Star-struck teens: A fad or a foe?



Rima Al-Mukhtar

Published — Wednesday 30 January 2013

Last update 30 January 2013 6:47 am

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Singing along to Lady Gaga is one thing, but imitating her sense of fashion and way of life is quite another. After all, many celebrities, divas and superstars are terrible role models.
“I love Lady Gaga’s clothing. She is unique and nobody can do fashion like she does,” said 17-year-old student Heba Talal. “I sometimes try to imitate her in part of my clothing because I know it’s an eye catching style that no one dares to wear. No one understands my love for Lady Gaga. I see people all around me listening to her music and singing along to it, but when it comes to me impersonating her, it’s like I did something wrong! I mean, come on, this icon is getting dressed by major fashion brands like Armani and Cavalli!”
Families are getting more concerned about their children’s behavior due to offensive lyrics and video clips.
“This obsessive compulsive behavior is all because of people in the music industry who keep making these catchy, inappropriate songs just for money,” said Intesar Mohammed, a concerned mother. “Their music is nothing compared to their video clips that are filled with sex scenes and naked models — going against our Islamic religion and traditions. Yet, I cannot ask my children to not watch them because they will find a way to do so behind my back.”
According to 13-year-old student, Basma Mohammed, it is very easy nowadays to get the latest news and gossip about celebrities. All you have to do is search the Internet.
“I usually surf the Web looking for news on my favorite celebrities. I feel like it has become a new hobby of mine to know more about them and their life. I have a huge folder with all Justin Bieber’s news updates and pictures, as I admire him the most — not just his music but his looks and style too,” said Mohammed.
Even more, teen bedrooms have turned into photo albums of their favorite celebrity icons, reflecting their love for them.
“I designed my bedroom according to Hanna Montana’s bedroom in her show. I watched this show so much that I styled my room after hers and added some photos of her as an artistic touch,” said Lama Awwam, a 15-year-old student. “My mother rejected the idea at first but my insistence made her finally agree. After all, I’m just a teenager and my room is my kingdom, so I should be able to do what I want with it.”
Concerned mother Hadeel A. said this obsession with celebrities is just a phase teenagers go through. “My 13-year-old daughter is obsessed with one of the Jonas brothers, as they are both diabetic. I sympathize with this fact, but I don’t support her obsession with this figure and I don’t encourage it — I usually ignore her comments and actions. However, we all used to do the same thing when were young and our obsession faded with time, so what’s the harm?”
In fact, Hadeel’s daughter changed her last name on Facebook to Yasmin Jonas (naming herself after Nick Jonas) as she deeply wishes for a happy ending with the singer. “After I attended my first Jonas Brothers concert, I was hooked. I now own a couple of posters that are hung in my bedroom and a necklace that I will never take off,” she said. “I would agree to marry him in a heartbeat!”
Eighteen-year-old Rafeef Jadaani’s obsession went from Barney to Twilight. Ever since the age of three, she had been obsessing with one icon after another.
“I remember when I was three, I used to memorize all the songs from the Barney Show, as my parents used to play them over and over to me. Then, I started loving the Twilight TV series, especially Edward, the main character. I keep his picture in my wallet and as the background for my laptop and cell phone. Just looking at him makes me feel good and happy, so why not? I believe that years from now I’ll be laughing at myself, but for now, I’m just going to enjoy the moment,” said Jadaani.
Essam Ali, a family therapist and consultant, said the freedom that celebrities have is the reason why most teenagers follow them and want to be them.
“Those teenagers wish to have their own life, house, money and car. I believe that normal teenagers are expected to study and graduate from school and that’s pretty much it. But they want more out of life than just that. This is one main reason why they obsess over celebrities and divas even if just through Internet pages and by taking their photos,” said Ali.
“Normally parents shouldn’t disallow this phase because it’s harmless. They should also not make fun of their teenage children for feeling attached to pop idols. Many people find it appalling and annoying, but like I said, it’s just a phase that goes away with time so let them enjoy their teenage life.”

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