Do celebrities have ethical responsibilities to set good examples for young people? Young people nowadays need role models more than they ever needed before. We can see that crimes rates involving youngsters are increasing worldwide. One of the possible causes is that parents are more consumed with their careers and their children are left unsupervised throughout the day. Young people spend their leisure time watching movies, updating themselves on the latest trends and gossip concerning celebrities. With the publicity surrounding the celebrities, it is not a surprise that they are the number one choice as role models.
Celebrities are well-known people who work hard to entertain us and by doing so they catch the public eye because of their fabulous talent. They work hard to give their best impression and earn a lot of money doing what they love. Some celebrities get too engrossed in their art that they cannot differentiate what is real anymore yet young people still aspire to be like them.
Youngsters are too fascinated by their idols that they sometimes get carried away, thinking that all celebrities are perfect role models, they try to walk like them, speak like them and act like them. The reality is celebrities are not the ideal role models for young people. Celebrities do not have ethical responsibilities to set good examples for young people because acting or singing is just profession, they are in the spotlight causes the media put them there and they are also human beings who are prone to make mistakes. Who are celebrities? What makes them extra special as compared to us? Celebrities are those who have a prominent presence and profile which commands a great deal of public fascination and admiration. Celebrity status is usually associated with various careers within two most popular fields namely the entertainment industry and the sports arena. Celebrities are those who are easily recognized by the general public for their individual talents. A perfect example would be the King of Pop himself. He is none other than Michael Jackson. He became famous for his talent in singing and dancing.
With the passing years not only his fame rose but also the numbers of his fan following. Being a celebrity indirectly puts you in a situation where others look upon you as their idol or role model. There is something that we need to understand clearly before coming to the conclusion that celebrities have ethical responsibilities to set good examples for young people. These celebrities did not achieve fame and success because of their moral values and religious beliefs; they became famous due to their talent. Celebrities are people too, they have wants and needs just like every other person. They also have the right to live their life the way they want to. So why are we judging them and expect them to behave in a certain manner that is deemed ethical in the public eyes? Fame is considered to be a blessing and a burden at the same time. Fred Allen who was an American comedian quoted that “A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized”. ( Fred Allen, 2012).
This is a bitter truth as once you’re a celebrity; your life is put under the microscope. Everything you do is judged by the media and public. Due to their fame and success, the behavior of celebrities undoubtedly has a significant effect on the public especially the younger generation. However, these people are examples of success in a specific role, and may not be the best choice for instilling moral values. For example if you inspire to be a pop star then you would look up to a pop singer like Britney Spears and Katy Perry. The reason why you look up to them is definitely not because of their behavior, moral values or upbringing. The main reason is their individual talent and in this case it is their talent in singing and performing. If you want someone with good moral values and behavior then you should select a motivational talker such as Deepak Chopra or Dr Phil since they are experts in their field. As human beings we have a great gift and that gift is the gift of making choices. We have a choice on who we want our role model to be and we should not impose a forced responsibility on celebrities.
After all they are merely human just like us so who are we to impose such demands from them? In this digital era, it is not difficult to find information about celebrities. All sorts of information are up for public to read and observe, no matter how personal it is. Even private addresses of stars have been posted in both gossip columns and traditional media outlets like USA Today. As we all know, celebrities are in the spotlight because of the media. Celebrities make news all the time. And when you have two birds of the same feather, you can only expect bigger news. From an article Donna Freydkin implies that, readers go to the tabloids for whatever information about their favorite artists. Almost all Most of the information comes from an unknown source, whose may not be credible. For instance, former child stars-turned-designer duo Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen turned 26 years old this year. Following their acting debut as infants, the twins appeared together in a variety of TV, film and video projects throughout their child and teenage years.
Through their company Dual Star, the Olsen’s branched out into fashion and has become one of the wealthiest women in the entertainment industry. Mary-Kate Olsen has usually been seen with her twin, Ashley Olsen. Few people view them as distinct individuals. However, Mary-Kate Olsen likes to prove that she and her sister are different. They have been labeled as the weird twins, anorexic and bulimic people and many more. From what has been posted by the media, the public tend to come up with a thought that they are a bad influence for them and the rest of the generation. In a personal interviewed, they once pointed out that they do not like mixing their fame and business with personal matters. They find it awkward to be associated with fame at times. They prefer staying out of the lime light when they are not at work. After reading this statement, we would probably have different perception about them. I think it is up to the people to make decisions and not look in magazine or any sources to see how they should conduct themselves, but instead look inward and make those decisions on their own.
In other respects, celebrities do not have ethical responsibilities to set good examples for young people because they are human beings who are prone to make mistakes of their own. Every human being makes mistakes in their lives and it is practically impossible not to do so. Often we do not realize that celebrities are humans as well and therefore judgmental remarks, slander and defamation tend to float around by the smallest mistake that they have done. The only difference between a celebrity and any other human being is that their lives are under a microscope and any mistake that has been engaged in will be displayed throughout the world. People however should at least try to be conscious that nobody was made perfect and everyone should just learn how to accept one another. Aside from this, celebrities are entitled to everything they please because what is done in their personal lives are supposed to be private.
Celebrities do not attempt to portray their lifestyle in order to get the media instead they are pleading for their privacy. Michael Jackson, Privacy “You keep on stalking me, Invading my privacy, Won’t you just let me be, Cause your cameras can’t control, The minds of those who know, That you’ll even sell your soul, Just to get your story sold, I need my privacy.”(Michael Jackson, 2011). Frequently celebrities are not able to take a stroll in the park without being constantly hounded by the paparazzi. General public sometimes think that it is easy to live like celebrities just because they make more money than the average person. But rarely do they think about what sacrifices needed to be made such as giving up their own privacy because no matter what they do, there is no way for them to obtain it.
Having an idol or a person one admires in the celebrity word is acceptable and can be considered a norm but to what extend should people follow what is seen. This is where rationality, religious believe and cultural believe comes to play a role. Followers or supporters should have a clear conscience as to what is right and wrong according to one’s personal view. If a person were to engage in certain anti-moral activities then that particular person should be accountable for his/her actions. In summary, celebrities do not have ethical responsibilities to set good examples for young people. Celebrities are after all actors or singers who are out there to make a decent income. They are fortunate enough to be put in the limelight by the media. Gossip and slander that are portrayed in the media is not always true. The support of these gossips from the public encourages the media to create more stories about them.
Like all human beings, they are also prone to make mistakes. To be fair to them, they are entitled to think what is best for them, Just like everyone else. They should not have to worry about how their actions might affect the world. People should reason with themselves whether it is right to follow everything that they see in the media or choose to be influence by only the good actions. Just like anyone else, they need to make a living and by that they need to know what sells in the world. Never can anyone expect celebrities to be perfect human beings and ask them not to make any mistakes. Being famous does not make them good examples for young men to emulate. While there are more good celebrities than bad ones, the negative ones will always outweigh the positive ones. What people fail to realize is that they are only human and are equally prone to making mistakes.
Michael Jackson, Rodney Jenkins, Fred Jenkins III, LaShawn Daniels and Bernard Bell.
(2011). Privacy “You keep on stalking me, Invading my privacy, Won’t you just let me
be, Cause your cameras can’t control, The minds of those who know, That you’ll even
sell your soul, Just to get your story sold, I need my privacy.”. Retrieved July 4, 2012,
Fred Allen. (2012, June 10) A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well
known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized. Retrieved July 4, 2012, from
Donna Freydkin. (2004, June 7). Celebrities fight for privacy. Retrieved July 4, 2012,