How am I supposed to get any writing done when I’m spending my time worrying about Lindsay Lohan? Seriously…that’s the kind of stuff I’ve been worrying about! (That, and the fact that my silver dress for the costume party at SCBWI’s national conference doesn’t exactly fit right now.)
The reason why I’m worried about Lindsay has to do with the teen girls who idolize her more than her as a person. As a writer, I’m obsessed with what my audience is obsessed about. And I can’t help but wonder if the bad behavior of some of these young Hollywood-ites (Britney, Paris, Lindsay, etc.) affects teen girls in some way.
When I was a teen (I know…yawn!) I was growing up when the “Brat Pack” was coming of age. You know…Molly Ringwald, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe (well, the entire cast of St. Elmo’s Fire). And my music idols (as far as girls went) were the Go-Go’s. We got the beat! Come on, you know you loved it, too. I pretty much wanted to be Belinda Carlisle. What an absolute babe!
But I can’t imagine if one day my mother had come into my room (while I was dancing to Vacation and wearing tons of bracelets on my arms with my hair in a straight-up pony tail) and told me that Belinda Carlisle had been arrested for DUI, felony cocaine possession, had shaved her head, shown her hoo-hoo to the paparazzi, trashed her dressing room, and, oh yeah, you can now download her sex tape on the internet. Can you imagine!?
Granted, there was plenty of partying back then. It just wasn’t “top of the hour” news on CNN. We weren’t being crammed with the personal antics of our idols and how this should “worry” us. Now the public can’t get enough of celebrity bad behavior, as if they’re watching the stories of characters, not people. So should teen writers create characters that will satiate the public’s need for watching people be bad?
The thing is, I understand that girls who are “bad” make good characters. Remember Rayanne, Angela’s wild best friend on My So-Called Life? I loved watching that show just so I could see how wild she would get. Watching someone whose lifestyle was just a hair out of touch from my own was exhilarating. But compared to the Lindsay-Paris-Britney girls of today, Rayanne was a pussy cat!
So I can’t help but wonder…is the base of knowledge teen girls have regarding drinking/sex/drugs so much higher than it was for us at that age? Do we need to amp up our characters we’re writing about and make them even wilder in order to keep things authentic? Or is this a case of Three Girls Gone Wild Who Will Crash and Burn for Our Entertainment?
Whatever the case, I’m now going to focus all my worrying on this silver dress of mine that doesn’t fit. Otherwise, I might run into Paris and she’ll say, “That’s not hot.”