Celebrities and Their Influence

February 5, 2009
Living in a technological era, we have access to the tabloids more than ever before. There are television sets, magazine covers, Internet blogs, and movies screaming to be read and watched, and they are plastered with images of these tacky celebrities. When a life of parties, short-term relationships, drugs, and alcohol are leading celebrities like Britney, Paris, and Lindsay to spiral out of control, you would think that their lifestyle is not ideal. But, fans of these stars disagree. Now, in an age where we have more contact with celebrity gossip than we have ever had, we are faced with a question: what are the effects that superstars have on our youth? Celebrities influence fans to be destructively thin, put harmful substances in their bodies, and many parents are concerned with the overall content these celebrities are putting on television, in movies, and over the Internet. Pop culture idols need to think twice before making a poor decision or practicing awful morals because of their influence on their young fans and other people who may look up to them.

Based on a recent Newsweek poll, 77% of Americans believe that celebrities have too much of an influence on young girls. This effect is especially evident in their appearance and attitudes. One poll participant, a first grade teacher, even noticed her students using derogatory language, singing suggestive song lyrics, and even flirting with each other. With celebrities creating impossible standards of beauty, more and more young adults are feeling 'less confident, more angry, and more dissatisfied' with their looks (National Institute on Media and the Family). Based on a poll, 40% of nine and ten year-olds had tried losing weight and at age thirteen (Body Image and Gender Identity, 2002), 53% of girls were unhappy with their image (National Institute on Media and the Family). Now, this cannot all be blamed on the media, but with celebrities becoming thinner and thinner, much self-confidence is lost and images of television stars or models have been connected to body displeasure (National Institute on Media and the Family). Stars need to be concerned about their image because of the unpleasant fact that it causes young fans to strive to be unhealthily thin. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that eating disorders affect more than five million Americans a year, with disorders usually beginning in the teens or as early as eight. Celebrities should stay at a safe weight to insure their health and the effects their weight has in influencing their younger viewers.

Based on the latest Kaiser Family Foundation survey, two in every three parents feel that their children are being exposed to too much inappropriate content in the media. Where does this concern come from? 34% of parents stated that they believe that television contain the most inappropriate content. With television shows today including sexual content, violence, and adult language, children are exposed to unsuitable matter for their ages. Since many parents work and are not always at home, kids have access to shows, movies, and the internet blogs that can tell them things that should be left for parents to explain. There is no possible way to end this media frenzy, but experts say that 'attentive parents, strong teachers and nice friends are an excellent counterbalance,' (Newsweek, 2007) to pop culture garbage. Stars need to be more aware of their images because some are allowing younger fans content that many parents do not want their child seeing.

Celebrities do not only have a negative impact on the looks and personalities of fans, but also in their health. With superstars like Kate Moss taking insane amounts of drugs, Amy Winehouse checking into rehab again, and movie stars lighting up their cigarettes on screen, there has to be some effect on their admirers. 88% to 92% of the top twenty-five box office hits since 1995 have contained tobacco use. Celebrities have glamorized smoking in the media and are setting an example for supporters everywhere that it is acceptable to smoke. Pop culture icons need to support a drug free program instead of using harmful substances. Programs like Above the Influence, run by the Office of National Drug Protection, use the media for good instead of making drugs and alcohol seems acceptable to use. Stars should make it a goal to refrain from using drugs and drinking excessive amounts of booze because it sends a message to fans that a life of drugs and alcohol is a satisfactory way to live.

Celebrities need to change the way they act and how they are viewed. Their actions have more of an effect on us then many people believe they have. Thin, addicted celebrities are changing the way many young fans think and act. Celebrities need to change these horrible habits now and realize that they need to be more concerned with themselves and with their portrayal in the media.

Works Cited

Bergsma, PhD., Linda. "Can Media Literacy Impact Youth Smoking?." Blowing Smoke. Summer 2001. Center for Media Literacy. 25 Jan. 2009 .

'Body Image and Gender Identity.' "Media Effect on Girls." 6 Sep. 2002. National Institute on Media and the Family. 22 Jan. 2009 .
Deveny K, Kelley R, Reno J, et al. Girls Gone Bad? (cover story). Newsweek [serial online]. February 12, 2007;149(7):40-47. Available from: MasterFILE Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed January 23, 2009.

"Facts About Eating Disorders." Eating Disorder Info. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders. 22 Jan. 2009 .

"Fast Facts." Teen Health and the Media. Washington State Department of Health. 22 Jan. 2009 .
Rideout, Victoria. "A Kaiser Foundation Survey." Parents, Media, and Public Policy. Fall 2004. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 23 Jan. 2009 .

Witty, Karl. "The Effects of Drug use by Celebrities upon Young People's Drug Use and Perceptions of Use." Celebrities. National Collaborating Center: Drug Prevention. 25 Jan. 2009 .

Young H. When celebrities go wild, parents cringe. Wisconsin State Journal, The (Madison, WI) [serial online]. August 06, 2007. Available from: Newspaper Source, Ipswich, MA. Accessed January 23, 2009.

