Why We Need To Stop Calling Celebs ‘Role Models’
Leave our girls alone.
Welcome to the new age celeb: a woman in control of her narrative, feisty, political and unapologetic. This woman is inspiring not because of her mistakes, but despite them. She owns up to her past with sheer confidence. What’s not to like? Apparently, a lot.
Women celebrities have been treated unfairly since the beginning of celebrity culture. Their achievements are diminished, their bodies are scrutinized, they are slut-shamed, and they pitted against each other. Now, we can add, blaming them for the demise of their relationships.
Since the news broke that Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth split, social media has run rampant with stories slating Miley as the responsible party. It seems that some fans who grew up with the then-squeaky-clean Disney Channel star, cannot blame her and her past enough, for the breakup. It has become acceptable to drudge up Miley’s history with drugs, partying, past relationships and cheating, as potential reasons for the split.
When things reached their peak last week, Miley hit back with a slew of Tweets, “I can accept that the life I’ve chosen means I must live completely open and transparent with my fans who I love, and the public, 100% of the time. What I cannot accept is being told I’m lying to cover up a crime I haven’t committed. I have nothing to hide.”
She went on to list every indiscretion she has ever been accused of, “It is no secret that I was into partying in my teens and early ‘20s. I have not only smoked but advocated for weed, I’ve experimented with drugs, my biggest song to date is about dancing on molly and snorting lines in the bathroom/I fucked up and cheated in relationships when I was young.” So why do we still not believe this woman who is honest enough to air her dirty laundry on social media? Why can’t we just back off, let the ‘role model’ label go and, let her live?
The truth is, we as fans and the general public, say that we are unhappy with the perfection we see on social media, but then condemn celebrities for not being the perfect ‘role models’ we expect. Could it be that we are imposing the same standards of perfection on these celebrities, that we struggle with ourselves? We recognize that women are upheld to unrealistic standards, but because celebs have money, status and success, it somehow became acceptable to tear them apart. These women chose careers and arguably, fame, but it was us that began to call them ‘role models’ and maybe, it is time to stop.
Taylor Swift’s new hit ‘The Man’, from her latest album Lover, describes the double-standards she still experiences in her career and personal life. The lyrics, “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can/Wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man/And I’m so sick of them coming at me again/’Cause if I was a man, then I’d be the man,” highlights not only the bashing Swift gets on a daily basis, but how she will no longer accept the abuse handed to her by the patriarchy.
After all, the complexities, mistakes and raw imperfections of these celebs allow for the creation of interesting art. To stifle them of these imperfections and, to insist that they uphold this image as ‘role models’, is not only unfair but archaic and hypocritical. Both Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift have demonstrated this past week that they will be themselves unapologetically, and if we don’t like it, we can lump it. Now that’s inspiring!