Is Jojo Siwa a Good Role Model?

Last week I discovered Jojo Siwa for the first time, and my life is forever changed. She is bubblegum personified, and I hate/love everything about her. She’s annoying, loud, and her hairline really worries me, but she’s also a beacon of hope in our society.

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We live in a time where teenagers have to live up to the most ridiculous expectations. 16-year-old girls not only have to look beautiful, but they also have to dress well, apply their makeup perfectly, and act mature. Thanks to Instagram, these girls are looking up to Kylie Jenner and other influencers to learn how to fit into society. Unfortunately, this forces them to grow up too fast. Even some women who claim to be feminists contribute to this problem by saying girls should be allowed to dress however they want and to be as sexually promiscuous as they want. While this is a fine mentality to have for adult women, should we really be cheering 15-year-old girls on when they post suggestive photos on their public Instagram account? Every adult’s job is to protect children, and allowing girls to be viewed as adult women is the opposite of protecting them.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that protects predatory men. We’ve seen it in Hollywood with the #MeToo movement, and we see it in our everyday lives. Now we are starting to see it in the music industry with R. Kelly. Even Drake is partial to women who are just under 18 or who have just turned 18. He texts 14-year-old Millie Bobby Brown all the time, and is grooming her like Tyga groomed Kylie Jenner. But we never worried about Kylie and Tyga’s age gap because everyone saw Kylie as mature. Drake grooming Millie also seems normal, because Millie dresses and acts like an adult. And we did this to her. We praise her maturity and her sophisticated style, and we seem to treat Hollywood kids like they’re a different breed of child and can take care of themselves. Which brings me back to Jojo Siwa. She’s annoying, she’s colorful, she sings about candy shops and school, and she wears a big bow in her hair. She hasn’t let society try to make her look appealing to grown men. She is now 15 years old (one year older than Millie!), which in the celebrity world often marks a girl’s first plastic surgery or first real boyfriend. Yet she’s exactly the same as she has been: bubbly, childish, carefree and playful. The only thing that’s changed since she turned 15 is that she now has a rainbow-hued BMW with her face on it.

Millie Bobby Brown at 14 years old:

Image result for millie bobby brown gif red carpetSelena Gomez when she was around the same age:

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All in all, teenage girls are still minors, therefore they are still children. We have to stop scrutinizing their developing bodies and mocking their love of childish things. Let kids be kids. Through all of our posts about “glowing up” and the “ten-year challenge,” we are teaching young teenage girls that how they look is undesirable. Whenever we post a picture of our twelve year old self with braces and acne and badly applied eyeliner, the caption is always negative. This shows the current twelve year old girls that they need to learn how to apply makeup and do their hair to look “better,” or in other words, more attractive by adult standards. I was so awkward as a teenager and I am beyond thankful I was actually allowed to be awkward without the pressure of social media telling me to change. I was allowed to grow on my own and not subject myself to society’s standards. Now, teenage girls barely even have this option. If you look at the clothing being sold to pre-teens and teenagers now versus the clothing that was sold to teenagers 10 years ago, the difference is staggering. Teen celebrities in the early 2000s wore velour tracksuits on the red carpet. Teen celebrities now wear low-cut designer dresses that cling to their bodies and make them look 10 years older than they are. We can’t blame this on the girls, because they’re simply trying to conform to what society tells them to do. So we have to blame ourselves and decide how we’re going to do better.

So the next time you want to mock Jojo Siwa for her immaturity, remind yourself of how you acted when you were 15. If you were anything like me, you had a long way to go before you started acting like an adult. Just because she’s in the spotlight does not mean we need to hold her to a different standard of what being a teenager means. She’s in a very formative time in her life, so it’s our job as a society to make sure she knows she’s perfect just the way she is.

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