CUT FOR LIKES

Horrific images of gashes, dripping blood and teens with blades and knives in their hands flood the internet. Ladies and gentlemen, this is all part of the ‘#CutForBieber’ trending Twitter topic, originally started by users on 4Chan to encourage Justin Bieber’s fanbase, more commonly known as ‘Beliebers’, to cut themselves.

Something that started off as a joke to ‘troll’ Justin Bieber fans caused an uproar on social media sites. Self-harm was encouraged to get Justin Bieber to stop smoking marijuana. Would you go to such an extent for a celebrity? Some of you might even think that these ‘#CutForBieber’ tweets are so ridiculous that you might want to smoke a joint yourselves after reading them.

Image ‘Beliebers’ took to social networking sites to express their disappointment. Pictures like these flooded the internet. Photo Source: amazonaws.com 

Before going into depth about celebrities and whether they are influential or not, a question needs to be asked: what is a celebrity? The Oxford Dictionary defines the term ‘celebrity’ as ‘the state of being well-known’. Some members of the youth describe celebrities as ‘someone that you can look up to’ or ‘someone that influences people because of what they do’. A role model does not necessarily have to be a celebrity but can also be someone who does good deeds and is just a good person in general, often a parent or friend. Nelson Mandela fought against the Apartheid regime and, although he is well-known today, he isn’t considered a ‘celebrity’ as much as a ‘statesman’.

As the new generation is drawn to media, it’s likely that the youth will be more and more influenced by celebrities. Celebrities guide the youth in many ways. Many youngsters consider celebrities as role models and strive to be just like them. Don’t try to deny it: we’ve all been through the ‘celeb’ obsession stage at some point in our lives. Whether you’ve tried to perfect the boy band ‘N’-Sync’s choreography in your bedroom or if you’ve belted out powerful notes like Mariah Carey… we’ve all been there.

Image Ha, never forget. Photo Source: http://awesomelyluvvie.com/

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Yep, looks like Justin Timberlake still remained the leader of the group at the 2013 MTV Music Video Awards

Photo Source: mashable.com

As hard as it may seem to believe, many celebrities use their fame to do good deeds through projects such as humanitarian work or even something as simple as acting within the law. For example, American actress and singer Demi Lovato aired her concerns about the Disney Channel’s ‘endorsement’ of anorexia and eating disorders being shown to young viewers on television. By making young girls aware of the fact that size doesn’t matter, Demi Lovato managed to boost girls’ self-esteem in order for them to realise that they do not have to conform to what society depicts as the so-called ‘perfect body’.

A child wouldn’t be able to understand the anorexia references and would be more likely to accept that kind of behaviour, whereas young adults would learn to question such references before making decisions about whether these are good or bad influences. When celebrities do good deeds, it allows young people to admire them and creates aspiration amongst adolescents to do their best to try to make a change in the world. As we get older, it’s easier to figure out the difference between a good and a bad influence.

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The anorexia joke took place on Disney Channel’s show. Photo Source: blogspot.com

However, there are celebrities who set bad examples to the youth and influence them in a negative way. Celebrities often have the bad habit of glamourising substances such as drugs and alcohol, thus promoting under-age drinking and drug-taking. The rich lifestyle that celebrities live could lower young people’s self-esteem and may lead to disastrous effects such as self-harm or even depression. A student was asked how a celebrity influenced her in a negative way and she said, “Their rich lifestyle makes me feel like that’s how life should be and if I don’t live up to that standard, then I feel like I’m lower class.”

Celebrities definitely have an influence on the youth of today. The extent that you would go to for a celebrity is entirely up to you. We may have to choose the correct celebrity role models to look up to in order to not lose sight of our morals and upbringing. Celebrities should lead you on a wholesome path and not along the road to destruction.

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