The problem in social media is that it has a tendency to embellish the odd. Controversial issues are viral. Serial killers become famous. Rape victims become instant movie icons. The actress with the drug problem is more talked about than the actress who has her head on straight. The social badass kid gets more attention than the kid who is an achiever. There are always exceptions to this tendency though, but most of the time the person who stands out more than others, are the ones who manufacture drama. Sad truth is, if a certain star does something good, it takes a troop of PR professionals to put it into the mainstream media. But if that star gets into trouble, or if something tragic happens, it would be all over the celebrity gossip sites in a matter of minutes (or seconds, thanks to Twitter and Instagram.) More advertisement means more people buying it. The more it’s being talked about the more it becomes famous. And famous is what’s “in” and our young ones think it’s all acceptable. It’s because they are remarkably different, and so as our beloved pop stars.
Almost every young pop singers or bands nowadays are famous for dressing provocatively and singing lyrics that convey adult subjects like love, sex and violence. It’s somehow a big issue for an adult to behave in this manner, but is it okay for teens and tweens? Interview any teen pop singer and they will claim they are empowering young people by setting an example to them that they can be anything and do anything. There is completely nothing wrong about encouraging the youth about loving and being themselves. Pop artists have all the means to influence their followers. But, are they really helping them?
Let’s take Miley Cyrus as an example, real name Destiny Hope Cyrus. She is known as the lead role in the famous Disney Channel TV series Hannah Montana. She started as a sweet, wholesome young actress and was idolized by many young kids like her. She maintained a decent career all throughout her teenage years. Until recently, when she turned 21, not much of a rebellious age, she generated controversy in a sexually explicit public image while promoting her fourth album Bangerz (2013). In the album there’s “We Can’t Stop”, where she dressed herself as a flirty teddy bear as if to show her transition from wholesome to sensual. Also there’s “Wrecking Ball” where she rides a wrecking ball naked like a carousel. Her music videos became instantly viral because it’s sexually provocative, totally different from the Miley Cyrus they used to know. Is it because of her breakup with Liam Hemsworth that she decided to let loose? However, most of her fans still follow her absurd ways.
Then here comes Justin Bieber who recently had been in a double legal trouble. Last January 23 early this year, he was arrested for drag racing with R&B singer Khalil Sharieff, after police spotted them racing two luxury cars on a residential street at 4.09 AM local time, with two other vehicles who are seems to be used to hunk off the area. He was then charged by Miami Beach police for driving under the influence, resisting arrest without violence and driving with an expired Georgia driver’s license. He once again spiced things up a bit by smiling on his first ever mug shot in Miami-Dade County jail. After being released he was then faced with an assault charge in his hometown, Canada. He admits that he has been smoking a ton of pot constantly and taking prescription drugs. He ignores his mother’s plea to go to rehab, says he doesn’t need it.
Sadly, but these pop singers are handing over a negative idea that the young should embrace misery as a way to be different. They are showing examples of how young women should exploit their sexuality even if it results in being a pedophile’s wet dream or a victim of rape. They demonstrate to young men that it’s okay to get intoxicated by alcohol, and drugs. Swearing and assaulting people is just a norm. Most of their songs broadcast too much kissing, nudity and lust that make the listeners to think that sex is like a candy freely given to every fling. Hence, children sing along as 50 Cent sings “Candy Shop”. A song that is so innocent looking and is catchy to the kids they will think the song is just all about that. (It talks about sex by the way.) Many other songs like Justin Timberlake’s “Strawberry Bubblegum, John Mayer’s “Your Body is a Wonderland” and more other singers use candy words and children’s story-related lyrics to attract those innocent young viewers/ listeners.
They are passing on a large influence to everyone, especially to the young. Did you know? Study shows that kids as young as 5 years old are mimicking the provocative behavior of inadequately dressed pop stars? They learn to pout and thrust by watching music videos. At school prom, there were junior primary school students who were also dancing “exotically” in an attempt to copy their music idols – including Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Kylie Minogue. They commit into relationship flings because Taylor Swift does very good in making love songs about her past relationships. For the innocent viewers, it’s acceptable and cool to stick out your tongue to everything because Miley Cyrus does it and she’s famous. For the guys, they think its okay to wave a middle finger to everyone who pisses them off because that’s how Justin Bieber does to his annoying paparazzi.
These pop stars may be setting a bad influence more than they are empowering the youth. Thinking of it in a different perspective though, as wise citizens and mentors of the future generation, we should look at these young troubled pop stars as a big screen picture of how the youth will be if they continue making wrong decisions. Let them realize the right and the wrong. Let them know that some people walk down the paths forged by others, just to try them on for size, and some discard them for a trail they blaze on their own. Encourage them to be remarkably different, in a good manner.