Teens and the Hollywood Money-Making Machine

Most of you know my shtick buy now. My opinions are conservative regarding certain television shows, teen celebrities, and what I consider to be infractions to our values and social decorum by some Hollywood artists and their parents.

For a little over two years, I've been writing here and at www.TheWrap.com about young Hollywood's outrageous transgressions which hit the media all too regularly. One-time teen A-listers like Lindsay Lohan, Brittney Spears, Chris Brown, and now Miley Cyrus and Alexis Neires of the boorish reality TV show “Pretty Wild” have made headlines with their indecent exposure and entitled behavior. We've all read or seen them on the television gossip shows showing up drunk, jailed, or wearing overly provocative clothes for their age and likely rolled our eyes at them dismissing them as superficial and inconsequential to our common existence.

My take on this is a little different.

Some  messages are obvious like fashion, music, hair styles or cosmetics. Others are subliminal and more difficult to pin point, but famous adolescents do have an effect on the younger set who look up to them because they are prominent.

Simply take a look at five year olds wearing the signature Hannah Montana tutus; or sit at a school assembly where elementary kids are singing and dancing to Lady Gaga songs with inappropriate lyrics and related dance moves.  To me, these are the disconcerting consequences of Hollywood's influence on our kids.


I've pointed out a few of these unpleasant famous teens' behaviors here and on my posts at TheWrap.com.  I've also been keeping track of some of the comments readers have made on the posts where I discuss these topics. I must admit it's reassuring to know others share my opinions, but sometimes I am taken aback by some of them.  Not because I can't take a disparate view, that's always expected, but I am stunned at some of the thoughts and reasons for disagreeing with my evaluation of certain teen celebrity scandals.

The following comment was left on the post titled “Incredible Trifecta of Tarts” at TheWrap.com where I object to the pressing trend to over sexualize our little girls. In this post I discussed the Single Ladies 7- year-old little dancers' YouTube video, Miss USA's pole dancing, and the endless  news about Teen Queen of Skank Miley Cyrus:

 “Actually, Suzette's credibility is mostly undermined by her clear lack of having examined the issues surrounding sex and coming of age. She is just giving us her kneejerk reaction.

Have you asked yourself why the marriage age in the U.S. isn't 13, when biologically girls that age can have babies? Is it that in a technologically advanced society we need kids to put off sex to finish their education? Is it that because our culture celebrates personal choice, it's recognized that kids who are 13 are, on average, not good at making very good long term choices? Is it that most teen marriages end in divorce?

The age of consent in the U.K. is 16 years old. Why is it O.K. for 16 year olds to have sex in the U.K., but in the U.S the government will hunt you down and put you in jail if you do? These are the question that deserve discussion instead of giving kneejerk reactions to what age it's O.K. for Disney princess' to be sexy.”


Before going off on this commenter,  let me qualify my rants blogs as defined on-line: A blog is a personal web log or diary. Blogs by nature are biased personal opinions based on a personal experience or reaction. Unlike a journalist, a blogger is free to express an opinion and  doesn't have to offer both sides of  an issue.

Now, addressing this particular comment I'd like to say that we don't live in Europe nor are we affixed to Latin America or the UK. US social norms are different from theirs for a reason. This country was founded on different viewpoints from theirs, and have been aggregated over time to define our present social conduct and moral fabric. (That our values have become distorted by greed is another issue entirely and one which might merit another post, but I'll leave it at this for now.)

I found this comment downright mortifying and sickening that it's author's most important issue with me is if the legal age of sexual consent should be lowered!

The particular post I'm referring to touched on three different age groups: seven year old dancers dressed in burlesque outfits; a 17 year old nubile temptress, and a (young) adult in her early 20s who was selected as Miss USA, a beauty pageant focused on choosing a role model for young American girls.

All three subjects were splattered all over the media not for their virtues or talent, but because something about their particular actions was not quite up to standard. The standard which prompted the media to bring them to the forefront,  in my view,  was on the low end of it.

Why would they have been newsworthy otherwise?

