April 29, 2008

Pedestal

Maybe my opinion doesn't count because my boys still only watch Dora and Star Wars, but this Miley Cyrus-magazine-pose controversy has me shaking my head and still wondering why in the world parents are creating role models for their kids out of people in Hollywood.

This morning hubby and I made a pact to try to never allow ourselves to put some popular kid show actor or character at such a high regard that we forget they are human. We vow to remember that they are not good role model material- ever. No matter how wholesome they appear today, I promise you, someday they will disappoint you. Because they are human. And they are not thinking "I'm a role model" with every action they take and temptation they encounter.

I remember being frustrated by this very thing when people got all hot and bothered about some High School Musical scandal and I am annoyed to no end by how high up people place Oprah and then get upset when she doesn't act out the moral life or beliefs that you think she should. If Joe or Steve from Blues Clues were to go off the deep end, I'd probably not be outraged, I'd think "it's about time."

These are people, people! They are going to fail. They are not perfect and more often that not, if you're watching them on TV or in a movie, they are fake. They aren't real. Just a character created in a script by someone else with who knows what type of moral values or beliefs.

And I know some of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the controversy of late is parental involvement and so forth, but you have to think back to when you were fifteen. I imagine that people are getting worked up because their eight year olds look up to this starlet so much, but again, she's not eight years old.

Although I don't really remember that far back, I imagine the role models of yesteryears were our mothers and grandmothers and aunts. Just regular people that actually cared about your life and they weren't one dimensional where you only see into their life but they have no clue who you or your child is. These people invested in you as much as you invested in them.

And when moms or aunts or daughters disappoint, you learn and move on. It's usually not too controversial. Hopefully it doesn't make the front-page news. It's often a learning experience. It's part of life. I want you to know that I will probably disappoint you. Maybe this post itself is disappointing you right now. I'm not perfect, not even close, and don't even try to be. Right now I am trying to finish typing this while I'm half-reading That's Not My Train in between thoughts to Gray on my lap. I'm still trying to figure this life all out and will try to remember that everyone else is, too. Even if they are magnified 50-times larger than life on a movie screen or billboard. They are still as small and as important as you and I. And are in no position to ever be someone I want my child to look up to.


33 comments:

  1. My kids are 5, 6 and 8 and they understand the difference between a movie role and the person.
    Like:
    "Look there is Troy in that movie! Or I know his real name isn't Troy, but it's the same boy".

    While they take these tween pop culture idols as entertainment, their real heros and role models are still daddy flying a rescue helicopter or the neigbour who is building a huge house himself. Or a mother who has twins or a music teacher who can compose music.

    And even from the media - my kids think Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay rock - they seem more "real" when they cook at the Foodnetwork.

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  2. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! My sentiments exactly!!!

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  3. This post doesn't disappoint me at all - I feel the same way, but sadly have allowed my child to watch Miley. Not long ago, she was developing too much of an obsession and we cut it out because we were uncomfortable with it - not because of her, but in ourselves for putting in that position. We are trying (and most times need to work on it) to create an environment where our kids understand no human can handle any kind of glory or admiration that was only meant for the Lord.

    On a sidenote - not necessarily about Miley - but, we often expect lost people to act 'saved' and get shocked when they don't. That's our fault.

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  4. This is what happens when you have a teenage girl trying to be a role model for young children. I didn't think the shot in question was all that racy, but it didn't fit in with her child star image. When I was 15 I remember thinking I was an adult! While I never had a picture taken with my bra hanging out, I think poor judgment calls are typical of most teens. They just aren't as scrutinized as Miley is because they aren't famous.

    When my daughter gets a little older, I'd MUCH prefer her to get a glimpse of Miley Cyrus wearing too much lipstick and her back hanging out than see women getting raped, beaten up and murdered on Law & Order.

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  5. Ok, so here's where I take my turn to say...

    Clap clap clap clap...standing ovation, Can't Buy Me Love style.

    I'm so not even in the solar system of worrying about this kind of thing that I have a hard time articulating my issue with it. Thanks for doing it for me.

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  6. Great post! I totally agree! I am sooo lucky that my daughter isn't concerned with being like anyone else. She's not really into characters too much- except maybe Bindi the Jungle Girl- and I'm cool with that. She likes lip gloss and likes to make up "dances", but also wants to be a "bug catcher" when she grows up. I made a pact with myself that I will try my hardest for role models be real people with real jobs for her. Heck, I can remember being 8 years old. All I wanted to be was 10 years old, like Orphan Annie. How things change.

