activism, Beyonce, character, column, Daniel Radcliffe, Hollywood, Jennifer Lawrence, moral sanity, Pauley Perrette, professionalism, Robert Downey Jr, role model, set a good example, social issues, the Breakfast Club, true heroes, women empowerment, youth
Young people need to look up to those who truly make a difference in their lives, such as our parents, our politicians fighting for what we want, our teachers and our community leaders… not rappers, singers or actors.
While these people might inspire us, they’re not exactly saving any lives or improving our daily lives with movies and music.
Typically, the majority of the people, especially young men and women, rather pay attention to their favorite singer or actor than scan their own environment for people to mentor them. In a sense, the stars from Hollywood—with the strong media focus upon them—have an even greater responsibility to set an example for the young.
That’s how I see it, because with magazines and tabloids gossiping about other people, everything from what they put in their mouths to their deep personal secrets, we see and hear about them more often and it’s likely to affect the younger members of our society.
However, with the Olsen twins shrinking into scarecrows as Lindsey Lohan is tripping down the stairs of moral sanity, it’s difficult to find that beacon in Hollywood. Many other former child actors or children of rich parents in those beautiful neighborhoods are living the fast and dangerous life of hazy nights, sex and drugs. Are there any good kids left?
British actor Daniel Radcliffe has been an actor since the age of 11 and has somehow avoided the dark alley that many child actors seem to slip into once they reach puberty or adulthood. In an episode on “Inside the Actors Studio,” Radcliffe stated how much he disliked unprofessionalism, whether it was within his own field or any other place of work. He is a young man who takes his job seriously and regardless if someone aspires to become an actor, his positive attitude and down-to-earth nature is admirable.
When I posted the question “Who do you consider a role-model, if any?” on Facebook, I received mixed responses. One pointed out that the actor Robert Downey, Jr. is one, because he recovered from his drug and alcohol addiction, and now encourages people to stay away from that type of life.
Downey once joked in an interview, “I don’t drink these days. I am allergic to alcohol and narcotics. I break out in handcuffs.”
Despite that it recently became known that the actress Jennifer Lawrence has smoked weed (and/or still does), another commentator claimed that it hasn’t really changed the way people feel about her.
The reason for this is that unlike most women in L.A., where plastic surgery and anorexia is practically a life style, Lawrence enjoys to eat and isn’t shy to show how much she loves food. Lawrence has said, “In Hollywood, I’m obese. I’m considered a fat actress. I eat like a caveman. I’ll be the only actress that doesn’t have anorexia rumors! I’m never going to starve myself for a part.”
There are stories about girls in the country who have said that they feel better about eating or that they’re more comfortable with their bodies, knowing that someone like Lawrence is perfectly fine continuing her normal eating habits while being surrounded by negative social pressures.
Some actors take a stance within social issues and legal disputes, which is good to see when the attention generally is misplaced on unimportant details (their shiny cars, their clothes, their sex lives). I would be happy if Pauley Perrette was better known for her activism and support for gay marriage than for playing the childish Goth character on “NCIS.”
I disagree with calling Beyoncé a model for women empowerment, because she has made no outside effort to change anything for women in the country or around the world. Producing feminist songs helps no one but herself. In this case, people are exaggerating her supposed influence.
Too often people make these celebrities out to be demigods when they should value the goodness of the true heroes in their neighborhood. It might help one to reach for the stars in finding motivation, inspiration and ideas from them, but it’s risky if it is someone of bad character.
The bottom line is that if less people in Hollywood act selfishly and today’s youth expand their horizon beyond this palm tree-lined sunrise, maybe parents will feel better once their kids leave the house to conquer the world on their own.