Saturday, 30 May 2015

Celebrity role models are bad and why I don't want my children to have one.

Now I'm getting older these days and I like to think I'm fairly down with the kids in a way.  I know whats current and I know who's who (I even know youtube culture, wow)  but I've reached an age now were I'm an outsider looking in.  I know longer see what all the fuss is about and instead stand on the sidelines watching those younger than myself fall in love and idolize celebrities in a way I once did when I was a kid.  But now I am a parent I find myself questioning what sort of celebrity would I want my child to follow? And why?

And the answer I found was that actually, I think celeb worship is unhealthy.  

Now before I open up a can of worms, if you too are a parent reading this, Hi, hello there! But also if you are a young person and a number one fan of something or other I just want you to know this is not me bad mouthing you, or your favorite celeb.  Anyone mentioned in the next bits and pieces I am neither a fan or a hater.  They are just examples.  Also I will try and break this down into bite size chunks as to not make it boring reading.  So thanks for baring with me so far!

Firstly, understanding the difference between enjoying an idol for guidance and being obsessed.

We first have to understand there is a difference between admiring some ones work, persona, morals and ethics and being critically obsessed with them.  If you find yourself believing that your Idol can do no wrong and everything they do and everything about them is perfect or close to perfect then you have a problem.  Remember NO one is perfect. Perfection is an allusion. It is also important to remember you do not "know" any celebrity for real, you only have an idea of what they could be like from the media you receive.

Strong role model dependency can lead making decisions and life choices for the wrong reasons.

We are all aware that negative behavior can be learned and mimicked from celebrities but I recently read something about how fresh faced British fashion and beauty vlogger Zoella was the perfect role model for young girls because of her squeaky clean angelic image and the fact she doesn't smoke or drink or something...and I just thought this was complete bollocks to be entirely honest with you.  A person should be making these choices because it is what THEY feel is the right thing to do...not because someone else is doing it.  I believe you can do the right thing for the wrong reasons and that a sheep mentality is a BAD mentality even when the outcome is sometimes positive.  Young people should be thinking for themselves and making mistakes and learning for themselves.  They should not be making good decisions just because someone else is doing it.

I think in some cases a person can be so deeply involved in their love for a role model that they begin to not make decisions based on their own thoughts.  It takes away the ability to think for ones self.

Celebrities WILL exploit loyalty of fans for money.
If you are a HUGE fan of someone this is going to sting but at the end of the day their job is to be a product that you buy.  That parfume range designed by your fave celeb? They probably just agreed to a bunch of stuff and put their name on it.  Celebrities often have other people write books and slap their names on it too, and you buy it thinking your buying a piece of them.  Your not, its a product with a name, its all a trick. A prime example of this in my opinion is 1 directions make up products.  At first I wondered why on earth a group of lads would have an interest in the femme cosmetics industry and then I realized...they don't.  The truth is the range is PURELY to milk money from loyal fans.  They know they have a huge young impressionable FEMAIL following who will buy anything 1D related so whats the perfect product combination? Put 1D on make up.  Of course.

I am aware not all celebrities are like this but most celebrity endorsed and named products are simply to take advantage of fans loyalty.

Delusional behavior can easily follow from what starts out as harmless admiration.

its unlikely you will meet, and more or less impossible that will befriend or entice the person of your affections.  End of. there is no nice way to word that.  Sorry you are delusional if you think any different.  ***See end for what should you do if your friend/child/someone you care about begins to exhibit this delusional behavior.

Excessive admiration of a person can lead to low self esteem and unrealistic expectations of oneself.
So what happens when a person doesn't want to be WITH the admired Idol but wants to be more LIKE them?  I have spoken to many, mainly young girls, who have said they have often felt pressured to afford similar clothes, hair and other things to their admired celebrity.  We live in a time where on the internet it is easy to show everyone out good sides whilst hiding our bad sides.  Remember someone who can appear to have the perfect life may indeed really be living in a hell hole.  We just cant see it.  Perfection is all and act.  Its all fake.  All those fancy instagram pictures are taken at just the right time and place to make their lives seem perfect.  Pictures and videos are only taken when everything is in the right place in order to trick you into seeing one seemless line of perfection.  This is something we will NEVER achieve so don't even try it.  It is easy to forget that many celebrities often have their own stylists and can afford better products and endless resources to make themselves and their lives look good that we just cant.  You should not try to keep up with this or set unrealistic goals for yourself based on what your Idol is doing.  It can be damaging for your mental wellbeing.


School grades and hobbies can suffer as a result of obsessive behavior.

Some of the parents I spoke to reported that school grades dropped because their teen or child was no longer putting as much interest in school work because thoughts were mainly pre-occupied with the famous person.  Obviously there is no point in following an Idol if they begin to have a real life negative effect, after all that defeats the object doesn't it?  Idols are meant to inspire and encourage us.  Not distract us.  Many people also find that an obsessed person will constantly want to talk about their Idol or topics.activities surrounding the Idol.  This can become socially exhausting and friendships can suffer as a result, even if another friend is into the same stuff you may find that they isolate other friends and focus internally on the obsession together.


What should I do if someone I care about is showing signs of excessive or obsessive behavior regarding an Idol or Celebrity?

Taking from my own experience of the topic, combined with advice from other parents I have spoken to I have put together some ideas on what you can do if you feel as if your friend has become unhealthily obsessed with an Idol.

  • Remove any media involving the obsession including posters, tv shows, music ect.  Take time away from it and focus on other things.  This can be done gradually but by bit or all at once.  It may take time for it to subside but it will.
  • Understand that to the person affected the infatuation may be very real. 
  • If you feel a persons behavior is exceptionally unreasonable or even getting to a point were they are physically harming themselves it may be an idea to seek medical attention.  Sometimes obsessive behavior can be a sign of something deeper.  Many people with OCD, Bipolar and Autism can become fixated with something or someone or a particular type of lifestyle.
  • If a person is partaking in the act of physical self harm do not belittle them or tell them, or make them feel stupid.  This is something that is very real and distressing to them.  Making a person feel bad about themselves will only make it worse.  Bare in mind that self harm is never something to be ashamed of and a person can get help, fully recover and adopt a normal rational way of thinking with the correct help and good support.
  • Remove yourself/the person away from any fan clubs or other people who encourage or justify similar feelings or behavior.


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