Monday, November 05, 2007

Sartorial group

Hey guys,

So Sarah wants most of the content for the magazine done and ready to hand in on Wednesday, which means we need to get together Tuesday (tomorrow) to decide which pictures we want to use and then get the writing done for them. If tomorrow doesn't work for everyone then perhaps we could get together Wednesday before class and get the pictures figured out, then we can write little blurbs for each one, and if someone could take everything home with them and put it all together, and send it in to Sarah via email, that would work too. Let me know what you guys want to do...I am free tomorrow morning before noon and after 5pm, or all day Wednesday until class at 3pm. Talk soon friends!


Model Behaviour

We’re surrounded daily with the harried but fabulous lives of celebrities, especially young Hollywood, and we look to them for guidance, but should society really expect so much from this group of young, very human, beings?

A role model, as defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, is “a person whose behaviour in a particular role is imitated by others”. At its most basic level, this definition could be applied to almost anyone, as it seems there is always someone we identify with and are watching and emulating. However, society has inferred its own connotations to that word and what it means, perhaps wrongly. This has called into question the behaviours of certain public figures and their influences over their young fans and followers. When someone is called a ‘role model’, it is automatically assumed to be a good thing, but is that really the intended point? Should celebrity automatically mean ‘good’ role model?

Britney Spears began her career in the entertainment industry at an incredibly young and impressionable 11 years old, with a spot on Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club. Her meteoric rise to fame began when she released her debut solo album …Baby One More Time, and continued through three more commercially successful hits. At 24 Spears had it all, incredible fame, fortune, a loving family, and supportive fans. Spears was literally on top of the entertainment world, known as the Queen of Pop, performing for sold out concert stadiums and winning critical acclaim. Even starring in a movie, Crossroads, which may have been labeled a disaster by critics, but was still snapped up by adoring fans. Many touted her as the role model for young girls everywhere, but fast-forward to 2007 and you find an extraordinarily different picture.

At twenty-five Spears has been married to and divorced from a self-proclaimed mooch, and given birth to two children whom she no longer has custody of. She’s fallen almost completely from the music scene, unless her sad performance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards counts as a ‘comeback’, and is on rough terms with her family. Drugs, alcohol, late night partying, crotch-shots. These are the words that come to mind now when Britney’s name is mentioned. What happened? Many still see her as a role model, but should she be looked up to?

Lindsay Lohan started out in a similar light to Spears, with roles in now Disney classics, The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, and Herbie Fully Loaded, but it was not until her smash hit, Mean Girls, that Lohan really made it onto the scene. Like Spears, Lohan seemed to have everything, a successful career, stunning good looks, friends in all the right places, and her face on every magazine. Her fans adored her, of course she was a role model, but exactly what were her followers imitating?

The legal drinking age in the states is twenty-one. Lohan only turned the magic age in July of 2007, so why have we been feasting our eyes on documentation all over tabloids, magazines, and the internet of a drunk Lohan coming out of clubs all over Hollywood for the past three years? Is this behaviour to be inspiring? Perhaps not. Lohan recently completed a two-month stay at Cirque Lodge, a rehab facility in Utah. Two months after turning twenty-one, Lohan enters rehab for drugs and alcohol? How does this even happen?

The unfortunate truth is that it does – all the time, and not just to celebrities. While many would argue that these young girls should be aware of their behaviour and whom it affects, the fact remains that they are young - and human. Many underage teens procure fake IDs and drink illegally the world over, but should that kind of behaviour be blamed on their “role models”? Is it fair to put so much pressure on human beings, who, by nature are not perfect, and expect them to be entirely positive influences all of the time? In a new article on it states that according to the most recent Associated Press/AOL poll, both Britney and Lindsay made the list of the worst celebrity role models of 2006, with Spears coming out on top. While it has certainly been a whirlwind year chalk full of scandal for both Spears and Lohan, is it fair to give them so much credit? Just because celebrities are seen in all facets of their lives at all times, does it mean they have to be role models? Better yet, must they be entirely good ones?

Some argue they should. In the article, Role Model or Simply Celebrity?, published on and Derry News, Owen Shields and Rhonda Hogg of Children’s Express Foyle Bureau interviewed a number of young adults about who their role models were. The two were shocked to find that all of their subjects mentioned a celebrity persona. They had this to say about their findings, “We think it does highlight the fact that celebrities have to set a good example for young people because so many of us do look up to them, but it is also important that young people are realistic about their heroes.”

Perhaps this means we shouldn’t spend so much time worrying about what celebrities in the magazines are doing. Yes, they seemingly “have it all”, and their lives are glamorous and fun, but that’s only one side. We’re only given an extremely narrow view of who ‘celebrities’ really are, but at the end of the day aren’t they all just regular people who were lucky enough to get a break, and earn great wealth and fame? Does this make them role models? Perhaps, but should they be heralded as great people to aspire to be? I would argue no.

Instead, perhaps we should think about surrounding our youth with positive pictures of everyday people, and give them realistic goals and ideas of what makes someone a real inspiration and hero. Celebrities are capable of affecting incredible change, but the opposite is also true. Role models? Yeah. Good, bad, or ugly, according to the dictionary, most of them are. On the other hand, can we really call them inspirations, leaders, and genuinely great people to be looked up to? Think again.