She may have given birth only last week, but it seems Kate Winslet’s mothering instinct knows no bounds. The Oscar winner is the latest celebrity to voice her concerns for pop star Miley Cyrus. She joins a list of stars who have already made public their worries, such as Sinead O’Connor, Annie Lennox, Cher, Pink, and Elton John.
Talking to Psychologies magazine, Winslet said, “You hear horror stories where you think, ‘God, who’s looking after these people and why does it seem like they’re losing their way?’” She continued: “I mean, you think about someone like Miley Cyrus, and I said to my daughter the other day, ‘I’m this close to opening my mouth about what’s going on with that girl.’ Who is actually saying, ‘Stop for a second, what do you want, who are you?’”
Winslet also began her career at a fairly young age, starring in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures at the age of 17 and at the age of 21 appearing nude in the film Jude. Explaining how she managed to avoid the pitfalls of young stardom, Winslet said: “I’ve just been very lucky that I’ve always been quite comfortable with who I am. Sometimes people ask, ‘What do you wish for your children?’ and all I say is, ‘I want them to be happy being them.’”
In the era Winslet rose to fame, she didn’t have to deal with all of the exposure and (sometimes) negative publicity that can come from the use of social media. “It’s really rough now,” the Mom of three, continued. “I think, for young actors, actresses and pop stars, it’s a nightmare. They can’t do anything. I’m so not going near that whole world — I don’t need it. I do feel incredibly lucky.”
Closer to home again, Winslet confessed her own fears about the impact of social media in relation to her own young family.
“We live in a world where we have to be aware of all this stuff, unfortunately. And it’s feeding this young generation in a way that’s beyond terrifying, so normal friendships aren’t even normal friendships any more because, half the time, they seem to be forging relationships with people they’ve never met.”
I couldn’t agree with Winslet more and have have had my own experiences with such fears. Last year my 14-year-old niece began to use a website where complete strangers could ask her questions. In between the typical “What guy would you date in our class?” and “Who is your best friend?” (typical teen chat) were darker, much more worrying questions that struck me because they were clearly being asked by an adult. I chatted with my sister about the whole issue, and she admitted she had no idea how to stop her daughter from using such sites. The thing is, our generation didn’t grow up with all of these social media minefields to cross. The worst thing for teenagers is that friends don’t have to call your home line anymore. Now you can get dumped by text, Facebook, Snapchat, email, cellphone, group hangouts on line, instant messenger, etc… And all that doesn’t even begin the to cover the issues that celebrities must have to deal with in this 24/7, uploading/photographing/commenting world.
Who are we, therefore, to blame Miley for exposing so much of herself in all of the areas of social media that she uses? Isn’t that what every young person is doing? I don’t blame Miley; she’s only 20 years old, after all, and she’s desperately trying to assert herself after years of (presumably) being quite controlled in her media image. She is doing what every teenage girl has done before her: She is simply rebelling. The more we tell her not to, the more she’ll run the other way. In complete agreement with Winslet, I blame those “looking out” for her. Who says: “Flesh-colored latex and grinding against a man twice your age? Great plan!” (As an aside, why isn’t Thicke getting any grief for his part in the VMA debacle? Why is it always the female who gets the mud slung at her?)
It seems that the phrase “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” is Miley’s mantra. The singer seems completely unfazed by all the attention and concern she’s getting. She has yet to respond to Winslet’s comments… What surprises me most is that she hasn’t stepped back and wondered: “That’s another person trying to look out for me … maybe I should take the hint?” I look at other young stars and am impressed at how they are able to negotiate fame. Take singer Lorde, for example, who said: “There are a lot of shock tactics these days. People trying to outdo each other, which will probably culminate in two people f***ing onstage at the Grammys. I try to keep blinkers on and focus on making music.” Or Emma Watson who appears utterly normal in all of her interviews and said: “Ignoring fame was my rebellion, in a funny way. I was insistent on being normal and doing normal things.”
Emma did rebellion, but she didn’t feel she had to go to extremes to do so. The thing about social media is that once it is out there — it STAYS there. Gone are the days of “today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper.” Now, it stays online — re-tweeted, tagged or uploaded — forever. Personally I wish that schools would teach kids about all the positive and negative aspects of social media; how to use it wisely and how to stay safe online. And as for the young who find fame early? For them, I wish that rebellion and their growing up, which is always fraught at the best of times, could be done behind closed doors. Or at the very least those guiding them could be less interested in dollar signs and publicity and more about the health, sanity and well-being of their charges.
Photo Credit : Pacific Coast News