Celebrities by profession have to understand their life is not private, they live under a microscope and everything they do is up for scrutiny and debate. With that said, living a life in the limelight does not by default make one a role model. Many celebrities, like Beyoncé, have been scrutinized as to whether or not they are a role model for teen girls. Beyoncé came under fire recently with claims that her actions and lyrics are a bad influence on young girls. Is such a question, fair or realistic? Is Beyoncé a role model for teen girls or someone they should aspire to become?
By definition a celebrity is someone who is famous and a role model is someone whose particular role is modeled by others. The two words in juxtaposition reveal why celebrities and role models are often used synonymously. Beyoncé for example is an artist, a wife, a mother, and a mega-star; she definitely falls under the definition of celebrity. Beyoncé can perhaps serve as an appropriate role model for young budding female artists, young wives and maybe even young mothers. However, for a 15-year-old girl to say they want to model their behavior after present day Beyoncé, they should know it is inappropriate to believe they can model their teen life after an adult woman. Perhaps when Beyoncé was the lead singer of Destiny’s Child a teenage girl could have modeled their behavior after her teen self, but certainly not today.
Parents should not accept celebrities’ behavior to be a blueprint for their young daughters instead should concern themselves with the everyday influences in their teen’s lives. Parents can start by sitting their daughters down and talk to them about their best friend who is skipping class and disrespecting their parents, and make sure their daughter does not model their behavior after that child. It is nice to aspire to be something great, but at 15 one should model their behavior after someone within their age group. Beyoncé was not gyrating her hips or straddling her boyfriend at 15, however now she is over 30, performing with her husband, with whom she had a child with after they were married. How can that be a bad model on what young girls should aspire to, adversely how can a young girl model their behavior after an adult?
To aspire is a future goal, “when I am older I want to be like…etc.” To model behavior as a teen is to believe at 15 one can live out the lyrics to Beyoncé’s Drunk in Love song because she is their “role model”, except she is twice their age and a recording artist. As an adult you have the right to drink, get drunk and know the difference between like and love and for the purpose of the song, know the meaning of a metaphor. At 15 one can neither drink legally therefore should not be drunk nor know the meaning to being drunk in love. The distinction should be made that an aspiration is one thing, and to mimic behavior is another, to aspire to be successful, married mom is not a negative goal.
There may not be many 15-year-old celebrities if any at all, who are in the limelight as much as Beyoncé. Teen girls are looking for role models to give them an example of how they should behave, and so that leaves the influence of their peers and celebrities. Parents should get more involved and have the conversation explaining the difference between aspiring to be and modeling behavior. Likewise do some research on their child’s celebrity role model and show the progression of that celebrity’s life and career.
Beyoncé did wake up beautiful but she did not wake up 30-years old gyrating her hips. She too was once a 15-year-old teenager and her behavior, life and actions at that time were vastly different from what they are now as a married adult. Beyoncé should not be condemned for the woman she has become nor should she carry the weight of responsibility to be a current role model for teens, rather someone they can aspire to be, as adults.
By Debra Pittman