Join the Discussion

This article has 61 comments. Post your own now!

violinThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 30, 2017 at 11:43 pm
I agree that most celebs are corrupt, and they are responsible for their actions, but there are also some celebrities, like Charlie Puth, who don't smoke or take drugs and, in fact, set a good example for fans to follow their dreams and be themselves.
Super_Letter replied...
today at 5:28 am
I do agree with him/her because some celebs are corrupt but you cant judge the entire celeb community for there weakest link!
EswzemThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 17, 2017 at 1:40 pm
Awesome article! I agree with the points said, and I think you did a good job exposing the corruption of today's media. There are many people that disagree with me, but I think that the stuff we are exposing to this generation is unacceptable. The facts were very put together, and I don't think this article could be any better
Grane said...
Apr. 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm
This was incredibly HIDEOUS AND HORRIBLE Celebs are great
Tyler M. replied...
Jun. 28, 2016 at 2:09 pm
@Grane Why are they great? They have as much worth as your run-of-the-mill McDonald's worker.
Flab flab flab said...
Mar. 30, 2016 at 9:14 am
Your essay isn't very good and you shouldn't use your name or why your writin this paragraph. Also you shouldn't use the words I or me or anything referring to the first person.
M7_official said...
Mar. 11, 2016 at 2:58 pm
In my opinion I believe that we shouldn't care who we want to look like. I myself was drawn into that era. When I was little I loved Mesut Ozil. I tried everything to look like him and succeeded. I started to play soccer more and even learned three new languages to match his three languages that he spoke. Now we should not care who we want to be like , we should like ourselves. We are our own celebrities.
Angelina Aguila said...
Mar. 7, 2016 at 11:31 am
what are the effects that superstars have on our youth question is an easy answer.But let me explain it in an easier way. Celebrities inspire teens to do what they can. Like lets say a teen watched his favorite movie with a celeb with it, and the celeb said "You can do anything if you believe", and then they made something that NO ONE can make. That's a sign of impact. :-)
schoolislife said...
Feb. 29, 2016 at 10:22 am
I don't agree fully with this article because all celebrities aren't supposed to be teen idols and role models. Most of these celebrities are grown and they need to live their lives too.
Jigs said...
Feb. 3, 2016 at 9:12 am
Stuti, Amazing story and fantastic word choice. Felt the character closely while read the story. Keep up the good work and looking forward to read more from you. Jigna
ScarletCityThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 3, 2015 at 10:00 am
I completely disagree with you, @Fixingthatfedora. Just because they were put in the spotlight doesn't mean they have to be perfect. What the author wrote was that celebrities had too much negative control over young people. Really, I'm sure that these stars know that they are unnaturally thin, and that they are ruining themselves by using controlled substances. But, they keep loosing weight and using drugs because it's whats expected of them. And, keep in mind that many young people were put in... (more »)
ftuai14 said...
Oct. 28, 2015 at 5:34 pm
Someone finally said it. Been waiting so long for someone to finally speak up about this issue.Thanks
Neil said...
Apr. 28, 2015 at 3:13 pm
this is completely true, and i had to do a debate at school and this really helped so thx!
Allison W. said...
Feb. 2, 2015 at 12:39 pm
I feel that there are many negative affects on people as a whole, not just teens from the Hollywood influence. I think that we see it more in teens because teens are in the stage where they are insecure enough and not solid in who they are or who they are becoming as a person. Hollywood and stars yes they do have some influence but we can't blame all of these troubles on media or the stars. Teens and children also get this stuff from friends, peers, and bullies. They could get it from virtually ... (more »)
mt409 replied...
Jul. 15, 2015 at 12:50 am
loved your story. it made me think. and feel. thanks for sharing.
Bots replied...
Jul. 15, 2015 at 1:04 am
This is beautiful. I got my degree in geriatric social work exactly because of what you wrote. We have so much to honor in those who are our elders...and it helps us to remember to live on the present today. Your words captured this perfectly and your love for your grandfather was strongly apparent.
WhiskeyLullabyyy replied...
Jul. 15, 2015 at 1:05 am
This poem made me cry... I can relate to you... I've been hurt so many times and gave too many chances. I don't know when you made this, but to me this poem was absolutely amazing... (:
Scrubbs replied...
Jul. 15, 2015 at 1:13 am
So beautifully written! You have a gift for expressing yourself!
Adhith replied...
Jul. 15, 2015 at 1:26 am
First time I've sat down and read a whole article in a VERY long time. This piece carries an air of relatability, while also conveying a distinctly personal experience that changed the author's life.
Fixingthatfedora said...
Nov. 5, 2014 at 1:56 am
Well actually I believe quite the opposite. We think we are scrutinized about how we look. Think about the celebrities for a second who have the media commenting on just how much weight they've out on. We think we have it bad but honestly they are skinny because of the fraught systems of media that initiate an expectation of what 'beautiful woman' look like. But beauty is something that is undefined, beauty can only be defined by opinion and sadly a skinny, thin, tall person is generically the s... (more »)
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