The article entitled Girls Gone Wild: What Are Celebs Teaching Kids? , focused on the way certain pop culture celebrities may or may not influence today’s youth, specifically that of the female part of our society
here in the US.
The magazine article focused primarily on the actions of three celebrities; Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan. The author of the article began with Lindsay Lohan. She described how much her 6 year old daughter loves the actress, and has seem many of her films repeatedly including The Parent Trap, Herbie Fully Loaded, and Freaky Friday. She went on to describe how her daughter spotted a picture of Lindsay on the cover of the New York Post, and took it away before she could really see the picture in its entirety. Her daughter anxiously asked about what Lindsay was doing in the picture, but the author couldn’t bring herself to tell her 6 year old that Lindsay, like some of her peers sometimes parties pantyless like Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton, and was also learning pole dancing for a role in an upcoming film which left her bruised “almost everywhere.” She also mentions that it would however, have been easier to explain than Britney’s “collapse” during a New Year’s Eve party in Las Vegas, or the more recent report that her daughter’s would be idol checked into rehab after passing out in a hotel hallway.
The author also goes into great detail about how the actions of these celebrities give young women and girls alike a false sense of morals. That by watching these so called pop culture icons carouse around town doing whatever they please, whenever they please is having a negative impact on the moral values parents are trying to instill in their kids today. She observes that it’s not just teenagers that are affected by this as well. A first grade teacher in San Diego, California, noticed her seven year old female students using words like “sexy”, singing pop songs with suggestive lyrics in them, and flirting with the boys. She also says, “are there really harmful long-term effects of overexposure to Paris Hilton? Are we raising a generation of what one L.A. mom calls “prosti-tots,” young girls who dress like tarts, live for Dolce & Gabbana purses and can neither spell nor define such words as “adequate”? Or does the rise of the bad girl signal something more profound, a coarsening of the culture and a devaluation of sex, love and lasting
commitment?” This raises an interesting point. Are our young girls being so negatively influenced by these superstars that it will affect them through their adolescence and into adulthood giving us an entire generation of so called “Bad Girls?” Most experts tend to say that as long as the at home moral values are strong and prevalent, young ladies are more likely to adhere to what they learn from parents and family than fall prey to what a few celebrities do in the media. Even though a recent Newsweek poll showed that 77% of Americans feel that Britney, Paris, and Lindsay have too much influence over young girls today.
The article goes on to remind us, that there has been other celebrity “Bad Girls” throughout the last century. Such as, Mae West, Gypsy Rose Lee, Ingrid Bergman, and Bettie Page to name a few. Certainly this image is not new to our society, although it seems that we are more accepting of it now than ever before. Lee was arrested numerous times by the NYPD for indecency, Bergman lambasted by the public for adultery and having a child as a result of it, even Marilyn Monroe was said to have ruined her career for having posed nude for a calendar, only to go on to some of the biggest roles of her career afterwards.
Even in more recent times, the celebrity known as Madonna has been in the press for her music as well as her erotic stage performances and come under fire for her book “Sex”, which shows almost every fetish you could think up.
Over all, the article says that even though it seems that we are fighting a losing battle against these mega-stars of celebrity status, it seems as though pregnancy rates are lower than years before, awareness of sex, and its joys and consequences are at an all time high. I agree with the author when she says that as long as we educate our children both boys and girls alike at home we are going to teach them not only by our examples, but also by our actions how to be of strong moral fiber, and grow into successful adults that contribute to society in a positive way. The article shows us that even though there are influences in our society that we cannot altogether shelter our young from, that education of our children is the key to teaching our children right from wrong, and appropriate from inappropriate.
Newsweek Magazine, February 12th, 2007
Pages 1-5 URL: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16961761/site/newsweek