The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Fame-culture harms children

Fame has been a cultural craving for almost every generation. However, the younger generations have always been the main target for upcoming stardom. Child actors like Lindsay Lohan, Corey Haim, the Olsen twins and many others have been destroyed by the damaging affects of Hollywood. 

Why is it that Hollywood seeks out young children? Why is it that the current generation of parents are pushing their children to become Hollywood stars?

Psychology Today shared an article stating that a majority of child actors are pampered and protected in Hollywood, which can lead to them being socially inept in everyday tasks such as laundry, cleaning and cooking. 

This can inevitably lead to a mindset of accepted ignorance and entitlement. According to the article, Mary-Kate Olsen claimed she would never wish her upbringing on anyone and that she would never repeat her upbringing in the public eye. 

 I personally have no problem with young people seeking fame if that is what they feel called to do. I do, however, have a problem with adults exploiting children for money and stripping them of their childhood for the sake of public entertainment. 

While there have been plenty of child actors like Jodie Foster, Natalie Portman, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brooke Shields who were fortunate enough to ease into a healthy adulthood, we have to understand that most young actors and actresses are not that fortunate. 

Two of the most infamous examples of this would be Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus. These two young women made their television and movie debuts at a very young age and reaped the benefits that Hollywood offers. However, as they transitioned into adulthood, it seems their lives had fallen apart. 

A huge problem with child actors, specifically these two who played very innocent characters their whole lives, is when they try to transition into adulthood, the public shames them, and Hollywood makes money off of this shame. They cannot be caught drinking, expressing sexuality or doing almost any regular adult activities without being shamed by the public.

Salon interviewed Mara Wilson who starred in the films Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda, and she opened up about some of the reasons child actors leave the spotlight. 

In the interview, Wilson recalled several inappropriate incidents she experienced on the red carpet at the age of seven. She stated that a reporter asked her how she felt about Hugh Grant’s prostitution arrest, a question way too mature for a 7-year-old girl. 

Wilson also reminded parents that it is still legal to plaster the face of a child on a nude adult’s body, something disturbing that happened to her, and that in general parents should keep children away from Hollywood. Articles like this are chilling to read, but necessary for the protection of these children. Wilson now attends New York University and is pursuing a writing career, claiming it has given her a sense of reality. 

While TV, commercials and movies are a traditional way of seeking fame, Hollywood has also gone to social media outlets like Instagram, Vine and Twitter to seek out young talent. 

Narrative shared an article about a woman named Zulay Vasquez, the mother of 7-year-old Haileigh Vasquez, who had been getting into serious trouble with her daughter’s school principal for repeatedly pulling her out of class early for modeling and casting calls. 

The article claimed people on the street swooned over the way Vasquez dressed her daughter from a young age, and this is why she began posting pictures of her daughter at the age of three on Instagram. Four years later, Haileigh has approximately 129,000 followers on the account @hails_world. The social media posts have turned her into a child model. 

The article stated that Hailiegh has walked down the Saks red carpet for back-to-school events and has done New York Fashion week three years in a row. Her photographer, Shelly Perry, claimed, “She’s a little Audrey Hepburn,” who is a natural in front of the camera.

There are thousands of young children who are beautiful and possess the specific talent that will get them on a runway or big screen. However, we need to let children be children again rather than subjecting them to the media, and even social media, for our personal enjoyment. 

We need to teach our 7-year-old girls how to ride bikes instead of teaching them how to own the catwalk. We need to teach children to learn how to play in the dirt with their friends, not teach them how to become Instagram famous. 

Children need to have fun, learn, and grow. They should not be chased down the street by strange men—or even their own mothers—with cameras.

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Fame-culture harms children