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The Legacy
Hamline Students Write About Role Models for October 24th

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Celebrities: Good Influences or Bad Role Models
By
Marco Ocampo
 
     We have all heard of Lindsay Lohan's alleged drug use or Paris Hilton's scandalous sex tape, but are these acts really affecting today’s youth? People might assume it does not have a big impact, yet so many are mocking the people seen in the media. Celebrities are bad role models for many reasons. Some may portray themselves as good caring advocates, though they expose teenagers to partying lifestyles, profanity and inequity towards each other, using each other as if they were objects, sex, drugs, discrimination and more. Many parents would not let their children socialize with people who commit such acts, so why should they let them mock the people who are seen in media that do so?   People should realize that the celebrities are bad role models.
     When it comes to parties, no one is better at partying than the rich and famous. It seems as if they live for parties. In an interview with People magazine’s Pete Norman, the beautiful brunette Adrina Patridge stated, “It’s practically my life” (20). If you ever watched the reality television show The Hills, you will realize she is not kidding. It seems as if every night Adrina Patridge is out partying while causing conflict. Celebrities might not affect people directly, but look around. It seems as if everyone, nowadays, seems to want that lifestyle. Now look at it even closer and notice most of the people trying to make it in this industry are barely hitting puberty. Celebrities are influencing young teenagers to get in the habit of partying because it is “cool”. They do not understand that celebrities are being paid to party!
     Almost every person has been to a party in which they have regretted, but celebrities bring it to an intense stage. When teenagers attend parties it is extremely easy to find alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and much more. Why would so many healthy adolescents smoke or drink if they know the consequences? One study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that more than 440,000 of America’s youth die due to tobacco-related causes. Celebrities are the ones to blame fro that statistic because when the media displays people smoking, it looks pleasurable and glamorous. It seems as though teenagers want to do everything famous people are doing for the reason that they are misinformed of the actions they are taking. One example of this is tattoos and the reason why people get them. Many people get tattoos for sentimental reasons, but that is not always the case. Let us say a young man with low self-esteem is trying to look manly. They will, most likely, do anything just so they could look more masculine, including getting a permanent mark on their body. The media has made it seem as if boys should look a certain way, in this case looking strong, and girls a different way which would be bubbly as well as sweet.
     Furthermore when an advocate tries to be a good role model they encourage others to making good decisions. Nevertheless, many turn out to be hypocrites. There have been plenty of advertisements that use recognized spokespersons to promote healthy living standards. However, that very same person contradicts themselves by doing something unhealthy. One notorious person who has done this is Michael Phelps. After winning eight gold medals for the United States swimming team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps was photographed parting and smoking marijuana. Some teenagers might assume that it is acceptable for athlete, or any person, to smoke.
     When smoking, it is practically guaranteed that you will say something idiotic when you are drunk or high. Something like “it doesn’t get beastin' till a Bad A** chick takes off her top” (Sorrentino). Mostly known as "The Situation", Mike Sorrentino managed to offend thousands of women. The Situation is from MTV’s reality television show Jersey Shore, which follows the life of eight young Italian-Americans living their lives. Sorrentino is known for being self-obsessed, making ignorant comment, and being the host of many contests that are degrading to woman. Amazingly, Sorrentino is not the only one who treats females as objects; others have done the same in different ways. An abundant amount of celebrities have done so by cheating on their spouse, talking about their sex life, and even talking about their spouse in general.
By now you have most likely herd of the names Tiger Woods or Jesse James. Both men have one thing in common and, surprisingly, that one thing in common is making their names and careers very popular. What have these men done that makes them recognized? These men have both cheated on their wives with multiple women. Sadly enough, it is common in today’s society that this happens because of the fact that people like Tiger and Jesse make it look acceptable. That is probably why many teen boys are, in a way, competing to see who has more “swagger”. This is wrong in different ways because several people get hurt. When a man or woman perpetrates adultery, it usually leads to divorce. Furthermore, if they have children, they suffer as well. In the article written by an anonymous student at The University of North Carolinaat Chapel Hill titled “Sex Scandal or Getting caught with your pants down in America”, the author wrote:
          And the statistics support their fictional points of view. For the first time in history, the US census reported that the majority of US households with children were headed by only one parent. Divorced couples are more common than married couples, and the average lifespan of a marriage has fallen every year since 1994. Statistics vary wildly on adultery -- after all, who would consistently tell the truth when being asked that question? -- But few dip below 20-30%. Even if it's only a quarter of the sample or so, we have more than enough roughshod celebrities to make a good sample-size. (Anonymous)

