Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Teacher, Author

Disney and the case of the missing childhood: The Culture of Celebrity

It’s been widely reported that Lindsey Lohan, made famous by her childhood roles in Disney films, is going to jail due to parole violations for alcohol and drug abuse. As I read about this case, it called to mind all of the different female Disney stars that have gotten into trouble. The pattern that I see, as I look at several child stars in particular, is a quick rush into presenting themselves as sexual objects at fairly young ages.

Consider Brittany Spears, Lindsey Lohan, and Miley Cyrus, to name a few. All of these girls seem to have embraced the culture of celebrity that says any attention is good attention. When you believe this to be true, you start to do anything to get the world to pay attention to you. Unfortunately for these girls, a surefire way to get press is to become more sexualized. And so, we have seventeen year old Miley Cyrus rolling around on the floor flashing cleavage in her newest video and pretending to kiss a girl on a TV appearance.

The culture of celebrity that our society has embraced is dangerous. It provides unlimited attention to those who are willing to exploit themselves, including those who are underage. As consumers, we do have the power to respond to this. We can vote with our money and refuse to buy, watch, or endorse products that clash with our values. Advertising and media respond to one thing: money. Let’s use the power we have and put our money where our hearts are.

Are there certain shows or products that you refuse to support? What about those that you do support? How do you use your consumer power to try to make a difference?

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