaping all of his fans.
I understand why people would choose a celebrity as a role model. They are successful, famous and (mostly) talented. They are on TV and people want to be famous as well. Those are qualities that are perfect to look up to. However, celebrities aren’t there to help. Role models should be in the community -- nurses, firefighters, parents, people who actually do help should be the role models.
And, beyond that, if a person finds a celebrity as a negative role model- turn it off. Don’t listen and don’t watch. If we expect celebrities to be role models and they do something we deem “unacceptable,” then cut it off. Or maybe take the situation as an opportunity to show what not to do.
No matter what we say, celebrities are always going to be labeled as role models and that isn’t their fault. It’s ours.