Twilight Spoilers, if that’s something you care about.
This topic was dated when I wrote about it for my other blog a year ago, August 16th. That being said, you’re going to have to think about popular trends that occurred quite a while ago, no easy task when popularity ebbs and flows as it does nowadays.
A little before my original writing on this subject, Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, and the Twilight novels were all the rage. I’m going to say right now that it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, with the hopes that what I’m about to say will back it up.
Every trend has its own share of supporters and critics. In this case, everyone everywhere (on the internet) was aghast at this cultural phenomenon that had befallen us. We (a collective we) were disgusted with this slurry that had become every teenage girl’s obsession, and we took every chance we could to denounce and deride Meyer’s novels, the Jonas’ music, and so on.
It struck me one day, however, what exactly we were doing. A lot of the issues that people were nitpicking (and deriding) were tenets that I not only agreed with, but that I lived by as well.
In Twilight Edward refuses to have premarital sex with Bella, and is adamant that if they are to go any further1 they must get married first. The Jonas Brothers wear purity rings to symbolize their commitment to, well, being pure.2 Lo and behold, these two items were brought under the most scrutiny and were mocked excessively.
So I questioned why, when girls finally had a half-decent role model, they were being ridiculed. Post-nowish Miley Cyrus didn’t wave the banner of blatant sexuality that former It girls Britney and Christina did,3 and that alone would have made me more comfortable letting my daughter obsess over her than many others.
From this point on in my original post I began to write about the Disney/Family Channel, but I’m not headed in that direction this time. What I want to focus on is the spirit of snarky judgementalism that seems to be permeating our culture. The constant search for what to demean and deride next, without any thought as to what good it may contain.
Yes, there are subjects which I will not defend [The Westboro Baptist Church, for example], but for the most part I’d like to call for moments of discernment whenever a target presents itself. Feel free to slam the Jonas Brothers for their musical ability, but leave their spiritual beliefs out of it.4 We should be able to consider that which we belittle and why it is we think so little of it.
To summarize what I’m trying to say, there was a point where people observed the fanatical, obsessive manner in which (pre)adolescents were throwing themselves at certain figures. In backlash against this behaviour they ridiculed their role models, yet targeted attributes which may not have been harmful for young people to mimic.
Be judgemental of those who garner the interest (and obsession) of many, but be smart (and civil) about it.
1. Than their creepy, unnatural kissing where she finds it difficult to find the air to breathe.
2. Meaning, in this case, to save themselves sexually for their future wives.
3. Not any more, though. You can’t release a single called “Can’t Be Tamed” and get away with it.
4. And their health issues. People made fun of Nick Jonas for being diabetic. I mean, why?