Written by PHOEBE SOLOMON
In what has been dubbed the “digital age,” anyone can have constant and absolute access to every conceivable news story, concept or scandal, regardless of whether it is occurring in his or her own town or in a remote corner of the globe. Politicians, artists, authors, movie stars or others in the public spotlight are on display more than ever.
Recent events, such as the mass leak of compromising celebrity photographs and video footage of football player Ray Rice physically abusing his then-fiancée, prove that nothing is guaranteed to remain private in this day and age.
Having a plethora of fans or followers magnifies perverse behavior; when one person has a substantial impact on a considerable number of others, that individual is granted the power of influence. Such influence becomes problematic when it leads to duplication of poor behavior.
Fundamental common sense dictates that a role model should be someone that others can look up to. Of course, people are entitled to their own private lives. Nevertheless, those in the limelight should be aware of how their actions affect their fans, particularly those of the younger generations.
Some celebrities hone their influence and use it to promote social justice efforts. Such influence is beneficial because efforts to promote social justice are vital to developing a functioning society.
On the other hands, harmful instances, such as a professional athlete punching his fiancée so violently that she is rendered unconscious, can potentially have deep impacts on impressionable youth. Younger generations should not be exposed to the sight of a seemingly successful, wealthy and happy athlete violently abusing his fiancée, especially when, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 85% of domestic abuse victims are women.
I am not suggesting that young people are incapable of developing their own world views and ethical principles. Rather, we must remember that any role model can influence others.
We need to reconsider which celebrities to look up to. We need to be aware of how celebrities influence us, whether deliberately or not, and be courageous enough to stand up for our beliefs. Our principles should be based on reflection, and our actions should be undertaken with ambition.