Friday, June 08, 2007

A Different World

As a part time job, I nanny for two kids, a boy (2), and a girl (8). The other day, Emma and I were watching "Get A Clue" starring Lindsay Lohan (pre-rehab), and as the credits rolled, my little companion turned to me and said, "She's so pretty. Too bad she's a drug person. What a waste." And (having used up her allotted television time for the day on the movie) went on her merry way, building fashionistas out of model magic and coloring. Emma, like most children her age, still values the opinion of her parents more than the people she sees on TV.

Now, I love celebrities. I take a special interest, it seems, in the ladies of so-called "Young Hollywood." Lindsay Lohan, Mischa Barton, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Britney Spears. It's like watching that nice girl you used to play with from across the street doing body shots at her first frat party. You can't stop liking her because she's made a couple of bad decisions, and you definitely can't look away. You just try to remember the good times and maybe help her put her shirt back on at the end of the night.

But then again, I'm 20. These girls are my peers, not my role models. I grew up with the Spice Girls. Cameras didn't follow them around day and night, catching them throwing up outside of a club or shaving their heads in a fit of insanity. At least, that's not the Spice World I remember. It was all "girl power!" and shiny outfits and I was on board. But now we've got a batch of ex Disney child stars gone wild running around Hollywood, and kids are interested. They recognize Lindsay Lohan from "Freaky Friday" and now she's accused of grand theft, DUI, posession of cocaine and is back in rehab? For the second time! Britney Spears has been plastered all over TV from the time she was a pre-teen, from the Mickey Mouse Club to Pepsi commercials, and we're all well aware of her downward spiral. Granted, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie have never been marketed towards children (thank God), but they're out there and little girls especially are watching. And now Paris has just finished a stint in jail, Nicole Richie is close behind her and Mischa Barton has become Marissa Cooper.

Like I said, I'm all about it. You keep drinking vodka out of that Poland Springs bottle, Lindsay. Who cares about which side of the freeway you're supposed to drive on, Nicole? But parents need to be more aware of how much exposure to these crazies their children are receiving. They obviously do not have your kids' best interest in mind, so that means you have to. It is unfair to put upon these young ladies such a responsibility when it's clear that they can hardly get themselves safely from sun up to sun down. Stop the madness, turn off the TV and have a chat with the little ones about these "drug people." God only knows when Hannah Montana is going to start taking off her pants in public, so let's not leave it to her or anyone else to shape a young person's sense of morality. The girl down the street is going to grow up and get herpes no matter how upset it makes the neighborhood. You can't change what she's doing, but you can stop hiring her to babysit.

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