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How pop stars impact your child's hopes and dreams

The research is clear that celebrities have a tremendous influence on children and teenagers much more than they do on adults. So celebrities are often used directly to sell stuff to kids, but also the whole celebrity culture sells a certain set of values to our children. So the way that celebrities dress, for example, the way that they present themselves, has a tremendous impact on how our children want to present themselves or want to be seen. The fan base for many celebrities is very young kids, especially little girls. So a lot of the pop stars who might be in their late teens or their twenties have a fan base of little girls who are eight, nine, ten years old and they want to look like these stars and they want to dress like them and this pushes them to a very early kind of sexualization for one thing. Another thing it does is it really affects the values because the relationships of these celebrities are so much apart of our popular culture. So it's everywhere we look, we see about marriages or break ups or divorces or things that are happening with celebrities and this has an impact on how our children learn to think about relationships and about what's important in relationships or even how permanent a relationship might be, and they learn that relationships are based on sex appeal and attractiveness, and they also learn that relationships are pretty disposable, they're not very permanent, they don't last very long.

Jean Kilbourne, EdD Author & Social Theorist, shares advice for parents on the impact that recent studies show that pop stars have on your child's hopes and dreams


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Jean Kilbourne, EdD

Author & Social Theorist

Jean Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. Her films, lectures, and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. She was named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses.

She is the author of the award-winning book Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids. The prize-winning films based on her lectures include Killing Us Softly, Spin the Bottle, and Slim Hopes. She is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, including “The Today Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She has served as an advisor to the Surgeon General and has testified for the U.S. Congress. She holds an honorary position as Senior Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women.

According to Susan Faludi, “Jean Kilbourne’s work is pioneering and crucial to the dialogue of one of the most underexplored, yet most powerful, realms of American culture —advertising. We owe her a great debt.” A member of the Italian Parliament said, “Hearing Jean Kilbourne is a profound experience. Audiences leave her feeling that they have heard much more than another lecture, for she teaches them to see themselves and their world differently.”

She has received many awards, including the Lecturer of the Year award from the National Association for Campus Activities. A more unusual tribute was paid when an all-female rock group in Canada named itself Kilbourne in her honor.

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