Being a Role Model

Sorry for the recent absence… Between moving and starting my law course, I haven’t had much time to blog! But something struck me recently and I feel compelled to share my opinion about it.

Role models. We all have someone, usually a celebrity, we aspire to be more like. Maybe it’s Stephen Fry (in my eyes he is a wonderful role model, well spoken, well-educated and measured) or perhaps it’s someone more off the wall? Or a fictional character. Different readers, I’m sure, will hope to be a little more like people of their own generation, I have a soft spot for Jonathan Ross. I used to want a career like his, but I’ve moved away from that, but I still have huge respect for him.

What concerns me, are the role models for generations now.

Have you seen the film Role Models with Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott? Rudd and Scott are directed to become role models to kids as part of community service they’re given. Needless to say they are both horrible role models, and that is the basis for this comedy.

Not such a comedy when that’s real life. When Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus starts singing about drugs and rubbing herself in all the wrong ways at the VMAs, Demi Lovato goes to rehab for alcohol abuse and cutting herself, Lindsay Lohan… where do we even begin. Too many role models show kids exactly what not to do.

Teenagers are obsessed to a scary level with these celebrities, alongside Justin Bieber and One Direction, who don’t exactly set a great example either. These boys are known to be promiscuous. So fans think it’s OK to be easy in order to be with someone they like, even if it means degrading themselves for sex. I am aware I’m sounding rather prude, but wouldn’t you rather your daughters thinking highly enough of themselves to not let a boy sleep with them because they think that’s what you do?

These celebrities are perpetuating low self-worth, where they should be encouraging the opposite. Cyrus has said that she doesn’t want the responsibility of teaching others. She’s growing up and she wants to be able to make her own mistakes. Is it not reasonable to say that it is part of the responsibility of the path she has chosen for herself to set a good example?

Should she, and the others above as well as the countless others, be setting the best examples?

She might not want to be a role model, but it’s a power that has been given to her nonetheless. And, in the immortal words of Spiderman “With great power comes great responsibility.” Peter Parker didn’t ask to be bitten by a spider, but instead of being selfish, he used his new-found power for good, even when it was a struggle for him.

I’m not suggesting that these teen celebrities can’t mistakes, not at all. We’re all human, we all make mistakes. But instead, maybe instead of singing about drugs, they could sing about being empowered. I know I’d rather listen to Katy Perry’s new song ‘Roar‘ instead of Miley Cyrus’ ‘We Can’t Stop‘ because it makes me feel good about myself, as well as being catchy.

Fellow blogger Ellen pointed me in the direction of this video from the Teen Choice Awards this year. Unfortunately, I get the feeling most the audience weren’t really listening to his message, but I know I have much more respect for Ashton Kutcher after watching this. He’s made mistakes, but he’s not telling us about them, he’s telling us, and the millions of teens watching, what he’s learnt that makes life better. I doubt all the Beliebers listened, but maybe they will one day. I reckon Mr Kutcher is definitely role model material:

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