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All people deserve to change their life whenever they choose. The freedom of choice has not disappeared just because someone goes from making minimum wage to thousands of dollars a week. Teens are vulnerable at this time in their lives and can be influenced greatly, but their freedom of choice isn’t taken from them just because there are young celebrities making personal decisions. Although people believe celebrities hold a high level of responsibility in teaching values to younger generations, these celebrities got into the media business to flaunt their talents therefore a career change shouldn’t become a moral issue.
When people think of child stars they think of how lucky these children are; getting rich and famous for a talent they have or just by knowing certain celebrities. There was a time in each celebrity’s life when they were average people, and they would do what anyone else would do if they get paid large amounts of money for a specific talent; keep doing it. But as it is pointed out in many legend stories, too much money can change a person for the worse. In the words of Miley Cyrus “I was growing up, I didn’t even notice that I started making all this money. There’s something about new money that makes people change” (Blasberg). Child stars don’t create their own image for the public to see, that is what their managers do. Managers find an image to place these young stars into even if it doesn’t match them at all; it’s not about sharing the child’s values, it’s about what will make everyone involved the most money in the end. Unfortunately when these public images are made, the thought of the child getting older usually isn’t a topic that is thought about; just because they are made celebrities when they are young doesn’t mean they are immortal.
Celebrities who were able to express who they are from the start are truly the lucky ones. Lady Gaga made her own image from the moment she released her first single. She is an extremist who isn’t afraid of what people have to say against her, which ended up allowing people to accept her as a whole. “Gaga, after all, was never sold to us as an innocent tween role model, and so we expect her to behave like this: to push the envelope, to use one of the more euphemistic expressions available” (Purple). What the audience expects directly determines how they will react to a certain celebrity or performance, but the behavior they accept is different for every celebrity. There is no rule book of morals people depend on when watching TV or listening to the news gossip; the opinion of a celebrity has been drawn and they are not allowed to stray from what they are supposed to be. It is also difficult for celebrities to explain their bold behavior when the goal of the media today is still to entertain, but to also take advantage of celebrities’ mishaps at the same time. Performing at the VMAs for example, started out as a way to honor celebrities who have worked hard in pleasing the public and are granted a chance to wow the live audience with a performance but now it is for “the assembled media wait breathlessly to see who will produce an “OMG” moment that can be replayed on cable news and “Good Morning America” for the next week” (Lowry).
Teens are a large percentage of the audience watching these celebrities’ every move. A lot of these teens view these celebrities as the main idols in their lives, so when a celebrity chooses to change his image completely, it severely effects those teens who identified themselves by that celebrity’s previous image. Teens are vulnerable because they are in search of their identity as a person which leads directly to who they will become and “The power of the celebrity has taken control of these teens and ended with negative influences” (Gauna). With how the media has transformed from entertainment to the glorification of unhealthy habits like drug abuse, unprotected sex, and alcohol, it is not teens’ faults they accept these behaviors into their own lives. But “we’re not naive enough to imagine we can fail high school, make a sex tape that goes viral and then BAM a TV crew swoops in and all of a sudden we’re the stars of a hugely successful TV show. And we’re certainly not dumb enough to accept what we see on screen as the gospel truth” (Keogh).
It is unfortunate to think that the freedom of choice hasn’t come far enough. The value of choice has become undermined by society and the media taking hold of what they can to make the most money they can. The manipulation people are suffering from the media about what is acceptable is out of control. When the ability to choose what lifestyle one is going live is wrongfully taken away, it affects every aspect of one’s life. Most children are told any type of lifestyle is achievable if they try their best, but this advice has recently been distorted. Being watched or not, celebrities as well as teens deserve the benefit of the doubt as well as the freedom of choice of how to run their own lives.
The value of choice should be available for everyone. Freedom is for all people, not just to those who judge people they don’t personally know. Teens do have the ability to take control of their own life potential, if they choose. So when the blame is put on celebrities for forcing younger generations into a destructive lifestyle, these celebrities behave in a way that expresses themselves; they aren’t responsible for every teen watching.
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