Cymru Culture

Fashion and Designers / Ffasiwn a Dylunwyr

Prêt-à-porter; Role models

(September 01, 2016)

Prêt-à-porter,
Isabelle Herring

Celebrities: ideal role models for young people?
Discuss.

Celebrities have always been seen as role models, the term coined by American sociologist Robert K Merton in the mid 20th century. People will always compare themselves to others. Sports and movie stars were commonly seen as role models in the past. Today, young people are more likely to see the more recent celebrities, reality TV stars and 'famous-for-being-famous' faces as their role models. But are they really ideal role models for young people, or are they actually setting a poor example to their doting fans?
 

Anna Wintour at the Twenty8Twelve fashion show in London, September 22, 2009  Image credit: Anna Wintour & Alexa Chung
Anna Wintour at the Twenty8Twelve fashion show in London, September 22, 2009
Image credit: Anna Wintour & Alexa Chung
This file is licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution 2.0 Generic license

  

Some well-known people have managed to set a good example to their admirers and deserve to be seen as being fine role models to the younger generation. In terms of role models within the fashion industry, Anna Wintour is definitely up there among the best. As the editor of the world famous Vogue magazine, it is evident that she is pretty inspirational for fashion lovers alike. She has proven that dedication, talent and hard work can really get you to where you would like to be in your chosen career path.

Lady Gaga, ARTPOP Ball Tour, Bell Center, Montréal, 2 July 2014, image: proacguy1 from Montreal, CanadaLady Gaga
ARTPOP Ball Tour, Bell Center, Montréal, 2 July 2014,

image credit: proacguy1 from Montreal, Canada
This file is licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution 2.0 Generic license

  

Another positive role model in my eyes is pop singer Lady Gaga. She may have changed slightly nowadays towards being more 'normal', but I still see her as a great example of a celebrity role model. As well as her extremely successful music career, she also has proved herself to be inspirational in other areas. She is influential in terms of her fashion choices; the bold, dramatic clothes she wears. That in itself sets a good example to young people. She is expressing to her followers that it is OK to wear whatever you want and that you should not care too much what people think. This is a rule everyone should remember and stand by.

Of the more negative role model celebrity examples, several come to mind. Recent stars of reality TV shows; for example those starring in programmes such as Geordie Shore and Ex on the Beach. Yes, they may be entertaining. But the way that they parade around pretty much stark naked and make no odds about it. There is also the fact that they are getting paralytic every night in a nightclub and making fools of themselves. Even though their antics on the television show could be classed as being unruly and disorderly, they are still seen as being fashionable individuals and role models to young fans, with stars such as Charlotte Crosby and Marnie Simpson creating their successful clothing lines. So many young girls who watch Geordie Shore look up to them and admire them for being energetic television personalities. Do these people deserve a 'role model' status?

Kim Kardashian Fragrance Launch, Glendale, CA on February 22, 2011 - Photo by Glenn Francis of www.PacificProDigital.com
Kim Kardashian Fragrance Launch,
Glendale, CA on February 22, 2011

image credit: Glenn Francis of www.PacificProDigital.com
This file is licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution 2.0 Generic license

Other so-called celebrity 'idols' include the likes of the Kardashians; recognised as being one of America's wealthiest families. They have become 'famous-for-being-famous', starring in their own television show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which has aired for several seasons now. Even younger member Kylie Jenner has released a make-up range (Kylie Cosmetics), which is known for products selling out on the company's website minutes after being available for sale to the public. Why are these social media phenomenons admired? Any fool can spend their parents' money, and make it look glamorous if they are rich enough. But suitable figures as role models?!

Some publications, the 'gossip magazines', pick up on celebrities' misfortunes in life. Magazines such as OK Magazine and Heat are best known for this. They seem to victimise particular reality stars or semi-famous celebrities (the infamous 'Z-list'), addressing them within articles using their first name or nickname, which can be incredibly degrading. However, without such media coverage, would they be as well known? It appears as though these so-called celebrities need the magazine coverage as much as the gossip mags need the famous faces. Looks like this is set to continue for as long as people buy the magazines, so I guess we're all to blame. (Top tip: don't buy them – read Cymru Culture instead [Ed.])
 

Lady Gaga giving a speech at National Equality March, 28 November 2009  image credit: Ryan J. Reilly via Flickr
Lady Gaga giving a speech at National Equality March, 28 November 2009

image credit: Ryan J. Reilly via Flickr,
This file is licensed under the
Creative CommonsAttribution 2.0 Generic license

If I had to chose the most influential celebrity, I would definitely pick Lady Gaga. Her song lyrics and fashion choices are inspirational, and she is both a proud ambassador for gay rights and a mental health advocate. What more could you ask for as a positive role model?

Isabelle Herring, September 2016

If you liked this, you will enjoy these from Isabelle too:
     New York Fashion Week F/W 2016; March 2016

     bloggers and vloggers; December 2015

     Review: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty; October 2015
     Festival essentials; June 2015

     New York Fashion Week F/W 2015; March 2015

     Does size really matter?; December 2014
     Looking for value?; September 2014

Isabelle blogs on fashion as Isabelle Rachel!

… and her other pages:
     Facebook: issy.herring
     Blog Facebook page: isabellerachelblog
     Twitter: @IssyHerring
     Instagram: issyherring
     Pinterest: issyherring

 

cylchgrawn Cymru Culture magazine
Published by/Cyhoeddwyd gan:
Caregos Cyf., 2016

 

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