A role model can be an important part of a young person’s life.
Someone they can look up to as their moral compass through many of life’s crossroads and dilemmas. Unfortunately, sometimes that very role model can also easily let you down through their past or recent actions.
Due to their heightened exposure to the masses, celebrities are prime targets for role model status, even though we usually let them get away with a lot more than what should be allowed.
Chuck Berry, known as the father of rock-n-roll, had a rap sheet that included armed robbery and sex offences. John Wayne, arguably the most famous western-genre actor of all time, was quoted in an old interview giving racist and homophobic remarks.
These stories appear all the time. One more recent case was of rapper Cardi B, a once idolized feminist icon, and her recent admission to drugging and robbing clients during her time as an exotic dancer.
The problem is that we idolize these people for working in an industry that often thrives on shame making it extremely hard to become “disgraced.”
Take Woody Allen, one of the most influential directors of the past few decades, for example. Someone looking to one day sit in the director’s chair may idolize his work and talent but also completely ignore the decades-long allegations surrounding both his biological and adopted daughters.
The age old adage that no publicity is bad publicity has reached a fever pitch in the social media era when media content is being churned out at a staggering rate. If a celebrity screws up, it can easily get lost in a sea of other news tweets and Facebook posts.
There are so many other deserving people that are not pop culture celebrities to look up to.
For example, Malala Yousifazi, who survived an attempt on her life, is an outspoken
advocate for female rights and education in the Middle East, where female rights are almost
non-existent. Another example is Nikola Tesla, who single-handedly revolutionized our way of life through his design of the modern alternating current electric supply system.
What about writer Mary Shelley, who basically breathed life into the science fiction genre
with her story Frankenstein?
It doesn’t even need to be a real person you can look up to. Fictional characters like
Wonder Woman and Spider-Man have become new role models for many children due
to their heroic nature, strength and will to do what’s right in the face of danger.
Regardless of gender or race, a role model should show passion and inspiration through their work and transfer that passion to others while demonstrating a clear set of values. It can be hard to find a person like this in an industry that strives on shamelessness and bad behaviour.
Reporter/Photographer for Chesterville Record and Eastern Ontario Agrinews. Currently working on Record segment, “Chilling Tales from Beyond”