In an era where we are easily influenced by celebrities and the media, are any of our values really our own? I feel that we live such uncertain times that it has become easier for us as individuals to adopt role models, people upon whom we base our values and behaviours on.
In the past, I would say that we shouldn’t need role models, but I mainly say this in the context of children looking up to celebrities. I believe that having a role model is fine, but it can go to a point where you’re not deciding on what you really believe in. If a lot of your beliefs are inspired by the work and/or teachings of one person, it’s fine if you sincerely admire that person, but I don’t think we should worry about who’s a good role model and who isn’t. From my observation, the big problem with role models as that society expects celebrities to be perfect role models, when really, the majority of celebrities (mainly the footballers and “famous for being famous” celebrities) are terrible role models, since they don’t inspire meaningful values in anyone.
I think one reason that kids today have terrible role models is because they don’t see their parents as good role models. I believe that parents can be good role models for their kids, but many bad parents out there simply want their kids to follow in their footsteps, or to just do what their told do to. Kids don’t want to look up to something like that, and if their parents aren’t good role models, and the kids can’t see themselves as their own role models (assuming that makes any sense), then they’ll find their role models from the media, and you’ll never know what the myriad of D-list celebrities are teaching them.
I’ll admit that there are a few people, living or dead, who I might consider role models, but that’s because I relate to them in some way. You cannot expect every young boy in the nation to relate to a sports player, and you cannot expect every young girl in the nation to relate to a fashion model. I find that notion to be not only absurd and outdated, but also vulgar. The bottom line is this: if we as a society want to keep reinforcing the outdated and stereotypical idea of a role model, in which celebrities have to keep up a squeaky clean image and spout endless lies, then go ahead. We’re only dumbing ourselves down by doing so, and in the end, it is society that will suffer the most.