Monday, February 27, 2012

Where Have all the Children Gone? (Part Two)

In my last blog I talked about the purposeful and controversial behavior of young stars trying to be taken seriously by sexualizing themselves.

Why is this behavior so common in coming-of-age celebutantes?

I think the answer is personal, cultural, and spiritual. On a personal level, growing up in front of the camera is difficult. Going through the awkward adolescent stage is hard enough without having millions watch your every move and mistake. Add to that being the center of attention for many years and it’s like vigorously shaking a soda bottle before opening. (There’s probably a better analogy…if you think of one let me know.)

Plus, no matter how humble your family and friends keep you, when you are the star of a show you are treated a cut above the rest. There are people whose job is to make sure you are happy since you are the face of the project. When your identity is wrapped up in being the main focus (whether intentional or not) it’s disillusioning when it’s taken away.

Lastly, for many of these kids, their life has been micro-controlled by parents, managers, studio execs, etc. I’m not a psychologist, but in some twisted way these kids are finally getting a level of control over their life. Sure, the control may bend negatively, but at least it’s their choice.

From a cultural perspective, society has a fascination with bad behavior. We love to raise people up and then see people fall from grace. Thinking and talking about someone else’s stupidity distracts us from our own. So, these kids still get to stay in the spotlight because society inadvertently feeds into it by buying magazines and watching Hollywood gossip shows, which creates a world where people profit financially from their mishaps.

Finally, these kids are seeking something that can never be found in fame, fortune, or the centerfold of a magazine spread. They are seeking what only Jesus can provide—and that is unconditional love and acceptance. When you realize your worth and value is not dictated by public opinion, but by how much your Heavenly Father loves you, it frees you from the clutches of fame and public opinion.

It’s a sad trend that I hope turns around. I hope that America loses its fascination with celebrity and celebrates not fame for fame’s sake, but actual talent and accomplishment. I wish people would just as eagerly grab tabloids that featured brilliant scientists, writers, and other achievers, rather than celebrate celebrities who checked into rehab due to exhaustion from clubbing too hard.

Instead of talking about and clucking your tongues at these young stars, pray for them. They may seem like they "have it all." But as we see over and over again, "having it all" is not the answer.

"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 8:36

Do you follow celebrities? How do you react to their shenanigans?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Where Have all the Children Gone? (Part One)

I’m not a huge fan of most Disney Channel shows (another blog for another day), but when I saw Miley Cyrus doing a strip tease-y number in a bird cage at some awards show I stared at the tv screen flabbergasted. Yet another teen icon was purposefully and intentionally shirking her “good girl” image. (Author’s Note: Yes, I know I’m about two years behind in pop culture. But two years is actually really good for me considering homeschoolers are usually a decade behind. I only figured out who the Spice Girls were a couple years ago.)

Since this incident she’s posed in magazines flaunting seductive clothes and poses, and spoken out that she is, indeed, trying to get the world to see her as an adult.

Here’s what struck me more than the (in my opinion) tackiness of these attempts: that in her mind “adult” equals sexualizing yourself. In fact, there seems to be a trend among teen stars to “shed” their image (and their clothes) in order to be taken more seriously.

I think they are confusing controversy with maturity.

Brittany Spears, Christina Aguilera, Lindsey Lohan, Taylor Momsen, and a slew of other child actors who began their careers playing wholesome, sweet parts have gone extremely out of their way to show the world they are rebels with an edge. They want to be taken seriously. They want the world to know they are no longer little girls.

Trust us. We know. The constant barrage of headlines saying you’ve missed your court mandated counseling or got married and divorced in less than a week has confirmed it. You are indeed grown up.

But did you want our attention or our respect? Because our attention you have, our respect you do not.

What about the other aspects of being an adult deserving of respect? What about responsibility? Leadership? Creativity? Intelligence? Giving back to your community? Those are all important markers of adulthood. For some reason, though, those apparently don’t get the attention of the general public enough to merit pursuing.

Why do you think young celebrities get caught up in this whirlwind of controversy?