Female American-based pop-singers have become more popular over the years in America. Women in this position can be powerful role-models for the adolescent female population. However, concern has been raised over whether these artists use this influence positively or if they have a negative influence. Although there are a few artists who clearly use their influence in a positive way, the majority seem to affect girls negatively. Firstly, the life-style of female American pop-singers and the ideas they convey through their song lyrics reinforce materialism in adolescent girls. Secondly, these artists have a negative influence on the body image of teenage girls. Thirdly female pop-singers from America display self-destructive behaviour and are bad role-models. Consequently, female American pop-singers have a negative influence on teenage girls.
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Due to the life-style choices female American pop-stars make and the ideas they express in their song lyrics, female pop-singers from America reinforce materialism in teenage girls. Many of these pop-singers clearly express materialistic ideas in their songs. In the song ‘Material Girl’, written by Peter Brown and Robert Rans, Madonna sings: ”Because the boy with the cold hard cash / Is always Mister Right, because we are/ Living in a material world and I am a material girl.” The song has been covered by several pop-culture icons like Britney Spears and Hilary Duff, introducing the song to new generations each time. Another example is Nicki Minaj’s song ‘1234’: “And I call Saks Fifth Ave-y home. That is where a real bad Barbie roam.” By Saks Fifth Ave she means the store Saks, located on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Saks is a store which sells only the most expensive designer clothing. Nicki Minaj declares with these lyrics that girls who want to be cool, who want to be like her, should shop at this particular store. By expressing this, she encourages materialism. What might be even more influential than their song lyrics are the life-style choices female American pop-singers make. Jennifer Lopez wore a 15000 dollar dress to last year’s Grammy awards. In 2011, the birthday present Beyoncé bought her husband was a Bugatti worth two million dollars. Most of the handbags these women carry with them do not have prices under 3000 dollars. Teenage girls who look up to these women will start thinking that being like their idols includes having the same expensive items they have. The combined pressure of what female American pop-singers express in their songs and the life-style choices they make reinforce materialism in teenagers.
Female American pop-singers influence the body image of teenage girls in a negative way. Some female pop artists start their career with an average body, but often succumb to the general beauty ideal in the world of stardom. A fitting example is the story of Demi Lovato, a young woman who started her career by singing and acting for Disney. She was often referred to as the ‘fat’ Disney girl. By now Demi has admitted she started suffering from Anorexia Nervosa because the pressure of having to be thin became too much for her. Other female American pop-stars who suffered from eating disorders are Alanis Morissette, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson and Mariah Carey, and there are many more. All started out with an average body but lost weight until they were more like other celebrities in their environment. Teenage girls idolize these pop-singers and see them as their role-models; they will do almost anything to achieve a similar look to their idols. In her M.A. thesis on feminism Jodie Simons wrote: “This appeal to adolescent girls to conform to strict hegemonic norms of beauty is not simply embodied in the artist’s appearance but is also sung about in their songs.” An example of such a song is Katy Perry’s ‘California Gurls’. In the music video of this song Katy Perry is either naked or she is wearing a miniature bikini. She herself is the ultimate California girl. The appearance of American female pop artists, as well as the message about beauty they convey in their lyrics, is unrealistic and are a negative influence on adolescent women.
Female American pop-singers often display self-destructive behaviour and are bad role models because of this. Since they are celebrities, their choices and behaviour are constantly watched by the media. Magazines and television channels rather show bad behaviour than good behaviour because it is more interesting to the public and thus brings in more money. The world of female pop artists is very competitive; there is always fresh talent. This competitiveness causes artists to try to stay in the spotlight at any cost. The artists also have more occasions on which they will be inclined to make bad decisions than young adults without these resources or circumstances. Yet, these artists are role-models and should act like they are. Rihanna, now 24, is a perfect example of a bad role model. Rihanna expresses very graphic sexual ideas in some of her songs, which are degrading to women. She also claims in her songs that women should invite men to have sex with them. Rihanna confessed she had a sex-addiction herself. There are several nude photos of her on the internet that are easy to find. In February 2009, Rihanna was brutally beaten by her partner, Chris Brown, a few weeks ago it became official that she is involved with Chris Brown once again. Rihanna gives her younger fans graphic ideas about sexuality, she degrades femininity and she indirectly claims it is forgivable when a woman is beaten by her partner. This year Rihanna was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. Being so influential Rihanna is a bad role-model for the millions of adolescent girls who adore her. Another example is Miley Cyrus, a Disney child-star who wanted a more adult image and started dancing with a stripper pole, with barely any clothes on in one of her music videos. This left parents with teenage daughters horrified, since their child’s idol had suddenly transformed into a bad role-model. There are certainly female pop artists in America who are decent or good role-models. However, they are overshadowed by a majority of bad role-models. Female pop artists in America are always role-models, but because of the self-destructive choices they make and the bad behaviour they display they become bad role-models.
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To conclude, the life-style of female pop artists from America and the suggestions in their song lyrics strengthen materialism in young girls. Secondly, female American pop-singers have a negative influence on teenage girls. Thirdly, these pop artists are bad role-models partly because of the self-destructive behaviour they exhibit. Although there are female pop artists in America who do not influence girls in such a way, the extent of their colleagues who do have this negative influence is much greater. In general, female American pop-singers have a negative influence on teenage girls.
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