Saturday, September 1, 2007

Role Models

If you read my blog ‘Tell Me What To Do,’ this one is somewhat similar in theme, but it is directed at a different audience. Like what was discussed in the other blog, individuals in American culture are subject to constant advertising and publicity about what we SHOULD be doing, buying, and wearing. This message may be aimed at the consumer-driven-American, but it also finds its audience in YOUNGER Americans.

I recently was checking my email and saw an article flashing on the side among things such as stocks, latest gossip, and a 5 ways to find your ‘Mr. Right’ article. It was about the party-girls of Hollywood and their INFLUENCE on young girls of America. It detailed how these many young women of Hollywood are role models for young impressionable America. Now, being a role model is all well and great, but the article emphasized the NEGATIVE effects of the Paris Hiltons and Britney Spearses of the L.A. nightclubs. This article came at an interesting time, because in one of my Human Development and Family Studies courses, we were discussing ROLE MODELS and how they are an influence on people, especially young little Misses.

The article had interviewed numerous concerned parents that said their young daughters adore Lindsay LOHAN, Paris HILTON, and Nicole RICHIE types, and that 4th graders are saying words like ‘sexy’ and dressing provocatively. Parents of the preteens and teeney-boppers also regaled tales of their young adults’ expensive tastes in clothes, jewelry, or latest cell phone Ms. Hilton just lost.  They continued to complain about how they had to buy their children these things they wanted, and watch Daddy's little girl walk out the front door wearing skin-tight hot shorts.

This is troubling, but what seems MORE troubling is that these parents in some way seem to be inviting or encouraging these behaviors and interests. Although anyone who has been around a 7 to 12 year old knows that it is difficult to oversee what they hear and choose to repeat. However, it is just good parenting to discipline a child who engages in age inappropriate rhetoric. When I was a kid, which wasn’t extremely long ago, kids who dropped the F-BOMB got a mouthful of soap, a slap in the face, or both. Also, when at home, how about you don’t let your child watch E!’s latest episode of the Simple Life or MTV reality trash? And when it comes to a 4th grader wearing provocative clothing, the last time I checked, 4th graders COULDN’T drive themselves to the mall, whip out THEIR credit card or checkbook and pay for whatever clothes THEY wanted. Although you may not be literally dressing your children once they reach a certain age, you still retain a great deal of pull when it comes to what they wear. If you don’t like it, DON’T BUY IT FOR THEM! And if you happen to have a child that is of driving and working age, if they want to buy the latest Chanel, Gucci, or Fendi slut-skirt, make them work for that hefty purchase price. With that choice in mind, maybe they’d rather the parent pay for the clothes that their PARENT approves of.

All this comes down to the PARENT being the role model for their children, NOT the cover girl of the latest issue of US Weekly. I’m sure the parents in the article I read that were interviewed were upstanding citizens and, in their own respects, GOOD PARENTS. But, like the other Americans who wish to sue people who of all things serve them HOT coffee, or explain that their 12 year old axe-murdered his best friend because he saw an episode of Power Rangers, these parents are looking for a SCAPEGOAT.  I am not a parent. But, I know that I would NEVER let my hypothetical 9 year old daughter walk out of MY house wearing anything revealing, too flashy, or provocative. As much as modern-day parenting stresses the child’s needs and letting them be expressive, there is a line that must be drawn and times when a foot should just be put down. Although this line is continually being pushed further and further back, parents can at least TRY and remember where it used to be. Parent your children, and know and dictate what their needs are. There are many SEXUAL PREDATORS who prey on young girls, but don’t serve your daughter up on a silver platter wearing something that would make a dime-store hooker gasp. And stop blaming the media that you, in one way or another, are exposing your children to.

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