In Search of Normal Celebrity Role Models

Since coming to Florida, I have become very structured with our schedule to avoid too much of everyone idling around on devices, wasting away on Fortnite or Roblox, and not spending time together. So, in the evenings after dinner, I’ve instituted an hour and a half block for Family Time to watch half of a movie, unless I can come up with something better. We went and jumped rope in the col-de-sac the other day—that kind of thing.

Tonight the kids wanted to watch Descendants 3. If you’ve never seen any of the Descendants movies, you’d be surprised to find a cheesy, low budget Disney production that manages to be wildly popular and make boatloads of money. The premise is a world divided between haves and have-nots, the haves being the descendants of classic Disney royalty, the have-nots being the descendants of classic Disney villains. The premise is clever, I admit. The story follows Mal, daughter of Maleficent, who steals the crown from Audry, daughter of Belle, and Audry’s boyfriend, who is the son of The Beast (I must have this wrong because somehow this is not incestuous. Whatever).

It occurred to me sometime during the Watch Your Back musical number, my kids are watching these 20 something actors in the market for role models. I don’t remember having celebrity role models per se, but I remember paying attention to people on TV. I remember following crazy Drew Barrymore and Winona Ryder, and whoever else would show up at the MTV Movie Awards. I used to love Clare Danes in My So-Called Life. Thanks to that show, I still wear flannel.

So I did some celebrity social media stalking. After we shut off the TV, I encouraged my favorite well-rounded Disney stars and discouraged the ones with hyper-sexualized Instagram feeds. Plus, I’m recently very concerned about how men and women relate to one another in general, and all the 20 something pouty-face on the internet seems alien and all wrong to me now. So I will be strategic. Why not? It’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a kid and think these things don’t matter.