Oh and a Bit of Fame, Please.

It was reported the other day that 90% of school children who were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” answered with “I want to be famous.” Surprising?

Not really.

We live in a culture that thrives on the ‘instant’ celebrity. There are people who are famous for just being famous. This fame turns them into celebrities. The paparazzi follow their every move and regularly invade their privacy. These ‘famous’ people look out at us from the covers of magazines, newspapers and the six o’clock news.

Obviously children nowadays believe that being famous is a career choice.

Who can blame them? I can think of at least two “celebrities” who, by the value of their name alone, are famous. They then became more famous by the infamy gained by the ‘leaking’ of a sex tape. Rather than destroying the rather dubious celebrity status they already enjoyed, these sex tapes launched their “name fame” into the stratosphere.

I won’t mention any names here, but a big clue is that both these individuals have done quite a bit of reality television.  And the television shows came about after the tapes had been leaked.

The world is busily trying to sexualize  everyone in the world up to and including our children. In 1983 a television show called Mini Pops was broadcast on English television. It featured a lot of cute little pre-teen moppets who dressed in adult ‘theme’ clothes and performed choreographed song and dance routines from the world of pop.

The outcry was deafening. The public rose on their collective hindquarters and yelled, foul. Mini Pops was accused of sexualizing our children and putting on a ‘paedophile parade.’  It was yanked off the air quicker than you could say Gary Glitter.

And yet…

We have replaced the adult posturing of these young pre-teens, who were after all doing a live version of singing into a hairbrush, with the likes of Toddlers and Tiaras. T and T is just one example of the many vacuously named ‘mini’ beauty pageants.

These “pageants” feature very young girls in adult make-up, fake tans, perfect bridgework and swimsuits for goodness sake. Yet this is considered okay by the rules of today’s society. I have not heard one complaint from anyone about this.

The children who win these travesties become “famous” to a somewhat  lesser degree than the two ladies I mentioned above, but they are  very briefly ‘mini’ celebrities. Only for a short while though, because the very nature of the business their parents have put them in requires that winners be replaced yearly.

I guess the point I am trying to make, albeit rather long windily, is this; has anyone explained to these children who want to be famous when they grow up, the difference between fame and infamy?

Being infamous is very close to fame. Infamous people stare out at us from the same magazines, newspapers and six o’clock news programmes. By infamous I mean Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffery Dahmer  et al. And to a lesser degree the ‘stars’ of leaked sex tapes.

In a world where it has suddenly become okay to sexualize our children and where these same children believe that being famous is a career option it has become important, I think, to teach them the difference.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree, disagree, think I’m way off the mark?

Let me know.

Gacy as "Pogo The Clown".
Gacy as “Pogo The Clown”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)