Live Up to Your Celebrity

When Taylor Momsen, star of the hit TV show “Gossip Girl,” was asked to share her thoughts on the Haiti tragedy while promoting her new perfume, Love Rocks by “OK! Magazine,” Momsen responded, “Um, right now I’m trying to just finish my record and getting through the last season of Gossip Girl for right now. So not so much thinking about that.” As I sat there and read her comment on the Haiti crisis, I was utterly shocked at what Momsen had to say on the issue. How could anyone make such an indifferent and obnoxious remark about the hundreds of thousands of lives that were lost? And more importantly, what kind of example does this set for the many teenage girls that look up to her as a role model? Well, Momsen had an answer to this question. When asked about being a role model, Momsen said, “To be honest, I don’t f—ing care, I didn’t get into this to be a role model. So I’m sorry if I’m influencing your kids in a way that you don’t like, but I can’t be responsible for their actions. I don’t care.” I know and respect that all people are entitled to their own opinion, but when someone takes on an actively public position, such as becoming a celebrity, it is their responsibility to become a role model and to set an example for others. This is something Momsen blatantly does not care about. As a public duty, it becomes your duty to act in an exemplary way, especially when those that look up to you are the young minds of the future. This does not mean or imply that celebrities have to cure cancer or throw themselves into helping orphans in Africa. However, as a role model, they should definitely make sure their behavior is polite, modest and admirable. What happened to the days when we could look up to media icons and commend them for their great performances as well as their beautifully modest clothing and philanthropic work, such as Audrey Hepburn’s outstanding charitable works for the UNICEF? We have to question our culture in a society that supports and admires heartless people such as Momsen, and let their shameless acts and comments influence and guide the future of our country. As we advance in technology and other areas, American morals and values are beginning to drop. Various examples of inappropriate behavior from America’s most famous icons range from Kanye West’s drunken spectacle at the Grammys to the racy, rather revealing pictures of Disney star Miley Cyrus. Does this chain of events signify that public icons think that they can get away with openly lewd and obnoxious behavior? They only believe they can get away with this kind of shamelessness because we, as Americans and the general public reward them for their actions. We do this by pouring millions of dollars into the industry and giving them generous amounts of publicity whenever they show less than tasteful or exemplary behavior. Even though we are moving forward technologically, we seem to be moving backwards ethically. There are many examples that display the disintegration of everyday morals and etiquette. We are, in a sense, taking a step forward in one direction while taking a step back in another. However, I think that it is of no use or value to us if we hold more power than we are capable of taking responsibility for. I am addicted to “Gossip Girl” as much as the next girl, but I have to wonder what American culture is becoming in the twenty-first century. Taylor Momsen made a comment that was heartless as well as blatantly ignorant towards the crisis in Haiti and shunned her responsibility as a public figure to be a role model. Although we have all kinds of resources and technology that has become readily available to us throughout the years, we must always question where we stand and how we’re using our newfound power and position. As Uncle Ben once said to Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility. Christiana Nguyen is a Junior from Vancouver, WA.