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  7. I totally agree with you. It my day it was Madonna...True Blue. Wow I just dated myself ;)

    We are told not to make Idols of anyone/thing but God. But how easy it is to forget...how easy it is.

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  8. I was never one to be star struck. Nor have I ever looked at others (people around me) with my jaw on the floor. People who do - I think lack self confidence.
    I've always taught my son when he talks about pro-athletes and "wow, look at what they have" I tell him - they've been blessed with a gift, and maybe they have a lot but that doesn't mean they are happy, because happiness doesn't come from material things but from within our hearts and having a relationship with the Lord.
    I can't stand the media and way they show these music star and everyone else like they are so well off. I wouldn't trade places with anyone of them even if you paid me all the money in world.
    Funny you write this post today Steph, my husband and I just said yesterday we wonder how long it will be before Miley turns into another Britney?
    Great post, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one sick of hearing about the this stuff on t.v.
    Amy

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  9. Exactly. And this is why I'll never allow my children to WORSHIP the ground one of these people walks on!

    I can't get over how many parents go all out with Miley Cyrus stuff for their young girls. It always makes me uneasy when kids get so into a TV or music person.

    Anytime you allow your child to become addicted or obessed that is a very bad thing. When they start emulating and copying ... it's a bad thing, because these people will likely get into drugs, drinking, parying, posing nude, sex tapes and all the horrible things most young people in hollywood seem to do.

    And then these tv/music stars that we once allowed our kids to adore and copy because it was cute now become the reason why our little girls think it's okay to take pictures of their bras.

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  10. I had to quit watching Oprah because I was placing her in high regard. When I finally decided to stop Tivo-ing it, I can honestly say it made me feel better to move on.

    Our world's view is messed up. Seriously. And I think we need to start hammering the notion that all these so-called role models are just regular people. I mean, they poop on the toilet like anyone else, right? (Sorry, but we need to realize how HUMAN they reall are!)

    Lori

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  11. I agree that I was not surprised about this. I was waiting for it, rather. And honestly, while it's not great, it's not as bad as some people are making it out to be either.

    However. I have to address your comment about parents creating role models for their kids out of people in Hollywood.

    Parents aren't the ones creating these role models. Unless I raise my kids in a vacuum, they are going to end up idolizing people in Hollywood. My daughter is 5, and the only place she has seen HM is at our neighbor's house. Even if I homeschooled or church schooled, I couldn't have prevented her from learning of and idolizing HM.

    I respect our neighbors as parents and feel that not allowing my daughter to play there b/c they often have HM on the TV is not necessary. I think the only thing we can do is talk to our kids and try to keep them grounded. But they are going to end up idolizing people and being disappointed. That's just life. Unfortunately.

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  12. You've made some great points.

    I'm glad that I don't have to deal with it at this point.

    I am thinking, however, I need to limit Woggie's Vanity Fair reading...

    :-)

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  13. Great post, Steph. I have to agree with DCR that sometimes the parents aren't the ones creating the steps to the pedestal. It just happens. Society happens. It's all around us, we can't escape it. I had no idea Disney Princesses were popular at all until my TWO YEAR OLD fell in love with them. It was nothing I did, except, perhaps taking her to the grocery store with me, but I had no other choice.

    So, sometimes it happens, and it has happened with the same daughter with Hannah Montana - but it is up to the parents to regulate their consumption and try to explain to our children the difference between real life and make believe.

    It bothers me that Miley Cyrus or her reps or someone in her family did not think that wearing a shirt just might be a good idea. Pedestal or no pedestal - SHE'S FIFTEEN YEARS OLD.

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  14. Yes- I agree and totally still will allow entertainment in our home and we'll enjoy it with the kids. However when one of my boys' favorite characters goes off and does something odd or risque in real life, I'm not going to act like they've done me some injustice on purpose or freak out and think I've been betrayed as I've seen so many Moms reacting in regards to this latest fiasco!!

    Steph

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  15. Exactly! Isn't that why God told us not to put our trust in man? People are not perfect. They make mistakes.

