So what’s the deal with today’s role models?
Some of the most buzzed about artists in Hollywood – including Rihanna, Chris Brown, Eminem, Kim Kardashian, Wiz Khalifa, and Kendra Wilkinson, to name a few – seem to be sending the wrong message to our youth.
Or am I just getting old?
- Rihanna & Chris Brown:
After R&B superstar Chris Brown brutally beat Rihanna in 2009, he was sentenced to five years probation and six months of community service.
One would assume his career would be over and Rihanna would never speak to him again.
The couple have not only rekindled, their careers are red-hot and they’ve been spotted all over Instagram smoking marijuana in bed together.
Eminem, who is arguably one of this generation’s most talented hip hop artists, breaks my heart with his inspirational story of childhood neglect and abuse, only to become one of the most successful rappers of all time.
He has proven to be an amazing father and has even spoken out on gay rights, saying same sex couples should have the right to marry. And while his movie 8 Mile and its theme song Lose Yourself are a true testament to his inspirational story and talent, I’m downright disgusted at his oppressive and violent lyrics.
While he commonly calls women sluts, hos and bitches, Shady’s lyrics in Superman have me outraged and on the verge of a full-on boycott. “Put Anthrax on a Tampax and slap you till you can’t stand,” he raps. And that’s just a sample of what he says in his catchy tunes.
- Kim Kardashian:
There’s no arguing her stunning beauty. But mom-to-be Kim Kardashian certainly leaves me wondering about today’s society, considering she’s one of the world’s most famous women.
Here’s someone who has shot to fame after a sex tape and subsequent reality TV shows. She had an over-the-top wedding to a relatively unknown NBA star, Kris Humphries, and filed for divorce 72 days later. The brunette beauty is now expecting her first child in July – while still married to Humphries – with her new beau, rap superstar Kanye West.
Call me old fashioned, but in my day if a sex tape was leaked, career options seemed limited to the porn industry.
- Wiz Khalifa:
Hip hop artist Wiz Khalifa is pumping out hit after hit with the likes of Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars, and he’s got a baby on-the-way with model Amber Rose.
The 25-year-old hitmaker keeps his 9.4 million Twitter fans updated on his daily marijuana usage, and proudly states that he will continue smoking once the baby arrives.
- Kendra Wilkinson:
And what about Kendra Wilkinson? After rising to fame from being a Playboy model and one of Hugh Hefner’s main girlfriends, Kendra is now a full-on reality star, with a growing empire of workout DVDs and a best-selling book.
Not to mention, she has a successful marriage to former NFL player Hank Baskett and they have one of the most beautiful babies in Hollywood, “Little Hank.”
- Lena Dunham:
Hollywood’s ‘It Girl’ Lena Dunham, The Girls creator and star, recently spoke out about taking pride in her high-profile position.
“[Being a role model] is amazing,” she said. “It’s an amazing thing and it’s like, it’s a platform that you have to take seriously.”
She went on to discuss fellow high-profile role models, Rihanna and Chris Brown.
“Which is why sometimes it’s like I used to be really into Rihanna, that popstar, and then it’s like again, I don’t want to ever throw stones from my glass house, but I follow her on Instagram and I just think about how many little girls beyond what I could even comprehend are obsessed with Rihanna,” she shared. “Like you know, she left Barbados, she’s had this amazing career, she’s won a Grammy.
“She’s talented. And then she gets back together with Chris Brown and posts a million pictures of them smoking marijuana together on a bed,” she added. “And it cracks my heart in half in a way that makes me feel like I’m 95 years old.”
When it comes down to it, Hollywood is simply a high-profile mini society. And unfotunately, there are some that represent all that is wrong with society at large.
While it seems outrageous that Rihanna rekindling with her abuser, this is a classic case of battered women’s syndrome for the world to see. Look within your own social circle – Do you know anyone that continues to stay in an abusive relationship? Women that have been abused think the violence was somehow their fault, and they often try to ‘take care’ or protect their abuser.
Rihanna grew up with an abusive father, and in an interview with Rolling Stone she spoke on the cycle of abuse.
“I actually feel really bad for my father,” Rihanna said. “He was abused too – he got beat up by his stepdad when he was young. He has resentment toward women, because he felt like his mom never protected him, and unfortunately, my mother was the victim of that. I’m not giving him excuses. Right is right and wrong is wrong. I still blame him. But I understand the source.”
Eminem’s lyrics represent that violence against women and an underlying acceptance of sexism is still present in our society. Calling women bitches and hos and threatening violence against our gender is not as shocking as it should be.
Wiz Khalifa’s tweets showing daily marijuana intake and glamorizing pot culture gives our youth an unrealistic ideal of the world. ‘Look ma, I can smoke weed all day and make millions with a supermodel girlfriend by my side’…said no one, ever.
And we’ve all seen people sell out and compromise their integrity, like Kim and Kendra, only to reach success, popularity and fortune.
So what can we learn from today’s high-profile role models? And how can we make this a teachable moment/conversation with our kids?