Are Role Models Dead?


The Hollywood Reporter

According to Google a role model is “a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated.” However, can young audience members look up to these people?

Kylie A. and Ariana A.

Google defines a role model as “a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated.” Most kids look up to people who are actors, professional athletes, or social influencers. But behind the scenes, these role models’ actions seldom reflect who kids see on the public stage. 

If a young fan of Zendaya’s work in movies and TV shows like Spider-Man, Shake It Up, or K.C. Undercover decides to watch Euphoria solely because she was in it, they would come to realize that there is another side of her. 

Zendaya has been a role model for children who grew up watching Disney Channel. They have watched her in a number of child-appropriate shows. Having moved to an adult-themed show, will this ruin her reputation?

“I was kind of sad, honestly, that she appeared in an adult age show because I knew I wouldn’t be able to watch her. I try to have those kinds of people as my role models. But seeing her join into something that is not as kid-appropriate is definitely a little sad,” said Hannah G.

Seeing her move on so quickly from prior films and series paints the picture that she might not care about any of her child-viewers. Knowing that she has fans who are likely not old enough to watch a show like Euphoria, demonstrates that she probably doesn’t mind losing part of her audience. Perhaps she is just doing it for the money. 

“Depending on the age range, I would probably be really disappointed, especially because as a younger kid, you maybe are not allowed to watch R-rated or even PG-13 [movies] so I would be very disappointed because I wouldn’t be able to see my favorite people on TV anymore, ” said Hannah.

Zendaya isn’t the only topic of recent controversy. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was recently involved in an incident involving a photographer who fractured her spine while taking his picture at a Super Bowl rally outside of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. His wife, Kelly Stafford appeared to respond, yet Stafford simply turned around and walked away. It was uncertain why Stafford didn’t respond to the photographer’s fall, but Buccaneers’ quarterback Tom Brady seemed to bring clarification: “Mix in water Matt, trust me,” Tweeted Brady, implying from his own Super Bowl successes that drunkenness was to blame. 

Up until now, Stafford has been an inspiration to many aspiring young athletes. He has created a significant fan base and his stats lead the NFL. But will this event change his number of supporters?

“He had an opportunity to help a girl out when she fell, but he never did. He is not that good of a person for not asking if she was okay. He just walked off,” said Michael F. 

Celebrities like Stafford and Zendaya have fans who look up to them. Watching them behave as if they don’t have expectations to live up to is disappointing. Fans dream of emulating stars like Zendaya and Stafford, yet their actions may feel like a slap in the face.

Perhaps the answer isn’t looking to these types of stars. Maybe we give too much credit to those who are famous, while we should pay more attention to the real heroes and role models in everyday society. For those who risk their lives or people who dedicate their time and energy to show their selflessness toward those around 

“Just because [celebrities] are famous, a lot of attention is drawn to them. Sometimes people look past [real heroes] even though they are just doing their jobs and keeping people safe,” said Mary F.