“The Girl Who Was Plugged in” and Positive Role Models

Table of Content

The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Tiptree, Jr. (the pen name of Alice Bradley Sheldon) is a brief sci-fi novel that portrays a society without permitted formal advertising. Nonetheless, the businessmen from GTX cooperation discover methods to bypass this prohibition. They recognize, similar to contemporary advertising executives, that humans possess an inherent inclination to admire and mimic prosperous individuals. As a result, individuals develop a longing for the goods and services they see attractive and glamorous people utilizing.

Society has a consistent longing for fame and wealth, evident in the admiration of celebrities portrayed in television and magazines. Although some of these idols possess talent and achievement, our media is primarily focused on untalented figures involved in scandalous acts such as socialites undergoing numerous plastic surgeries or reality TV stars being arrested for DUI.

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Celebrity role models contribute to a skewed perception of reality among the younger population. They promote the idea that success can be achieved through engagement in scandals, excessive drug use, and resorting to extreme physical alterations. It is not difficult to list a few widely recognized celebrities like Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and Snooki. However, it is challenging to articulate the exact reasons for their widespread fame. Nowadays, celebrities are often popular solely for the sake of being famous, rather than for their genuine skills or talents. An editorial cartoon from Investor’s Business Daily succinctly depicts this notion.

The illustration shows a young girl seated on a slab labeled “CELEBRITY WORSHIP” at the foot of an ancient Mayan temple, accompanied by her parents. The girl expresses her desire to emulate several celebrities including Paris, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Anna Nicole Smith. In response, her parents wear traditional sacrificial headdresses and hold a knife decorated with skulls as they inform her that they will render her brainless. Appropriately named “The Human Sacrifice,” this cartoon effectively conveys its message.

If the girl were to adopt the shallow and fame-seeking behaviors of the celebrities she admires, it would result in the loss of a human life. The female figures she looks up to are primarily known for their scandalous lifestyles, which would be a waste of talent and a missed opportunity for them to make a great contribution to society. If this young girl were to imitate the promiscuous and party-going ways of these women, whom she sees as ideals, it would only be because the media has conditioned her to believe that this is how one attains status.

The artist’s use of a Mayan-inspired setting is not accidental, as the Mayans were famous for predicting the world’s end in 2012. The cartoonist implies that society may face a similar fate if the younger generation continues to pursue fame without purpose or exerting necessary effort. Instead, they opt for an easy path to notoriety, disregarding the importance of talent and skill. It is becoming increasingly common for celebrities, including both reality stars and highly talented actors, musicians, and athletes, to engage in substance abuse, such as hard drug usage and alcohol misuse.

It is challenging to imagine a scenario where someone watches television without being bombarded with news about Lindsay Lohan’s multiple cases of driving under the influence or Charlie Sheen proudly bragging about exceeding limits on cocaine consumption (Charlie Sheen says…). These people attract more and more attention because of their excessive drug usage, which becomes the defining characteristic of their lives. Even talented celebrities turn to drugs to enhance their abilities, as observed with athletes using steroids.

Barry Bonds, a previous player for the San Francisco Giants, was found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs during the season in which he achieved a record-breaking 72 home runs. Although this conviction damaged his public image, Bonds retains his title as “Bonds Exposed”. This confirmation further reinforces the belief that drug and alcohol usage is seen as socially desirable by young people, in addition to the customary peer pressure faced in school. Drug abuse has become prevalent among individuals from all walks of life, especially those who achieve success.

Despite there being plenty of successful and well-known individuals who do not indulge in drugs, or at least not publicly, their stories do not receive as much attention as those who do. Consequently, the desire to mimic these positive role models diminishes. Public recognition and rewards are not given for good behavior in this scenario. One of the most controversial trends in Hollywood right now is cosmetic surgery. It has become increasingly common for movie stars and models to undergo “a little work” on their appearance. While sometimes it may be a minor procedure, extreme plastic surgery procedures make headlines and are utilized for gaining publicity. Heidi Montag, a former star of the popular MTV reality show The Hills, is now more famous for undergoing ten cosmetic operations in one day than for her role in the series (Oldenburg). This contributes to the unrealistic Western beauty standard and implies that striving to attain it can lead to fame. Even other celebrities feel pressured to achieve physical perfection.

According to Tauber and Smolowe, certain individuals, including Mary-Kate Olsen, have sadly endured eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. This not only distresses the celebrities but also profoundly impacts those who admire them. Some people may read these accounts and believe that the sole means of achieving an ideal body shape is through starvation or engaging in unhealthy practices such as bingeing and purging – either because they genuinely find it appealing or because they are influenced to think so. However, in truth, participating in these behaviors not only results in physical harm but also causes psychological detriment.

Despite their exceptional physical beauty and remarkable accomplishments, celebrities often struggle to meet the standards they have set for themselves. This poses a greater challenge for average individuals aspiring to reach such levels of perfection. Nonetheless, humans are naturally drawn to those who have achieved great success, which perpetuates the fascination with celebrities. However, problems arise when attaining celebrity status becomes the ultimate goal in itself. It is crucial that people of all ages, including children and young adults, are exposed to positive role models instead of being influenced by reality TV stars who thrive on creating drama. Unfortunately, media outlets show no signs of changing their tactics anytime soon as scandalous stories continue to attract attention. Consequently, individuals must rely on their own judgment and employ strategies known for leading to success.

Work Cited

“Bonds exposed.” Sports Illustrated 7 Mar. 2006. Web. 22 Sept. 2012.

“Charlie Sheen Says He’s ‘Not Bipolar but.” Good Morning America. CBS Broadcasting, Inc. 28 Feb. 2011. Web. 21 Sept. 2012.

Oldenburg, Ann. “Heidi Montag has 10 plastic surgery procedures.” USA Today 13 Jan. 2010. Web.

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“The Girl Who Was Plugged in” and Positive Role Models. (2017, Jan 06). Retrieved from


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