Monday, January 7, 2013

Issue with Public Role Models: Persona are Illusions

I was raised by TV. The media and I shared a wonderful relationship that put me into the lives of several people [probably the other way]. Notwithstanding, I get to develop a relationship and learn so much about people [real or fiction] with the absence of a direct contact. There were outcomes of such relationship between any individual with whom they relate with the most on TV. They could become a fan, make such individual a role model, a mentor, or get obsessed. My focus is with when such individuals you read/watch on media become your role model.

Having as a role model someone you read/watch on TV was choosing an illusion as a role model, a construct of an individual's persona. Take for instance a young girl that says "Nicki Minaj is my role model. I like how she dresses and talks". Now, Onika Tanya Maraj is the name of an artiste and her public persona is Nicki Minaj. Onika does not talk with a British accent and definitely does not dress sexy all the time. She projects 'Nicki Minaj' qualities well because that culminates what makes her a good artiste and sell records. She definitely doesn't call her friends "Barbz". My point remains saying Nicki Minaj was a role model meant adopting an illusion as a role model.

Celebrities were not the only role models from media. Some decide to follow the steps of public figures including pastors and motivational speakers. I'll TRY not to mention any names before people start pleading again I delete this post to save someone's career. The bitter truth was any individual that says a motivational speaker was a role model was not different from the girl that said Nicki Minaj was hers'. Just like Nicki Minaj, how they talked, what they say, and dressed was to enable them sell. What they project was a persona incongruence with their real self.

A guy admired a public figure to the mild obsessed point he talks and dress like him always. He would claim the guy was so "eloquent" and "carried himself well". You wouldn't believe this guy's reaction when he realized his role model preferred to speak confirm waffi English when the camera wasn't rolling. He realized the bitter truth. He was putting effort to live his life the way someone else's does for few minutes in front of the camera. The greatest shock was picking up a book where his role model had picked up several lines he felt he made up. Lines that motivated him was from someone else.

Growing up, I had role models from the media [I won't deny that]. I admired Michael Jackson; felt if I made my hair long enough it would be as long and flowing as his. I admired the cast and crew of Star Wars because of the belief the movie was shot in space. I admired Kevin Arnold in "The Wonder Years": I still admire Kevin Arnold in "The Wonder Years".

I began to question role models during my secondary school years and strongly admired Britney Spears. I could say she was my role model. It was the period she was "losing it"; getting married [the first time], going bald, dropping her kid… the period where her career was good as gone and how she bounced back. Prior to that, I never like her and her music because she was "perfect". My life wasn't perfect and definitely not all smiles but that was what she projected. When everything went downwards, I was able to relate with her as a human and not a pop princess. That opened my eyes to the struggle people faced when no one was looking. From that moment my favorite musicians were those who brought that life to their music, like the band Blue October.

Regardless, my opinion is do not let your role model come from TV and if your role model wasn't under your roof, then be yours.

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