As the American actress and singer Selena Gomez arrived in the UAE last week, fans were able to follow her every step in the country through the use of various social media channels, from her dinner reservations to her shopping sprees at the mall. In an online debate, readers discussed celebrity role models and whether they now have a greater responsibility to showcase good behaviour as everything they do spreads across the world in an instant.
16:06 Gulf News: Celebrities teach us wrong values as whenever they get in trouble, they gain more publicity, which suggests that doing the wrong thing is acceptable.
16:20 Maria Vincent: I absolutely agree, as many a time, the media likes to point fingers at the wrong things done by celebrities. While the wise can differentiate between what is right or wrong, the youth are blind followers, who can be attracted to bad behaviour like driving under the influence of alcohol. Many celebrities come under the spotlight, not for their albums or movies, but for the mistakes and crimes they commit.
16:11 Mariam Khawer: I partially agree as celebrities tend to get a free pass as compared to ‘regular’ people. Their ubiquitous presence in the media makes it nearly impossible to hide their personal antics behind their on-screen facades, therefore, their legions of followers tend to copy what their idols do as an act of reverence.
16:12 Maria Vincent: Some celebrities tend to indulge in crimes, thinking that doing wrong will get them famous. While some feel embarrassed later, those who justify their wrongdoings usually don’t.
16:15 Sandhya Shetty: We are the ones that create role models and if we can make them, then we can decide whether we really want to follow them. Learning good points and incorporating them is good but a bad precedence set by them should be ignored.
16:15 Maria Vincent: Celebrities are regular human beings but they should be more careful when they are scrutinised by many. Like everyone else, they too, have a responsibility to do good, but for celebrities to maintain an amiable image, that responsibility and their attitude towards it, controls their destiny.
16:16 Mariam Khawer: ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’, so their ‘regular’ somewhat questionable acts are often copied; therefore celebrities face a greater responsibility in projecting a good image of themselves to the world.
16:16 Sophy Aqeel: I partially agree that celebrities teach us wrong values when they get in trouble. They are people that are constantly scrutinised by the media, and so people are always talking about them whether they do good or bad. However, it is up to us, the people, whether we want to help them gain more publicity or not.
16:16 Gulf News: Celebrities are good role models because they encourage their fans to follow their dreams, irrespective of their limitations.
16:17 Maria Vincent: If you decide to be a teacher, you must understand the pros and cons of being one. Similarly, if you are to be a businessman, you should be ready to accept the profits and losses. The same goes for celebrities, they should understand their responsibilities.
16:20 Sandhya Shetty: We don’t need to have celebrities in our life as role models, instead, a family member or someone you know, can become your role model. Personally, I was never in this rat race as I believed in myself and so I never was, and never will be influenced by these so-called celebrities.
16:20 Maria Vincent: I don’t agree, as anybody who has good values, a charming personality and an appealing self, can be a role model. Many celebrities are self moulded and their success stories do encourage others and motivate their followers. But such success stories cannot always be followed. Who knows the truth?
16:22 Mariam Khawer: As far as the struggle to achieve their dreams go, yes, it’s true that they do teach us to continue against all odds. It’s only after they attain stardom that a few let the success go to their heads and deviate from being good role models. There are many celebrities who started out as regular people that now fit the description of ‘good girl or boy gone bad’.
16:22 Sandhya Shetty: Justin Bieber is a famous icon known all over the world and is most famous amongst teenagers, but do we want our children to be like him? My role model while growing up was my father and continues to be so. Why should I look up to celebrities whose past I am unaware of and of what use are they to me?
16:22 Maria Vincent: A role model should be one you see and observe in your daily life. You should know that person in and out.
16:23 Sophy Aqeel: I definitely agree as celebrities teach us to work hard, dream big and to succeed by achieving our goals.
16:24 Maria Vincent: I don’t mean to say celebrities can’t be good role models. I, too, admire certain popular people for their hard work and successes. Many celebrities do encourage their fans to follow their dreams. But just giving encouragement doesn’t make one a role model.
16:25 Mariam Khawer: Celebrities absolutely encourage their fans. Speaking from personal experience, often, I have got myself out of tough spots by thinking that if my role model has done it, so can I.
16:25 Maria Vincent: A role model doesn’t just say ‘live your dream’, but will teach you how to do so.
16:26 Gulf News: Being a role model isn’t a choice; we are all to a greater or lesser extent being observed by others, and thus, have the capacity to influence others’ choices.
16:27 Sophy Aqeel: People will observe you no matter what you do — it is just in our nature to do so.
16:28 Mariam Khawer: I agree, being a role model is not an electoral position that you have to register yourself for. So, if you are a public figure, then by virtue of your work, you subject yourself to this position.
16:29 Maria Vincent: I absolutely agree, as wherever you go, whoever you meet, you make a mark there. You may impress others, which instantly makes you a role model. Everybody notes down the attributes of the people he or she meets and does things accordingly.
16:30 Sandhya Shetty: Very true and with that in mind, we should get inspiration from people we have watched and observed. My role model was and will always be my father because I am what I am because of him. My heart melted with pride when my son told me: ‘Who needs a celebrity when I have my mother as my role model?’
16:30 Sophy Aqeel: It is not a responsibility, rather an ethical obligation to preach good behaviour to those who look up to you.
16:31 Maria Vincent: Even if you are not a famous figure at school, workplace, neighbourhood, and so on, you are still noticed by those you meet each day. A role model is there in everyone and that feature is brought out by each one of us in different ways.
16:32 Mariam Khawer: Seeing is believing and these celebrities grace our lives with their presence frequently. If we see them living a life of glamour and success, then naturally we will be led into believing that what they do to acquire all of it is the right path. Therefore, they do need to be held accountable for their actions.
16:33 Maria Vincent: Being a role model is indeed an ethical liability. When you are a person who is taught good values, why not bring it out and show others the path to a moralistic lifestyle? Celebrities make good role models only when they stand by their ideals, values and cultures and act as a true guiding light.
16:34 Sandhya Shetty: When you have over a million followers, in which each and every word you say or write becomes the norm, then you need to pay close attention.
Celebrities gain popularity or position due to their hard work, luck or status and cannot be considered as role models for they are also human beings and are not perfect, nor do they lead a life of such influence. There are many ordinary people, successful or unsuccessful, who should be considered as role models. Apart from having extraordinarily talent in their own field, they also believe in high morality and spirituality and that will never let them go astray. These are the people that should be considered as role models or hidden celebrities. Of course, they are also not perfect but only their best attributes can be followed.
From Ms Shahina Afsar
Gone are the days when celebrities meant positive role models and now all you see is nude photoshoots, drug busts, rehab stories and excessive drinking. Celebrities? No. Attention seekers? Yes.
From Ms Lorraine D’Costa
- Compiled by Donia Jenabzadeh/Community Web Editor