The Edit Feature: Who Should We Look Up To?

By Courtney Cameron

I began to screw up my face as the same chorus was repeated over and over… “She can’t sing, she can’t dance but who cares – she walks like Rihanna!”

Listening to the radio whilst driving to work I was thinking, are these lyrics serious? Surely being able to walk like Rihanna isn’t the be all and end all these days. Personally, I’d take being able to sing and dance over walking like her any day.

But do the younger generation think the same? A part of me would say no.

This song is The Wanted’s latest hit. The five piece boy band, consisting of English and Irish members, have become very popular in the UK and are currently taking America by storm with an ever expanding fan base. They made their first debut release in July 2010 and since then have been performing at various festivals across the country; including Scottish favourite T in the Park.

I’ve never been a huge fan of their music and I think the band appeals more to the younger generation. Both my 10 and 8 year-old little cousins know each of their songs word for word, as do many of my 17-year-old little sister’s friends. Which made me wonder – if children as young as eight are listening to their songs, surely their lyrics are have an effect on the way these kids look at the world?

Parents have concerns about who their children look up to. Would Rihanna really be everyone’s first choice as a role model for their child?

I highly doubt it.

I questioned a variety of mums; family members, work colleagues, acquaintances and the range of answers of who they looked up to shocked me.

From the people I questioned the most common answers were: Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jessie J and Cheryl Cole. Answers such as these are only to be expected as these women are key figures in today’s society. Some girls my own age have even gone as far as to describe Beyoncé as a ‘goddess’. Everyone has their own opinions on who is an effective role model and who isn’t. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; even if it is a whacky choice.

For example, my little sister loves Nicki Minaj- how anyone could look at her as a role model is beyond me but my sister thinks she’s great, as thousands other people do.

Personally, I look up to Kate Middleton. I think she is beautiful, elegant and classy. She represents a lady-like quality that many girls lack these days. She doesn’t need to wear a skirt as short as a belt to attract attention or wear a face full of makeup.

I guess you could say a part of me is old fashioned; I think it is important to be lady-like and dignified. It would be unfair to say someone like Rihanna is not lady-like because in many ways she is. She is equally as beautiful as Kate Middleton but just in a different way.

In the end, children will all choose their own role models. However, the point I’m trying to make is how important celebrities such as Rihanna have become in society. When I was younger, all I was interested in was my ballet classes and acting classes; not trying to imitate a celeb.

I would go as for to say that more and more pressure is being put on young girls to look like pop stars and models. Kids should be kids and learn to be confident in whom they are as an individual. As light hearted as The Wanted’s new song is, I just don’t think it is setting a good example for the younger generation.

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