How Celebrity Fashion Affects Teen’s Self Image
Teenagers often turn to their favorite celebrities for guidance in their everyday lives. Celebrities have become mainstream role models for teens as their images and lifestyles are normally advertised across television, movies, magazines, and all throughout pop culture. Teens that try to emulate their favorite celebrities may select good or bad role models that can be positive or negative for them (www. child. net). Problems with teens linked to celebrities include teen behaviors resulting in celebrity influence and self esteem and body image issues for teens.
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Celebrity fashion also plays a role in the behavior of teenagers. It can make a teen look older than he/she really is and can even make them self conscious. In 1998, the Canadian Council on Social Development did a study that concluded the number of girls that “have confidence in themselves” dropped steadily from 72% in grade six to 55% in grade 10. They also said that one out of three girls changed something about their appearance to resemble a character on television (Media Awareness Network).
For example, whenever a girl is watching television and she sees a video of her favorite celebrity wearing a provocative outfit, the first thought that comes to her mind is that she wants to be like her. Younger girls even go to the extent of looking older to emulate their favorite celebrity. Throughout the years, the fashion industry has begun to use younger and younger models, now even presenting pre teens as if they were women (Media Awareness Network). If one were to flip through a fashion magazine today, they would find young ladies dressed in women-like clothing that are more likely to be imitated by young girls.
Not only do media outlets portray celebrities to young people, but electronics play a part as well; music being the key factor. Music that a celebrity creates also influences a teen’s behavior. If one were to listen to an artist whose music is full of profanity and vulgar language, more than likely that teen will follow what that artist is promoting. For example, a lot of young girls today look up to the musician Nicki Minaj; some even think of her as the hip hop version of Lady Gaga, another well known teen idol.
If the teens that look up to her as a role model were to hear one of her songs full of sexually explicit lyrics, then that young girl would think that its okay to do those acts because she wants to be just like her. Artists use music as a portal to reach out to their fans, but what they fail to realize is that some of those fans take their lyrics to the heart. In some of their music, they even talk about how they prefer their women or men to be a certain skin complexion, wear certain labels, or even be a certain size.
Just by hearing these preferences, some teens may feel as if they aren’t good enough so they may attempt to change themselves to feel as if they meet their favorite celebrities’ standards. One study reports that at age thirteen, 53% of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies. ” This grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen (National Institute of Media and Health). There are many different reasons why young people are forced to be influenced by celebrities. One of the main reasons is because they feel as if celebrities understand them better than anyone else, especially their parents.
Teens normally like to have a role model they can turn to for how to dress, look and act. They think that if were as thin as some of them, then that particular outfit would look great on them. What they actually fail to realize, is that some of those celebrities go to extreme measures as far as starving themselves to look that way. The National Eating Disorder Association keeps statistics on the dieting habits of young women. Data shows 42 percent of sixth through ninth grade girls say that they want to be thinner, and 81 percent of the 13-year old girls are afraid of being fat.
More than half of 13 and 14-year old girls said they feel better about themselves if they were on a diet (Miller 1). That statistic in itself should be a red flag to all celebrities, young and old. The image that they are sending to America’s youngest generation is both unhealthy and safe. Celebrities themselves must take the initiative to educate young women about ridiculous dieting. Coming from someone who is idolized by the younger generation will have a greater impact on teens that are struggling with body issues.