Celebrity Status Is a Breeding Ground for Girly Thoughts

By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD,
author of: The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (HCI, 2013)

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Child Star Substance Abuse infographic


image source: http://clarityway.com

This poignant and powerful infographic by Clarity Way illustrates how some celebrities deal with girly thoughts.

Do you ever wonder if you are particularly susceptible to an obsession with the clear and/or implied messages of how you should or should not act, how you should or should not look? Do you ever wonder if you are the only one who seems to be ruled by girly thoughts?

The answer is NO. Girly thoughts are a product of our culture. They are also a product of our need as women to fit into the latest version of whatever is desirable and acceptable.

Girly thoughts are powerful because they represent a way to reach the ideal. That is a very big hook.

And don’t think anyone is exempt from the incredible power of culture and the girly thoughts that come from its influence. Just who is ruled by those thoughts might surprise you, though.

We notice celebrities we admire. We follow their performances and their lives. We may even dream about how wonderful our own lives would be they were more like the lives of those lucky celebrities. But, of course, none of us can obtain, let alone maintain, the ideal—including those celebrities. Unfortunately, the result for all of us—including those celebrities—of pursuing this folly, of trying for but not achieving the ideal, is that we feel terrible about ourselves. We can’t obtain that perfection, so we start hating parts of who we are, punishing ourselves, becoming very anxious, or even numbing ourselves to the reality of not being perfect.

It is important to note that not just ordinary women feel terrible for not meeting the ideal. Some of the very same celebrities we’ve put on a pedestal also feel diminished by the reality of their lives. Like they do for the rest of us, feelings of anxiety, inferiority, thoughts of failure cause some of them to drink and drug to try to escape these fears.

For some celebrities, this is a pattern that begins in childhood. For the “lucky” child stars—you know, those who we felt had everything, those who had the childhood that many of us fantasized was perfect, a childhood that we wished we’d had—the internalized pressures were enormous. The constant scrutiny and the expectation for perfection because they were talented didn’t take into consideration the fact that they were still just children. Children are especially susceptible to insecurities, and that is a breeding ground for what I call girly thoughts.

Let me know what you think.

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Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in Albany, and Saranac Lake, New York, is noted for her work on women, trauma, and substance abuse and for her warm, inspiring, and funny presentations that make complex issues accessible and even fun. She has served as a consultant to organizations in preventative and clinical strategic planning including Lifescape Solutions in Delray Beach, Florida. Dr. O’Gorman is a cofounder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, and she has held positions ranging from clinical director of a child welfare agency to interim director of a crime victims organization to director of the division of prevention for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Learn more at http://patriciaogorman.com

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