Child Stars: The Need to Escape

11 May 2015

What do Miley Cyrus, Arianna Grande, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato all have in common? They were once all children, who dreamed of taking the stage and performing with all their heart and soul to a crowd that would listen. Children who actually managed to reach that dream before they hit their 20s. The teens who have literally grow up in the limelight, and have fortunately, developed successful careers in Hollywood. But they did not make it there un-scarred. 

As these young stars have grow up, they've found it difficult to mature into adulthood and shed their childhood star images. Why? Because that's what people have come to recognise them as - child stars. Individuals who literally embody the essence of childhood - especially those who grew up alongside them, watching them year after year right before their eyes.

Once you're a child starlet - especially a Disney one - you can't really escape. The world has watched you grow up in front of their very eyes, and they are not quite ready to let that image go. Being pigeon-holed in this way makes it very difficult for the world to take you seriously, especially as you attempt to develop as an artist and mature into a young adult. These child stars are almost imprisoned in the image of these roles, which gave them their stardom with no true escape; no light at the end of media scrutiny. The irony! So what do many of them do? The extreme opposite to shed and reject that very image.

I remember in my first year of university, I took a module which discussed how woman in popular culture were either stereotyped to be innocent or promiscuous. There was no 'true' middle ground. When you take a look at the recent examples of Disney/Nick child stars, it's hard to not ignore that theory. Sometimes the only way these artists have found to truly break out of that image, is by crossing the ultimate line defying the image they once held. Rejecting any form of innocence entirely. While I accept that everyone has a right and is granted the freedom of creative personal expression, it's almost like these stars have been unconsciously pushed into making their choices. Would they have presented themselves this way, if they didn't have this stigma held over them? If they were coming into their careers now, would this have been the route - or the even image - they would have chosen?

It's not fair that these young adults are being judged and held accountable for moral responsibility, purely because they reached their fame as kids. The amount of pressure that puts on a young adult who is still trying to figure out who they are is cruel and unjust. But unfortunately it's a system that's hard to change, but maybe discussing it can be the first step forward. Even just acknowledging it can be healthy step towards changing the status quo.

What are your thoughts on the subject? 

Image Source 1 2 3 / Edited by Creative in Arts

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