Student and Graduate Publishing

Not Impressed by Reality TV Stars

Wednesday, 09 July 2014 12:37

Teen Dream is to Succeed – and Fame Follows

Celebrities who are famous through a successful career and hard work, such as Tom Daley and Beyoncé, appeal to teenagers more than reality stars. Teenagers are more likely to admire celebrities whose fame is perceived to be earned. 

A new study suggests that the majority of young people aim to work in a variety of professions, despite the view that they crave fame above everything else, from medicine to law and business to teaching - as well as jobs in the creative industries and manual trades. 

Fame is still considered desirable, but as the result of hard work. This fame is based on achievements and being a good role model. 

The study that is challenging this youth stereotype, ‘The Role of Celebrity in Young People's Classed and Gendered Aspirations', comes from Brunel University's Heather Mendick and Manchester Metropolitan University's Kim Allen, and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Dr Mendick said: "Our study shows that very few teenagers aspire to become celebrities, looking instead at a variety of more traditional jobs. Many also recognise the pitfalls of a celebrity lifestyle such as lack of privacy or pressure to look a certain way."

Dr Allen added: "Those who view fame more positively don't see it as a reward in and of itself. Famous faces who they believed become household names on the back of hard work and career success were considered the most inspirational figures."

This study has been ongoing for two years and is the first one of its kind. It takes into consideration the views of roughly 150 14 to 17 year olds from a range of different ethnic and class backgrounds.

The findings of this study are to be debated with a panel of experts at Brunel University on Friday July 11th. See here for details.

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