Why Teenagers Like Winehouse

Many of you saw my last post about Amy Winehouse’s recent troubles and how we can respond. The more interesting phenomenon is why teenagers aren’t critical of her, when they ARE critical of celebs like Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, etc.

17 year old writer Jemina Owen chimes in with her theory in this article:

Perhaps part of her appeal is her honesty regarding her very obvious problems. So many celebrities appear to spend their lives trying to glaze over the rough patches in their lives to present a ‘clean’ image to the media – whether it be Victoria Beckham staunchly defending her ‘healthy attitude towards food and weight’ (though we’ve yet to see a photo of her tucking away a burger to put our minds at ease) or Lindsay Lohan rolling her Bambi eyes and moaning at how the press portray her as some kind of ‘wild girl’ when in fact she likes nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book.

Winehouse, on the other hand, makes no attempt to cover up the mess her life is in, and you only have to read the pitiful interviews with her father to gain an uncomfortable amount of insight into the heartache that drug addiction, an eating disorder and a husband locked away in prison bring to her loving parents who wonder where on earth they went wrong.

Honestly, I don’t think any of us would want to swap our lives for Winehouse’s. But maybe at times teenagers feel they can relate to some aspect of Winehouse’s plight – whether they be going out with a guy Dad can’t stand, or desperate to persuade Mum that a tattoo doesn’t screw up your chances of getting a decent job. However big a mess Winehouse makes of things, hundreds of messages of support from her fans reinforce that there are still people rooting for her. For teens, it’s a comforting message in a world that can often seem unforgiving – no matter how much you screw up, there will still be people who want you to shine.

Two observations:

  1. Authenticity is huge with this generation.
  2. Forgiveness is still something that people seek today. Jesus seemed to “reek” forgiveness and people sought Him out. What do we reek of?

… something to consider as we try to reach out to this generation.

(thanks to Anastasia for the link)

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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