     Although lots of men cheated on their partner, girls are not all that innocent.
I asked my father what would happen if, in his teenage years, a girl was seen with more than one boyfriend or if she was in a bisexual/lesbian relationship for attention? He said if she was his father’s daughter, she would get disowned. Though it may sound cruel it was the truth. Slowly, being promiscuous is becoming a way to make ends meet. Over the year the media has changed drastically that now they nearly show people having sex on television! Two television stations in particular are MTV and VH1. In 2005, VH1 came up with the dating show A Chance of Love with Tila Tequila. This dating show was no ordinary dating show. The reason why so many tuned in to watch was because Tila spent most of her time making out with different people every week, but this was not the only controversial part. The one thing that made it stood out from other dating shows was the fact that Tila was looking for love no matter what gender the contenders were. At the time, A Chance of Love with Tila Tequila was the only show like this, but it did not take long for others to follow down this road. At the end of the show, Tila chose a female companion however, soon after the contestant admitted she was not a lesbian. A year after this occurred it was common to see programs air similar shows. Some of the station that followed were MTV, E channel, Mun2, and more. What a coincidence it is that the top viewers among these stations are aimed at teenagers. The Kardashians, Flavor Flav, and the Icky twins (Ricky and Vicky) all got famous this way. Why are so many young people appearing in these shows if they know they will end up looking unintelligent? It seems as if today’s youth are capable of doing anything to be known.
     One of today’s major problems in the United States is underage drinking. Teenagers would not do it if it was not for peer pressure. Although, in many states there are strict laws that prohibit underage drinking, teens still manage to take the risk. I still do not understand why someone, teen or not, would chose to ruin their life by drinking. Schools are told to inform students about the consequences of drinking though it seems to have little effect. Overall, popularity seems to have a bigger impact. Whether it is from clothing, electronics, and looks: everyone wants to feel wanted. Several teens commit reckless acts, and will later regret because they are under the influence and want to fit in. When Paris Hilton was videotaped by TMZ, she stated that she would not have done the sex tape if it was not for the pressure she got and the alcohol she had consumed earlier in the day. Paris also stated that she does not regret anything she has done or said in the past implying she did not feel bad about the video. Well known people like Paris Hilton get more recognition for mistakes they have done in the past and the majority of teens do not.
     Alcohol is not the only substance that the rich and famous use heavily. As a matter of fact, drugs are used just as much as alcohol. Celebrities ranging from Courtney Love to Cheech Marin have been caught using, the most common drug, marijuana. After the Beijing Olympics 2008, Michael Phelps was photographed smoking marijuana and amazingly nothing was done after Michael apologized.   The outspoken comedian Chelsea Handler commented in her talk show by saying, “C'mon give the guy a break, he’s an American hero, we’ve all done it”. Since he is an American hero, there should have been more consequences because so many young people look up to him.
     Speaking of Chelsea Handler, did you know that…this is how rumors get started and, shockingly, the famous stars that hate being photographed, love being talked about no matter what the topic is about. In the book Douchebag: A Treasury of Spectacularly Stupid Remarks by Margaret McGuire, the author quotes many rich and famous men. Brent Corrigan made one quote that really stood out. Brent Corrigan, who is not such a good role model himself because of the fact that he is an adult film star and was involved in a murder trial, said, “Keep on talking b**** cause you are making me famous” (McGuire, 247). Evidently, several people’s career get started this way. Would people have known who Kate Gosselin was if it was not for rumors of her being exasperating towards her husband? Kate and many others have gotten recognition for rumors about them, yet they are not always nice.  Teens see this as a way to get famous, for instance The Hills.  The people in the show started getting prominent in their teen years because they uttered about one another. Gossip can hurt people by causing stress, depression, or even physical damage.
     People in the media are looked at as beautiful people whether they are seen in magazines or in television.  They make it seem as if it is easy to look a certain way. People will go to great lengths to become a certain body type, including eating disorders and surgery. In a research done by South Carolina’s Department of Mental Health, it shows that the death rate among girls ages fifteen through twenty-four with anorexia nervosa is higher than all other diseases.  The media is influencing young people into getting these procedures. One person in particular is Heidi Moore, who has had more than 100,000 dollars in six years. Young teen girls are pressured into looking and acting a certain way more than young males.  People have always had different answers of why this is, but one study done by the Social Issues Research Center (SIRC) says that it is because of the benefits you get from being attractive.  The Social Issues Research Center claims that from an early age in life, girls notice more ways of getting recognition due to beauty.    For example, they claim that woman who look more attractive tend to have better jobs than those who do not.  They also claimed that as early as elementary school, teachers and other students gave special attention their “good-looking” peers. They argued that the media is at fault.  They are at fault because everywhere people go there will most likely be some sort of advertisement.  Living in the cities can be even more difficult because of the thousands of newspapers, magazines, and sometimes celebrities themselves. Although there are laws that permit the American citizens to speak freely, teenagers often follow what seems to be the norm. These norms might be about clothing, hairstyles, and even friends. Sadly enough, people who act different are frequently isolated by others who do not. The people who set the trend are the most recognized people.
     Lastly, not only do adolescents follow clothing trends to feel popular, but also follow trends that are more provocative.  One of those trends includes performing promiscuous acts. Case in point: Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga, who has sold over 10 million albums in 2009 worldwide, was seen nude in her music video Love game with 2 men. Though she was naked, she did not mind caressing one man, while hugging the other with her bare legs. This music video was banned from Australian television in 2009. The reason was not because of her nudity, but because of her word usage. The exact lyrics from the song were “let's have some fun, this beat is sick, …” (Gaga).  There are now rumors of her song Telephone, featuring Beyonce, being banned from MTV, the same show that aired Jersey Shore. Some Lady Gaga fans argue that the Australian television acted bias towards Gaga. They brought up the fact that they still play Britney Spears song If you seek Amy in public radio. The lyrics for this song are “love me, hate me, but all of the boys and all of the girls are waiting to seek Amy” (Spears). The signification of the song is in the title. If you say the title slowly you will notice it sounds as if you are spelling profanity. As years go by, the sensors of television shows are becoming less addressed.
     Whether it is for popularity, money, or attention, it is not clear why teenagers admire celebrities so much but they do. Celebrities show off a side of Hollywood that is in a positive aspect of the United States, though it is not always like this. The rich and famous have done enough bad influencing by having partying lifestyles, profanity and inequity towards each other, using each other as if they were objects, sex, drugs, discrimination and more. If this continuous their will be a crisis which will cause other problems. Some people argue that they contribute a lot to the world, but just because they help solve a problem does not give them the right to act in a juvenile matter. Celebrities are bad role models.
 
 
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