Dread the red carpet: Teens turn their back on celebrities, claims Manchester university study

Teenagers are no longer aspiring to be the next Kim Kardashian or Joey Essex, according to a recent study by Manchester Metropolitan University.

Dr Kimberly Allen from MMU’s Education and Social Research Institute was part of a team of researchers who investigated the effect of celebrity culture on teenagers.

The results showed that rather than aspiring to follow in the footsteps of X Factor wannabes and z-list Big Brother contestants, teenagers were more inspired by hard-working celebrities.

Tom Daley and Emma Watson were seen to be influential role models who were not money-driven, while footballers’ salaries were dismissed as ‘ridiculous’.

“Rather than being an indication of young people’s hunger for fame, their talk about celebrity suggest they are critical consumers of celebrity culture,” said Dr Allen.

“It also suggests that celebrity culture performs an important function as young people try to make sense of their place in the world including inequalities in who gets what.”

Dr Allen, along with researchers from London Brunel University and the University of Surrey, interviewed 148 14-17 year olds in schools across the country.

The research showed that instead of being envious of the celebrity lifestyle, teenagers were actually grateful for the normality of their own lives.

Some were jealous of the status and money that celebrities receive but when comparing themselves to celebrities they said that their own lives seemed better in comparison.

The study concludes that teenagers take pleasure in being ‘ordinary’ but celebrities play an important role in helping youngsters work out their place in the world.

“We regularly hear politicians and media pundits bemoan young people’s lack of aspiration and desires to be rich and famous,” added Dr Allen.

“In contrast, by talking to young people we have found that few teenagers actually aspire to easy fame.”

Image courtesy of Kalumba2009 with thanks

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