Monday, January 14, 2013

Do We Really Need Role Models?

It seems that every time I read some article about popular culture-books, movies, TV shows, internet-I hear a lot about the 'influence' they have on a young audience.

Disney gets a lot of backlash for their heroines. Ultra thin, helium voiced princesses who fall into comas and await rescue. Oh, and they supposedly make us anorexic.
Um, sorry, but you're idiots. Anorexia is a medical condition. And what would happen if Disney made a chubby princess? Anybody else remember the Cookie Monster controversy?
And it doesn't stop there, of course. Take Katniss.
A twelve year old girl is selected to kill other teenagers. Her older sister volunteers in her place, because death is bad. And they're trying to kill her, which worries Katniss, because death is bad. Then her friend gets eliminated from the game and Katniss cries. Because death is bad. Then she nearly has to kill a boy she cares for, which is a very stressful experience, death is bad.
The conclusion?
"We can't allow our children to watch this! It's graphic! It's gory! It's gruesome! It promotes death!"
Everybody from Katniss to Hermione is supposed to be a role model. The moral guardians wonder, "What's the appeal here? What's the message? What's the inspiration? What's the moral?" Never mind that we're reading for entertainment.
Singers and actresses get caught up in this too. Supposedly, we're all Miley Cyrus clones. But this is only relevant for females. Nobody cares whether Justin Bieber is setting a good example for preteen boys. Which, by the way, he isn't.
I don't have role models. Heroes, yes. I've always admired firefighters. Navy SEALS too. And Joan of Arc, Susan B. Anthony, J.K. Rowling, George Washington, those guys aren't bad either. Just face it. The world is full of awesome people. But that doesn't mean I'm going to join the military.
I listen to Taylor Swift, but I don't care what kind of clothes or hair of paper airplane necklace she's flaunting.
Now I'm talking about role models in popular culture. Parents are an entirely different matter. You want a kid who doesn't smoke, drink, and have sex? Here's a hint. Don't smoke or drink. And have the kid in wedlock. It works. You can't complain about your kid's problems if you're doing the same stupid things. Well, you can, but then the kid can call you a hypocrite.
Here's a good rule of thumb:
If you don't want your kid to watch, read, wear, or do it-

We're not stupid. If we want role models, we'll look for them in the real world. That is all.

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