Saturday, August 30, 2008

Celebrity Role Models

When I was a little girl, I would daydream about being famous. I would look up at the stars, which in rural Wisconsin, could be seen in abundance. As I gazed up into the starry night, I would ache inside longing to matter, to be someone of consequence.

As a nine year old girl, famous to me meant a singer or movie star. Specifically, the year was 1979 and the celebrity role model that I longed to be was Olivia Newton John in the Movie “Grease”. I sang “Hopelessly Devoted” at the top of my lungs as I took out the garbage at night. My mom always wanted to know why a 5 minute chore meant I was not seen or heard from again for nearly a half hour.

I have come to believe that all little girls want to be someone famous. St. Augustine said that this desire to matter and to be connected with something of profound significance during our life times was actually a longing that God Himself placed in and on our hearts. He goes on to say that our Creator did this on purpose. It was to motivate us in the fulfillment of His divine purpose for us but that could not happen unless He could connect us to the knowledge that we all have a profound worth.

I never paid attention to fashion until I was in Junior High and Madonna was the latest craze. It was the “Like a Virgin” era. For those of you who remember it, it had a lot of lace, big earrings, sweater skirts, high heeled pumps and leg warmers or tights that had the feet cut off. Half shirts were really popular too but I could never wear those, I liked food too much.
I realize now, that as a young girl I was very impressionable. I really allowed the fashion of the day to dictate my style of clothing. Whatever MTV (which was the newest and latest thing) said was “Rad” was what I had to be wearing. So it should be said that I am not surprised that young people want to follow the trends set by Movies, television and Magazines.

So, recently, there was an article in the paper involving Mylie Cyrus and it got me to thinking about fashion and role models. Every week we hear celebrities going into and out of rehab, being arrested or loosing custody of their kids or being involved in some other scandal.
Because the marketing of celebrities to girls has become a billion dollar industry, a new phenomenon has occurred. Today the 2nd and 3rd graders are being targeted. It began with the Brittany Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aquillera at age 11 being put on Disney. The fashions these new tween role models wore dictated the style for millions of girls. Then their signature fashions became available to the public and were sold in every outlet store in America.
The result to day can be seen coast to coast. Access to High School Music apparel or the like, is available for purchase and each stars clothing line usually includes very tiny two piece swimming suits for 4 and 6 year old girls.

As the standard of modesty have been lowered as well as the marketing to younger and younger girls, a dangerous combination has occurred. As we undress our children more and more every year with the styles and fashions of the 21st century, we truly have opened a Pandora's box.
How can we be outraged at pedophilia and the disgusting industry exploiting children on Internet sites but then go and buy our sweet 6 year old daughter a small bikini for the public pool. Do we forget that the person buying these perverted images may also take his kids to the pool?

If we love our neighbor we owe it to them to use every opportunity to share their God given dignity (and our own) to the world. We love our neighbor as ourselves when we choose not to entice a situation, feeling or any action in another human being that could bring about an occasion of sin for them. How do we stop ourselves and others from seeing or using people as objects? When we stop dressing ourselves and our children as objects.

Ultimately, when we let others see the person we are in Christ, they will be attracted to that. It is this attraction to God that we all secretly desire. This is the goal, this is God's desire. To fill a person with the Holy Spirit so that it runs over and spills over and into the life of the people around us. We are not to grow in holiness simply to be holy, but rather to bring that hope to others.

How we portray ourselves to the world is either an opportunity to bring someone closer to who we are(interior dignity) instead of what we are (the exterior). More importantly, by allowing others to see who we truly are, we give them the opportunity to receive the light of Christ.

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