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Celebrities as Role Models - Essay Example

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John Q. Student Professor Doe English 344 8 May 2000 Monkey See, Monkey Don’t The idea of celebrity is a modern American construct. Prior to the rise of celebrity, most Americans celebrated those members of society who had the greatest positive impact on the society…
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Celebrities as Role Models
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Download file to see previous pages Additionally, many Americans still know these names and the accomplishments attached to them. But, in recent decades, the most respected and famous names are individuals who have had virtually no positive impact upon society. These people are celebrities. They are people such as Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Ray Lewis. Unfortunately, individuals in society often seek to imitate those people who society values. American society values the celebrity, so many people choose to imitate the actions of celebrities. While it is safe to assume that most adults can make moral judgments about a celebrity’s actions and then choose to condone or condemn the behavior, most children lack the intellectual development needed to make these types of judgments. As such, children are prone to imitating the negative actions of the celebrity role models society presents, and this imitation has lasting effects on the child’s development. One area of a child’s development that celebrity role models affect is moral development. Originally, American society promoted figures whose behavior and accomplishments were morally upright. Every child learned the example of Abraham Lincoln, who could not tell a lie. Schools and other socializing institutions used these figures to teach children the morals that they should adopt and imitate. Currently, American society promotes celebrities whose morals are questionable, at best, and reprehensible, at worst. As Paul Hollander states regarding how American society chooses celebrities in “Why the Celebrity Cult?,” “Moral qualifications in particular are unimportant and irrelevant—it is being well known that matters not moral character.” This statement does not mean that all celebrities are immoral, as many do promote moral values and causes, but children are exposed to many negative influences in the celebrities society pushes at them. Take an example of a celebrity who Disney touted as a model for children, Miley Cyrus. In her show, Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel, Miley Cyrus portrayed a character that embodied moral values that were positive. However, this role did not give her the level of celebrity that she currently enjoys. That resulted from videos of her smoking a drug from a bong, taking controversial sexualized photographs for a magazine, and performing sexualized dance routines while still under the age of eighteen. The message to children in this case is clear. One does not become famous for performing as a positive role model but by performing controversial acts in which children should not engage, acts such as drug use and the sexualization of children. Another area of the child’s development that celebrity affects is intellectual development. Instead of promoting figures known for their intellectual accomplishments, American society ignores these influential people in preference to celebrities. Early American hero Benjamin Franklin was a positive role model who had great success as an inventor and scientist, uncovering many scientific concepts and applying them in a range of devices. Writers who achieved fame early in American history were known for the excellence of their intellect. Mark Twain skewered society with a rapier wit. To be famous, a child would want to imitate the intellectual accomplishments of these figures. Now, the celebrities that children seek to imitate “aren’t particularly well-educated and informed. They’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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