My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

On Britney Spears

You know, I never thought I'd blog on Britney Spears, but here goes. As a mother, my heart breaks for this young woman. As a consumer in this Disney culture, I even feel a little bit responsible. We take these young children and make them stars. Sure, they are rewarded with money and attention, but essentially they are raped of their childhoods. They don't experience a normal adolescence when social skills are honed, awkwardness builds character, and young people slowly pull away from their parents in gestures of independence. Additionally, we so glorify the material rewards that we set them up for rejection if they express any 'needs' at all, even though they have real social-emotional needs that have nothing to do with money. I mean, come on, who's going to take a teen celebrity seriously if she says, "I just don't feel like doing that today." There are just too many dollar signs involved for too many people. BUT their talent (debatable in many cases)and success (again measured by society, debatable)should give them more options, not less. It reminds me of some friends who are very successful and accomplished physicians, especially the ones in research and teaching, and they feel such a responsibility to work more and more to prove they were worthy of all that education when they should really have more options to work less and more flexibly as a reward for all that education. Is anyone with me, here?
Could we possibly, as a society, boycott all things that connect to child stardom? Or are we so deeply entrenched in adolescent divas that we can't extricate ourselves from it? My kids would flip out if I suggested we turn off Hannah Montana forever. But it's always the same thing. I see them watching a really cute, wholesome show like HM, and I say a little prayer: Let this kid make it. Let her be a good role model, healthy adult, and spokesperson for education or exercise or something. But, unfortunately, it always ends the same way.
What's the best case scenario for Britney, then? Her kids? Move to Mars? And what about the sister? Oh, it just breaks my heart.
Although, if any good can come of it, there are definitely 'teachable moments' in this whole fiasco. Jumping off points where I can discuss premarital sex, drug and alcohol use and abuse, growing up too fast, and other things with my children. If anyone out there hasn't read REVIVING OPHELIA: SAVING THE SELVES OF ADOLESCENT GIRLS by Mary Pipher, I highly recommend it for everyone. Wow. If only someone had given it to Britney's mom, eh?

Quote for the day:
"I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions."
- Augusten Burroughs


ben said...

i'm with you donna! the celebrity status they achieve when they are not able or ready to handle the impacts is devestating to some of these "stars." i think Britney is a true example of someone who could not handle the fame. the need for attention, the need to spend money like it grows on trees, and the inability to cope with the loss of celebrity can really impact someone like britney. and sadly, those 2 beautiful children are caught in the middle. i really feel for them and hope they get some stability soon!
i'm like you, i have used it to teach anna already. and i think it has had impact. we talked about being "self centered" w. britney's situation and how it is important at times to use your talents and money to first help others, then on yourself. so anna gathered her old clothes together and has taken them to sell at the cosignment shop and will donate the proceeds to Hopeline. i'm so proud of her :)
i hope ms spears can get herself together in many ways, for the sake of her children. sadly, right now, it "appears" as if she cares more about the red carpet and the latest handbag more than her kids........ i hope that changes.
and a great quote btw :) LOL. i do like that quote!

Dorothy said...

Donna, here's your essay for whatever it is you need it for. Seriously. This is emphatically caring/passionate. I loved reading it and letting you get my feelings riled up.

Diane said...

I think your comments are very astute, especially what you said about money. Money does not solve teen angst but it certainly can overmotivate those surrounding the money-makers.

I wish society wasn't so driven by mags like People and Star and shows like E! It's a sorry part of human nature, how so many like to build others up to later watch them fall.

The best we can do, I think, is do as you and Ben are doing: use the teachable moments.

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman