Saturday, October 23, 2010

Celebrities Consider Your Fan Base!

I have a real issue with celebrities who achieve success by appealing to young preteen and teenage children and then go on to do something which is totally inappropriate for that fan base. If a celebrity gains their popularity via a family oriented show, then it seems to me that they have an obligation to act and perform responsibly because what they say or do can influence their young fans. This seems to be happening more and more often. Just during this past year I can name three instances which exemplify what I am talking about.

Miley Cyrus achieved huge popularity with preteens on Disney’s Hannah Montana program. Even though I do not think she is very talented, her fans obviously do. Two news items regarding her performance at the Teen Choice Awards and her behavior at a party made the news. At the Teen Choice Awards she performs a sexually suggestive “pole” dance. And, at a private party, a 17 year old Miley does a “lap dance” for Adam Shankman (who at 44 should have known better himself). The video of the lap dance got on the web and went international, so everyone saw it and was talking about it.

Adam Lambert became an overnight celebrity on the family oriented show, American Idol. Millions of young children watch this show along with their parents. Just a three short months after coming in second on Idol and completing the tour, Adam appeared on the American Music Awards. Children across America were watching when Adam strayed from his scripted, rehearsed performance and added some very disturbing, sexually explicit parts to his routine. To be exact, “Adam had a dancer on a leash, had a dancer's head grinding against his crotch simulating oral sex, and had a hand on his own crotch. He also made out with a male band member and flipped his middle finger.” So outrageous was his performance that he lost a couple of appearances soon after that because of it. However, it wasn’t until he realized he had to do some damage control for his career that he apologized and said he got carried away!

And, what brings all this to mind today is the cast of Glee and their photo shoot in GQ magazine. Glee is a family show with a huge fan base of young children. So it is a concern to parents that, while appearing “in character,” cast members were shot in very provocative poses. What kind of message does this send to children? Of course children aren’t going out to buy GQ magazine, but it is delivered to homes across the country where many children have easy access to them. The internet also makes it almost impossible to protect your children from anything of this nature. If, for example, they Google Glee, the GQ photo shoot is going to show up on top of their search. And, even when vigilant parents take every precaution to protect their children from inappropriate material, other parents may not. So what children don’t see at home they can easily see at a friend’s house.  Here is one such link:

I find all this very troubling. Children look up to these celebrities and they are very impressionable. Shouldn’t these people consider the fact that their success came from a young audience base and behave in a way that is appropriate for their fans? As a parent, you would not expect to see a “pole” dance by Disney’s Miley Cyrus at the Teen Choice Awards, or American Idol’s Adam Lambert doing a sexually explicit performance at the AMA‘s, or the most popular Glee member, Rachael, sitting in a chair with her legs spread wide open and her underwear showing. What can you do after your child has waited all night to see their favorite celebrity perform? Shut the TV and drag them to bed as though they did something wrong? Try to explain what they just saw? Hope they don’t get their hands on GQ at a friend’s house?

Kids today have to grow up fast enough. Their innocence is taken away all too soon. But, when they are exposed to things like this, it not only influences them in a negative way, but forces them to grow up even faster.

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