Monday, 18 May 2015

Celebrity Divorces: How the Media Effects Teens’ Views on Marriage and Divorce

If you haven’t heard about Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage, you must be living under a rock.
Either that or you blinked and missed it. Though many predicted this outcome, I was devastated to hear the heart-breaking news. I really thought that they would live together forever, but that word– forever– seems foreign in the world of entertainment; worlds where celebrity marriages last as long as the fashion trends that come with them. It’s bad enough 50% of marriages end in divorce. What is a teen supposed to think when every magazine, website, and entertainment show’s latest celebrity news is about celebrity divorce? What is a parent supposed to do when their teen tells them they don’t want to get married because they’re afraid of divorce? A little girl’s dreams of her perfect wedding day stays just that, a dream. Teens are influenced dramatically by the media in the way we look, think, and speak. So when it is cluttered with celebrity divorce, it shines a negative light on the whole idea of marriage.
The national divorce rate is 50% according to the Divorce statistics collection from America’s Divorce Reform. I use the word arguably because there are many factors that contribute to this outlandish statistic, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Instead, let’s revisit some of the latest celebrity divorces. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore ended their marriage after 7 years. Jennifer Lopez and the adorable Marc Anthony called it quits after 7 years, even with two beautiful twins. Mel Gibson lost half of his fortune to his ex-wife after 31 years together! Katy Perry and Russell Brand, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, Heidi Klum and Seal. The list goes on and on. Though the national divorce rate is “50%”, this applies to the normal everyday US citizen who doesn’t star in blockbuster movies or have a #1 song on Billboard’s hot 100. Do you know what the average celebrity divorce rate is? 80%. That means roughly only 2 out of 10 Hollywood marriages survive. If that sounds bad to you, imagine how that affects a teen. It leaves us with little hope of ever having a successful marriage.
20 years. That’s how long my parents have been married. My parents never had to tell me how sacred the bond of marriage is, I just always knew. They never had to tell me that marriage is forever, no givsies backsies, though they’ve received countless eye rolls from trying to tell me who to marry. I think I’ll make the right decision when the time comes. My mother could never grasp the idea of celebrity divorces. She comes from a foreign country where a man has multiple wives or will even abandon his wife, family, and country for another woman. To her, divorce due to irreconcilable differences seems a tad bit extreme. Most, if not all, of my friends’ parents are either divorced or separated. In America where the divorce rate is already so high, and celebrity divorces just add fuel to the fiery, blistering furnace we call divorce.
Now, parents, what can you do to reassure your child that marriage is not completely hopeless?
Though you may be a divorcee yourself, you still want your child to be open to marriage and all of its benefits. Let them know that marriage is still important, and if they wish to spend the rest of their life with someone, then by all means so be it. Teach them not to be afraid of all they have seen and heard about the “dangers” of marriage.  Statistics don’t define relationships, never mind celebrities!  Don’t let celebrities discourage their view of marriage. Though the media portrays marriage as just something people do, and divorce as a quick fix to any marital problem, marriage is a huge deal. Marriage is a sacred, ceremonious joining of two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together- forever. Let them know marriage is not easy by any means, and divorce should not be a get out of jail free card. They’re going to have bad days, really bad days, and days when they just want to give up, but they should remember the vow they made, for better or for worse, till death do us part.  Married couples have the power to define their relationships and the media should not impact the way they do so. In marriage, they’re going to shed a lot of tears, and maybe even sweat a little too, but marriage is also a beautiful thing. These couples get to share their lives together and create a family. They get to be with each other for eternity! And to me, there’s nothing greater than that.
Though our modern world is relentlessly changing every day, we don’t have to sacrifice the revered age-old concept of marriage. Marriage has dated back to 1250 C.E and is recognized all over the world. Magazines, gossip sites, Hollywood access, and E! News may never realize how negatively they portray marriage, but you as parents can do something about that. You can make your little girl’s dream of one day walking down the aisle, a reality.

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