Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Wanna Be Famous!

This post was inspired by this tweet from Paddy Duffy:

My answer was that shows like the X-factor, American Idol, etc - all make me despair a little bit for the *cue old-woman phrase* youth of today. I've watched countless audition shows, watched countless young people line up for hours, full of nerves, to be judged by four people. FOUR. They put all hopes of future happiness onto this one audition - if it's good, they are ecstatic. If it's bad, they're heartbroken. They stand there, and let four other human beings determine if they're good enough to be judged by yet more people. It doesn't sound too attractive when you put it that way, does it? An awful lot of the applicants for shows like this are teenagers - the same kind of teenagers that fill their Tumblr with angsty quotes.

Don't get me wrong. I understand the power of editing. I understand that basically, these shows aren't about changing the lives of ordinary people, they're about making money. They're entertainment. I understand that in the end, the most talented person usually wins out. I GET that. What I don't get, and haven't for a long time now, is the sheer amount of people who have one sole aim in life: To be famous.

I remember asking a friend's 6-year-old daughter* what she wanted to be when she grew up, and she said "Hannah Montana". A fictional character who has her own TV show and colossal catalogue of merchandise. Fair enough - you want to be a pop star. But what happens if you can't sing? What happens if you don't look the part? What happens if you don't get your big break? What are your alternatives? Is there ANYONE out there for young kids to look up to as role models? Take TV "stars", "reality" celebrities, and anyone in the music industry out of the equation, and who are you left with?

YouTube is another major influence in shaping the type of adults these young fame-hungry kids become. For every Justin Bieber, Alexis Jordan, or Christina Grimmie that gets discovered and signed, there are a thousand other young boys and girls sitting at home in their bedroom, posting videos of themselves singing or dancing, and being subjected to the most disgusting abuse by nameless, faceless trolls who seem to have one mission in life - to destroy the self-confidence of others. We've all seen it. What's their excuse? "You posted the video, you deserve what you get." I'm not pretending to be holier-than-thou here - we've all seen the odd video and thought - what the hell?! - I'm not talking about those ones. I'm talking about the ones where young teenagers are putting themselves out there in a bid to be the next big thing, and they're getting laughed at, mocked, bullied, cursed at, called every name under the sun, and left to read horrible, hateful comments that destroy their self-confidence and make them feel like crap. Hardly the desired effect.

What I want to ask today is, where are the positive role models for these kids? Those really bad singers, the really bad auditions that we all laugh at, where are their support systems? Who are these kids talking to? Or are they talking to anyone? You have to wonder why nobody tells the "bad auditionees" the truth. Or maybe they do - and the kids are just so determined to have fame and fortune that they don't want to hear it. Either way, it's a hard lesson to learn - to be told you're crap publicly, in front of millions, doesn't do much for someone's self esteem. I'd warrant a guess that a lot of these people are of the Internet generation - the ones who turn to websites rather than to their families and friends.

Here's where you come in. If you are a parent, an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, a sister, a brother, or a friend, and you know someone who "wants to be famous", then please - do all you can to be a good role model for that person. Teach them something you wish you'd been taught. If you are the one on the receiving end of the hate, then ask yourself - are you going to let someone hiding behind a ridiculous username on a screen dictate what you feel like? Don't stand for it. Report abusive comments, block abusive users, stand up for yourself and for what you believe in. If you're genuinely upset, worried or scared by something you read online, confide in someone. Don't go it alone.

I hate the thought that too many young people are crying themselves to sleep at night because their desire to be well-known and loved has resulted in teasing, taunting, mocking and bullying. If you see it happening, report it. It's time to take the internet back from the trolls, people. I can't believe I'm going to quote Dr. Phil, but here you go: "It takes a thousand 'atta boys' to make up for one 'you're no good' comment." Wouldn't it be nice if we could all throw around a few more 'atta boy's.

And that, my friends, is my very longwinded (what's new), rambly, roundabout way of telling you how certain TV shows have changed the way I think about the world.

S xx

* When I asked my 7-year-old what he wanted to be, he said he didn't know. I asked him if he wanted to be famous and he replied "No way, that'd be crap. I'd have to sign loads of autographs. Too much writing." Atta boy.


  1. great post totally agree with you, what ever happened to "I want to be a Doctor" or " I want to be a Fireman" there is far too much crap on tv now, even though i watch some of it myself. When I grow up I want to work at the White House with Martin Sheen as president.


  2. Absolutely spot on post, I agree with you 100%.

    Haha Dee, you'll have to fight me for that job in Martin Sheen's White House.

  3. I watch some of it too - it's hard to find a tv show now that doesn't involve judgement of some kind! Haha brilliant career choice, ladies :)

    Thanks a mill for reading & commenting x

  4. Great post, agree with you 100%. Do you remember there was a fad for asking the question 'would you rather be rich or famous'? Back in my school days we could never understand why you'd pick famous - surely being rich meant all the perks and none of the invasion. But suddenly it seems like everyone wants their share of the limelight and I bet if I asked that question of my 11 year old niece's friends, they'd all depressingly rather be famous than rich...

  5. God Emma that's right!!! I always picked rich too! I think a lot of it is to do with how accessible famous people are now - I remember back in the day you had to join a fan club by post to find out about pop singers, sure now it's all instant online! I'd hate to be famous, could you imagine never being able to do what you want again? Not worth it! Thanks a million for reading & commenting x

  6. Agree with this post - we need some more decent role models for small children <3

  7. We do indeed Nemo, there aren't many around now! Thanks a mill for reading & commenting x


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