The iGeneration is our innocent toddlers, unpredictable teens, and undergraduates with aspiring goals. They’re our future technology experts, computer programmers, and masters of the digital world. Yet, they share even a bigger phenomenon: celebrity influence. From the girls who fume in meaningless fury over seeing Justin Bieber’s girlfriend on TV, to those who fall under the trap of propaganda, the influence of celebrities is a powerful tool that will send our iGenration one step forward and three steps backward.
So, where do the detrimental consequences come in? After all, it’s more than the typical teens who share an ardent interest in hanging up dozens of celebrity posters in their room. The consequences are due to those who a) obsess over celebrities, b) believe they have to be like celebrities, or c) consider celebrities their ultimate ‘role models.’
This is the phase where individuals are extremely dependent upon a celebrity to determine their moods, feelings, or lifestyle. In other words, they’re completely obsessed with this particular person. For instance, let’s examine the scenario of the girls who were green with envy over Justin Beiber’s “so-called lover.” Why do these girls waste their anger and energy over a star who doesn’t even know they exist? Similarly, the shocked teen who plunges into sorrow after hearing his/her favorite singer is doing drugs is crying over spilled milk. Puerile things celebrities do shouldn’t dictate how teens will go about their daily lives; otherwise, these young adults aren’t becoming their own individuals. And besides – isn’t being obsessed with anyone or anything simply unhealthy?
Pop Culture and Mental Illness
Now, let’s take a look at Barbie. Why? Because, apparently, everyone loves Barbie. Besides, there’s a thin line between how to become a human Barbie doll and how to become a celebrity clone (preferably Kim Kardashian).
Why Barbie wouldn’t and couldn’t exist:
One: Her bones would be too frail to even support her
Two: Her head would to be too big and ankles too small (unless men like those features in a woman?)
Three: Her long skinny neck wouldn’t be able to hold her head
Four: Thanks to her size 3 feet and tiny ankles, she’d have to walk on all fours, too
Five: Do we have to continue?
Society has produced this false idea that money + good looks = happiness, and we see the evidence of this equation all over magazines covers, news, music and other forms of media. Young adults are swarmed with this fantasy world of sexy bodies, filthy wealth and suggestive behavior in our pop culture. They fail to realize how unrealistic the world really is. Being forced to compete with such ridiculously high standards the celebrity world proposes, many young adults find themselves in regrettable situations to “fit in.” Think about it: the girl who looks in the mirror, compares herself to Barbie, and weighs 130 pounds declares she’s “fat.” Logically, that wouldn’t make any sense – but half of what celebrities are doing is illogical as well. We’re not trying to slam the stars, but the majority of them contribute to the false image of men and women which so many of the iGeneration believe in.
This is why many psychologists, as well as parents themselves, find negative celebrity influence and the media a major factor to mental and eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, and even depression. Taking a pill to throw up your food is some serious conflict, and we need to recognize the created fantasy role of males and females is one, as well.
Remember the time when your parents were your role models? Or maybe you were the irregular (just kidding). Naturally, many parents are the first people look up to, but overtime the media has taken the place of deciding children’s role models. In the article We Are What We See, professor of sociology David Popenoe stated “children see a popular culture overloaded with adult sexuality and violence, and dominated by materialistic values.” A study at Rutgers University revealed many children living in the absence of one or both parents, thus he remarked “this is what their absent parents are supposed to protect them from.”
Many young adults have allowed their favorite celebrities or stars to take the place of their parents as their role models. However, we cannot ignore the irony in this decision - we know so much about our parents yet so little about a celebrity’s life hidden behind the camera. Shouldn’t our role models be people we really know? Understandably, there are parents out there, whose influence is hazardous, so children turn elsewhere for role models. Yet, sometimes a role model is a hidden figure yet to be discovered – it can be a grandmother or even an older brother.
Okay. So all hope is not lost for the iGeneration – there is, in fact, a solution. Informing them. Instead of replaying Miley Cyrurs’ suggestive dancing at the VMA’s or Kylie Jenner eating live bugs for breakfast, let’s talk about moving young adults and children forward and into reality. Let’s talk about them becoming the next big entrepreneurs, biggest names in the business, or motivational speakers – everyone can’t become a celebrity. Therefore, we need to take the ones we have and help produce more of a realistic and positive image for young people to look up to.