April 7, 2014

So… What’s Justin Bieber’s Problem?


If you haven’t heard by now, Justin Bieber isn’t playing video games with Usher anymore. Instead, he’s trying to convince us that he has grown up and, in the process, seems to have grown an allergy to wearing shirts in public or pants that fit. He has a full sleeve of tattoos, has been caught coming out of brothels in South America, has been halted at airports under drug suspicions, and – oh yeah – been arrested for driving under the influence.

As much fire as Bieber comes under and as many jokes as people make about him, he is just the latest example of child stars behaving badly – think Demi Lovato and Lindsay Lohan – even Selena Gomez has gone to rehab! This is by no means a new problem – Drew Barrymore broke out with her role in ET and was doing cocaine at 13 and had two stints in rehab before her 15th birthday. This issue seems to beg the question… what’s with these child stars?

Seems like yesterday he was just playing video games with Ryan!

In answering this question, we have to remember to put the situation in context. Some of these stars have been in the business since infancy – is it any surprise that they haven’t had a normal childhood? They face enormous pressures – to perform, to provide for their families, and to act as role models – and as teenagers, they are idolized by tens of thousands of kids wanting to be just like them. They grow up knowing that they’re special and rarely do they hear “no” for an answer. Pair this abnormal childhood with the struggle that comes from trying to grow up and teenage rebellion… what can go wrong?

While we’ve all made (perhaps plenty of) mistakes growing up, we didn’t have to do it with the eyes of the public watching. Celebrities are scrutinized for everything they wear, say, and do, but why are they expected to hold different standards? Are these breakdowns just a result of these kids collapsing under pressure? Are we, as consumers, accelerating this with our society’s fascination with celebrities? Let’s be honest, Justin Bieber may have gone down this path even if he weren’t famous. However, maybe we can take this opportunity to consider a bigger issue.

Have we taken the celebrity culture too far?
Photos via In Touch Weekly, People Magazine, and Us Weekly Magazine

Whether we like it or not, we live in a society that is heavily influenced by pop culture. Clothes, hair, music – celebrities are major figures and trendsetters. Maybe it’s time to take a step back and change our perspective on fame. Fame and fortune may allow stars to live a life of luxury, but what is at the expense of? People’s fascination with Justin Bieber brought him fame and success, but is it also the cause of his downfall? We turn regular people into commodities and hold them to extraordinary standards, but do we ever consider the effects of our society on these stars?

Feature photos via Wikipedia

About the Author

Dalena Nguyen
Dalena Nguyen
Dalena is a final year Business student at Simon Fraser University and is former editor of Recultured. She is a self-professed social media junkie, a Canucks fan, and an impulse shopper. When she's not running from meeting to meeting or trying to find her next meal, you can find her on Twitter @dalenanguyen_!

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