Written by: Mitch Donat
The popular culture of actors, musicians, politicians and more has exploded in the 21st century. It seems anyone can act in a film or spit an insulting comment and find themselves on the cover of People Magazine the next day. These numerous celebrities undoubtedly have a greater and greater influ- ence on society and on especially teenagers, than ever before. I’m embarrassed when a friend mentions something Lil’ Wayne did at the VMAs that I’m completely unaware of. But on the other hand, I’m quite proud of my ignorance, because I’m not spending my time absorbing what the media thinks about popular people.
The way people in society, especially teen- agers, model themselves after the next TV star disappoints me. Fanboys and fangirls everywhere should stop dreaming about ce- lebrities because it is a waste of time, a negative influence on our community as a whole and a burden on our generation.
Frankly, these hardcore followers of celeb- rities are wasting precious hours of their time absorbing pointless information. They are wasting hours every day watching celebrities on TV and reading about them in magazines rather than engaging in productive activities. Spending hours stalking a favorite celebrity is a blatant waste of the time that is so valuable to high-schoolers. According to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) administered in 2012, Americans spend around 2.8 hours a day watching TV, accounting for half of the leisurely time available for those 15 years and older. In the same survey, the BLS found that Americans spend on average seven minutes a day reading. These statistics about what mod- ern Americans do for leisure are sickening.
Teenagers idolizing celebrities is seri- ously detrimental to society. Role models are great—they provide as guides for how one wants to see themselves later on in life. Of course, countless celebrities would make great role models for our generation—many are intelligent, clean and moral people, from singers such as Taylor Swift to figures like Barack Obama. However, this is besides the point—I’m not seeing people in our generation idolizing themselves after people like these. We aren’t dressing like them, acting as mature as them, or making beautiful music like them.
Our generation needs to be more picky when choosing its role models. Simply put, it makes us look bad. When our elders see us screaming down the streets fist-pumping and yelling “YOLO” because we saw Drake and Snooki do it, we look like poorly educated children, brainwashed by the media. Celeb- rity hypebeasts are absorbing this negative influence, often at much younger ages, which makes each generation look worse than the previous.
People everywhere need to turn off the television, put down the magazine and stop obsessing over the latest celebrity news and gossip. These are our teenage years—I don’t want to look back when I’m 26 and say I spent my days obsessing over boy bands. Teenagers obsessing over celebrities and what they wear or how they act will never help an individual conquer insecurities and problems or guide him through his teenage years—it will do just the opposite.