Since commenter's can post their thoughts anonymously it seems more and more readers are embolden by this, and are expressing their opinions about how minor celebs behaving badly are nothing to worry about. Some simply write to me that the only thing we need to do to keep our kids at a safe distance from imitating those stars' crazy behaviors (dressing, singing, dancing and living like them)  is to turn off the television set and shut down the laptop (all typos and grammar as per original comment):

“Who cares what Miss USA did in her past… It is not like her “talent” that she performed to win the pageant was stripping. So a pretty girl participated in (stupid, sexist) pretty girl contests, including a racy one. Um, so? It isn't as though she was in Penthouse magazine doing so and intended for those photos to be distributed all over the Internet. Participating may not have been the best choice, but look on Facebook and you'll see people doing all sorts of things that they probably shouldn't make public for the sake of their future careers. The Miss America pageant is antiquated anyway- and if anyone really lets those girls serve as role models for their children, it is pretty sad. In my opinion, this is totally a different case than parents tarting up their kids or babies or even a (barely) underage Miley Cyrus having a racy video. Parents need to take responsibility for parenting their own kids in their homes and stop blaming the media for corrupting those kids- get rid of the TV and Internet if you think it is such a dangerous thing. Or, better yet, teach your kids to sort out the trash for themselves and see bad examples as precisely that- a bad example NOT to emulate.”

Is it actually this easy?

 I wish it were.  Then I nor anyone else (like Perez Hilton) would have any fodder for the media, right?

Lilly is a teen blogger and writes at www.RachelJSimmons.com. She's keenly aware about young celebrities and how they fail as role models, but how never the less we never fail to turn to them as such:

“I guess that’s the point I’m trying to make. Celebrities mess up, a lot. So really, I’m disappointed in us. I’m disappointed in us for turning to celebrities again and again, hoping to see them say the right things. But they never fail to remind us that an actress or a supermodel, a role model does not make…”

She's absolutely right.

We look to celebrities as role models  because they are used by the media to send messages directly to the public based on trust – they're placed in spots representing everything from charities, to health products, political views and clothes.

One day we like Sally Fields, the next she's telling us to take Boniva for our bones.

As adults, we know public figures are getting paid to make certain ads and many times Hollywood does put its influence towards very good causes and makes positive use of the worldwide attention it enjoys. But, it gets confusing for kids, and maybe even for some parents, when teen celebs who have TV shows on children's networks hold a concert to raise money for cancer (a very good thing),  but are also blasted in the media for wearing clothes that are too revealing for their age (check out this photo of ex-Hannah Montana Miley and beware!).

My point is clearly spelled out for you in pictures; it's come full circle judging by the Single Ladies little dancers outfits and them imitating their teen counterpart /role model's dance moves.

Getting back to another commenter on my posts about how I get worked up when these types of events hit the news, I guess I'm the minority making noise about these teen icons' impropriety and their parents lack of propriety!

Young Hollywood and their permissible parents keep setting bad examples for kids, teens and their parents who are losing touch with reality because they are watching teen superstar's  omnipresent moves  in the media which gives the impression that it's OK to behave in this manner. Unless we move to the nearest mountain top, being part of mainstream society will keep exposing us and our kids to the over sexualized behaviors of minor celebrities.

So the problem is not with our TV dials or computers as the commenter wrote, it's with the source of the problem; irresponsible parenting in an over indulgent celebrity-driven society.

Showcasing the arts: Music, acting, creating, dancing, and performing in general don't have to include minors in semi-pornographic gear or over the top suggestive gestures to be considered a success. If the focus were on the more valuable aspect of the arts and presenting the beauty and level of talent in a tasteful way, then the creativity in teen or other underage celebrities would be influencing real budding artists, not the Hollywood money-making machine.

The day we stop measuring success by how famous a young performer is, or how many possessions teen celebs' money can buy, or reporting on celebs' shopping sprees and the size of their adoring audiences, that'll be the time we'll be able to co-exist in a celebrity-driven environment  where pop-culture stands alone and doesn't cross over to our impressionable youngsters' mores.
So am I overreacting to all this?

I hope not.

In the meantime, I must say I do partially agree with the comment about turning off the TV. Summer is no time to tune into the mindless Hollywood repertoire of shows like “Pretty Wild” or “Downfall.” I read too much into these titles and in my view they are a crude reminder of the environment that produces this nonsense.


  1. Anonymous says:

    You are spot on! Great response to your critic!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lynnee, If we don't advocate for our little girls, who will. Hollywwood? I think not. And reading comments like the ones on this post doesn't reassure us that this scuzy behavior will end… quite the opposite, I think.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Just bookmarked, the post is too long and I'll be back to read it all… thanks for the post and goodluck!

  4. Anonymous says:

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  5. Anonymous says:

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