Last night, I spent the evening watching one of the most spectacular, mind boggling shows I've ever seen. The stunts had me holding my breath, the dancing was a stunning balance of strength and vulnerability, and the vocals were amazing, even if you didn't consider the athletic feats Pink performed while singing.
Pink got me thinking about the idea of celebrity and its relation to role models, because of her songs about believing in yourself, and the stories she told to the audience.
While the concept of celebrity is often villanized, it's something more important to society than we might realize. Stars are regular people with regular experiences who have gained a following, elevated their voices on a pedestal, gained riches, opportunity, and a life that most people couldn't dream of. And, while some people call it unfair or unrealistic, I think it's important to show this select group triumphing to prove success is a possibility regardless of what you must overcome to achieve it.
Of course, many of those who reach celebrity status never do much good with it, but, like with anything, you take the good with the bad. From this construct of fame, though, we get performers like Pink, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, and Taylor Swift who prove that being unique is okay. These kids who were bullied, beat down, and were never quite "right" for society grew up to be adults that same society begged for tickets to see.
It's one thing to tell a bullied kid that one day they'll be the one with the power, with the full life; that people will appreciate them. It's another to show them examples, give them music that speaks to their experiences, and the real hope to rise above their situation with grace. Even if these fans don't feel like they can believe in themselves, hearing that it's okay to be the way they are from someone they admire could be enough to keep them moving forward.
Bullying is a problem we're unfortunately never going to solve. It has existed in society since there was society, and it's a horrific concept we will never understand well enough to solve. What we can do is elevate the voices of those using their platforms to speak out for love, understanding, and equality. We can show kids living proof of people who are special because they are different. Then, maybe we won't lose quite so many special people to the crippling pressures to conform.