Hollywood, Celebrities, and Role Models

Bad boys are prevalent in the entertainment industry. A male celebrity in a club, surrounded by multiple women, high and downing shots? Pretty normal to most. But a female celebrity in the same situation? She’d be bashed like there was no tomorrow.

miley-cyrus-vmaLet’s look at the way the public been talking about Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. In the last year, Justin’s been photographed using drugs, peeing in restaurant buckets, partying, and spitting at people. Sure, Justin’s gotten some flack for his actions, but people have been relatively forgiving towards him. They say that though Justin’s not making the wisest decisions, he’s just being a kid. It’s hard to grow up in the spotlight so we should just let him be. He’ll probably grow out of it. Miley, on the other hand? She’s been making headlines for her controversial VMA performance, her nudity in the “Wrecking Ball” music video, and her drug use. And boy, has she been criticized. People are bashing Miley for being trashy and a terrible role model, and Sinead O’Connor warned Miley not to prostitute herself. Though Miley and Justin are both young and making mistakes, there is obviously much more negativity and judgement in Miley’s criticism than in Justin’s. The contrasting reactions reflect what we have been saying about the increased tendency of women to be looked at and judged. There are artists, both male and female, who have made disrespectful performances and trashy music videos, yet it’s the females who always get the backlash. Women have the burden of being meticulous with their actions and appearances because they are objects and they are scrutinized.

Speaking of scrutiny, females in the entertainment industry are under much more pressure to be good role models. Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez, two relatively good celebrity role models, stated in interviews that they are mindful of making good decisions because they know young fans are following their lead. When have we ever heard male celebrities say that? Why are female celebrities the ones burdened with the responsibility? Being a role model entails increased judgement. They didn’t sign up for that. Just like women didn’t sign up to be constantly watched and critiqued.

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2 thoughts on “Hollywood, Celebrities, and Role Models

  1. When you say “women didn’t sign up to be constantly watched and critiqued,” it reminds me of how Professor Parham asked us to tally up the number of times we are able to look at a woman without judgement. Our society doesn’t know how to look at women without judging them.

  2. but actually! i never thought about your last point about role models. we always expect female celebrities to be looked up to, but we don’t hold men to that same standard. also, when did these celebrities actually sign up to be role models? i don’t recall ever reading about Miley wanting to present herself as a role model to others. i think these female celebrities have a duty to themselves first to be who they want to be; audiences don’t have to follow their paths. but i totally agree with you: we don’t give the same criticism to men that we do give to women.

    …then again, i would never, ever, ever in the history of the world consider Justin Bieber a role model, drug use or not. (but that’s just another point entirely)

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