We learn by watching others.
There is a wonderful Cheerios tv commercial where a mother shows her baby how to put
food in his mouth. The baby watches mom, and then copies her behavior. A
concept as old as life itself—we learn by watching others. The commercial sends
the message that Cheerios is a brand to be trusted—just like mom’s example.
What a powerful statement and one I totally agree with. We learn by watching people we trust, whether it’s mom, dad, our teacher, our best friend, or our favorite celebrity on TV.
We Learn By Watching Others.
In fact, advertisers hope that we are influenced by our celebrity role models. Why else would that invest so much time and money securing celebrities to endorse everything from cars, to mechanics tools, to cigarettes, to alcohol, to cosmetics, to household cleaning
items, to clothing? Hundreds of thousands of little girls want all-things Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, J-Lo, Paris Hilton, and Lady Gaga. And let’s not forget the boys. Thousands of boys want to grow up to be like John Cena, Jay-Z, P-Diddy, Usher, and Justin Bieber.
I am not saying that doing as your role models do, is always a bad thing, because it’s not. I am saying, that if their behavior crosses a line and we witness it often enough, we start to think that behavior can (and should) work for us too.
Adultery is a Bad Learned Behavior.
Take for example one message—so prevalent—that it has became a part of the fabric of our lives. Adultery. Daily we watch our favorite TV stars sleep with people who are married to other people—and we think nothing of it. In fact, if we speak against adultery we are branded Pollyanna. So at the risk of sounding Pollyanna, I will say that I wish every now and then a female lead has just a tad bit more respect for herself, her female sisters, and the institution of family.
Scandal the TV Show.
I was excited about Shonda Rhimes’ new TV show SCANDAL. Shonda is smart, creative, thought-provoking, courageous, addresses important cultural issues, and I like that her characters are diverse, and their relationships cross racial boundaries. And while I like
some of her characters, Olivia Pope is not one of them, and it breaks my heart.
I was delighted at the prospect of a beautiful black female taking the lead in this smart new drama. But with each episode, I realized that while beautiful and smart, Olivia Pope’s
values were different than mine. She, in fact, is a woman willing to do anything, and hurt anyone for her own personal gain. The two things that most disturbed me were:
- In her subtle way, she asked Huck, a loyal employee, to lose his valued sobriety, so she could win a case. Without question, Huck made the decision to make Olivia more important than his recovery. Shame on him. But she knew that he felt indebted to her, and she used that against him.
- She had, and continues to have an affair with the president of the US. Oftentimes engaging in this behavior with his wife only steps away. Not only does she
not respect herself, but she has no respect for other women, and less for the
American people. He has a problem, and so does she.Just because you have feelings does not mean you need to act upon them. Olivia Pope demonstrates that being smart, beautiful, and successful does not mean you have self esteem.Self esteem comes from DOING Esteemable Acts, and it’s an Esteemable Act to
control your emotions. Practicing restraint is a grown-up behavior.
What are your thoughts? Join the conversation .