Are we focusing on the bigger issues?
Kylie Jenner, made famous by her large pout and celebrity siblings, celebrated her 18th birthday surrounded by close family, friends, and a few hundred fans. While she did get a new blonde hairdo for her special day, she definitely didn’t stop there. Kylie decided to host her party at her favorite celebrity nightclub, Bootsy Bellows. And the icing on the cake? She got to come home to a $320,000 Ferrari gifted to her by none other than her celebrity boyfriend, Tyga.
Many of us are already aware of how Kylie Jenner chose to spend her 18th due to her 40 million followers on Instagram. She made sure to keep her fans updated on every detail of the big day. SAS sophomore Nerina Vasileiadis said, “Kylie is a big fashion icon, I love her clothing and style tips that she posts on Instagram!”
But what people may not be aware of is another 18th birthday celebration that occurred this year. Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize winner, decided to spend her day opening a school for Syrian refugee children. She said, “Today on my first day as an adult, on behalf of the world’s children, I demand of leaders we must invest in books instead of bullets.”
While Kylie chose to spend her day focusing on herself, something a normal 18-year-old is expected to do, Malala chose to focus on making a long-lasting difference. It is quite interesting how both of these girls ended up on the same list two years in a row, Time Magazine’s List of Most Influential Teens. SAS sophomore Anjali Mehta said, “It was upsetting to see somebody like Malala who has won a nobel prize, took a bullet, and has done more than expected to help girls in her country on the same list as Kylie Jenner.”
Although most of us were aware of what Kylie Jenner was doing to celebrate, many media outlets relevant to a younger audience failed to mention what Malala was up to on her big day. Doing a simple Google search will show that Kylie’s activities were documented on networks such as Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Popsugar, Buzzfeed and Hollywood Life while Malala’s birthday activities were reported on BBC, NBC, and Time.
The big question here is: Why are news networks mainly followed by teenagers not reporting about teenagers making huge changes in the world?
According to the Smart Population Foundation, “Media influence can be more powerful if a celebrity role model says a particular lifestyle, product or behaviour is good. The hard work and success of these role models can be inspirational.”
Although it may have been more interesting to hear about Kylie’s new car and her multiple birthday bashes, we need to understand that there are individuals, like Malala, out there fighting to be heard and supported for doing the right thing and benefiting others, even on days when they have a right to be selfish, but chose not to.