Tonight Matthew, I’m gonna be…’ – The lack of contemporary Role Models in a celebrity-crazed Culture

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What has happened to us when we find ourselves ogling celebrities and ignoring those that actually make a huge difference in the world? Where are the people that value the importance of individuals like Harvey Milk and Tony Benn rather than Kim Kardashian and Kanye West? Celebrity culture seems to have replaced any ambitions society may have once had and although the celeb life may be intriguing, putting them on a pedestal does not help progress our society but arguably regresses it instead.

Tabloid newspapers have concerned themselves so much with the Katie Prices of the world for so long that they have lost sight of the politicians, scientists, writers and so many more which have all contributed in developing the culture we live in now. Where would we be without the fairly unknown Willem Kolff who created the first artificial kidney dialysis machine thereby saving so many lives? As it has always been with humanity, we have forgotten to respect and look up to those that have given things we take for granted today; women’s rights, penicillin and the light bulb just to name a few. The examples I have given are evident proof of how the media are so preoccupied with the easily disposable star that it has become nearly impossible to name a contemporary celebrity worthy of aspiring to. Malala Yousafzai, the girl who stood up to the Taliban or even Dan Savage and Terry Miller who independently created the ‘It Gets Better Project’ into a worldwide movement are the sort of people we should be aspiring to and praising rather than the random celebrity who occasionally supports a humanitarian cause.

Celebrity used to be reserved for those with a skill that we, the adoring audience, saw as worthy to look up to but somewhere between two world wars and the creation of the internet we lost the true meaning of what it means to be a celebrity. Most celebrities today can be seen as leeches, suckling off of the working man, becoming rich for very little reason other than because we allow it. Perhaps it is time we brush the sparkles from our eyes and take a hard look at the kind of people we let reach fame.  Reading stories about a 19 year old Canadian that speeds at 136mph in a Lamborghini and a 27 year old actor who dons a paper bag on his head claiming he is ‘not famous anymore’ is getting tiresome and, with an entire business based around the celebrity industry such as the paparazzi, it is sadly becoming too frequent in the news. Are these the kind of people that we want our future children to aspire to be like? Where have all the true inspirational role models gone?