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  16. Miley is a teenager and if what I did as a teenager (no matter how tame it seems now) were for the world to see, I would be sad and ashamed.
    Nobody is perfect, a good lesson to learn.

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  17. Been following that controversy and thinking the same thing.

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  18. I agree with the points you've made. I think its important to remember our children are watching how we react and respond to things like this. If they see us pointing fingers and being judgmental that is what they'll learn. I want my children to learn to make good choices but to also respond graciously when others make regretful choices.Like you said, we're all human and we all make bad choices,fortunately I can make them in relative privacy.

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  19. I totally agree. I was never into all that hype as a kid because my parents never bought into it. I try hard not to purchase character toys for my son but he loves Thomas, Winnie, and Cars but those little guys are moral.

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  20. I agree sista!

    Having a daughter who loves the show, and High School Musical she was bothered by it to the point that she didn't want to watch the program anymore because she didn't want to be associated wtih such acts.

    How about the youngest Spears daughter with her own program and now pregnant at 16?

    These young "idols" are no different than the big "idols" grown ups idolize.

    Now she's into the Jonas Brothers.... Oh boy!

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  21. I have a huge Hannah Montana fan in my house, but luckily she's in school most of the time and not watching HM all day! My question is if her parents, or manager, or whoever was there on the set and in charge...why didn't they use their adult and very business savvy judgement and say No to those shots being published? Wouldn't they have the foresight to know that it wouldn't look good? OR was the photographer (who is held in very high artistic regard) too pushy and they had a hard time saying no? I think Miley just used poor judgement and there was an obvious lack of supervision. AND look at the length of her skirt too! Not just the pic of her with the bare back. Super short!

    Nevertheless, my hubby said that if the photographer would have been male, this would be a huge ordeal more focused on the photographers motives.

    All that aside, I didn't even think it was that great of a picture of her. But, I really do think her apology was sincere and I'm sure that they will be walking the line from now on.

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  22. I totally agree. We need to remember all people make mistakes. Well written.

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  23. This is a great post! We were just talking about this the other night. I think you are right! Kids need examples to look to, but not fake ones that WILL change when given the opportunity. I think that whoever the kids look up to, they need to be taught that people aren't perfect and when things happen, kids can learn from those things.

    (My cousin actually named her baby Miley. I wonder what she thinks now...)

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  24. gretchen from lifenutApril 30, 2008 6:11 AM

    EXCELLENT post, Steph. Yes, I shouted it. I may have awakened Beatrix.

    This line killed me, in a good way: "If Joe or Steve from Blues Clues were to go off the deep end, I'd probably not be outraged, I'd think "it's about time."

    My kids have never liked Hannah Montana or the High School Musical gang. In fact, I can't think of any character they've idolized.

    And isn't that the key word? Idol?

    God is so smart. Not only does he tell us not to have other Gods because he's jealous, he tells us not to have other "gods" because they will disappoint us. Every. Single. Time. Yet we persist and are surprised when our heroes fall.

    Great post, again. In fact, I have a post idea related to this!

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  25. Oh, my dear. You raise a good question and point. I know that these are just kids that are living their life publicly, yet at the same time, they are...whether they like it or not...an example for all these little people who look up to them. My neice LOVES Miley, and I'm just not quite sure she is the best role model for a ten year-old...especially given recent pictures and what not. As parents, we have to discern how much they watch and what we allow in as influence. I struggle with "culture" permeating our lives so much that we forget what's really important! When we've placed a teen icon on such a pedestal, we've truly forgotten Who should be #1 in our lives. I think that is the biggest thing we can take from this situation.

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  26. Great post, Steph. So true that we as the parents need to pay careful attention to who we are promoting as role models.

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  27. i tend to agree with a lot of what you wrote.
    i've had a lot of thoughts about this whole thing floating around in my head. i'd like to write about it but i don't know if i'll find the time. anyway, i appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

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  28. I'm just glad that Dora will never pose topless. If you are going to pick a role model, pick a fake one!

    In all seriousness, great post.

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  29. I TOTALLY agree with you here! Thank goodness I'm not the only one who feels this way, I was seriously beginning to wonder!

    I mean, how can people not know that they are just as human and imperfect as you or I, and certainly not meant to be something to model our lives after.

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  30. Love your perspective. Linked ya here:
    http://mamaknj.blogspot.com/2008/05/time-for-some-linky-love.html

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