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Poverty, Charities and Celebrities.

How do these three things feed off one another and where do we draw the line?

Submitted 7/26/2006 By JessA Views 9874 Comments 2 Updated 8/4/2006


Photographer : Michael Whalen


“Bad news for the orphans of the world this week: Jessica Simpson is planning to adopt” was the opening line of an article by Clare Buttner entitled Stars Getting Clucky And Cranky http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=93783&r...
really made my blood boil.

We live in a world which is plagued with poverty and even the front-page of the Sydney Morning Herald on the 3rd of April 2006 stated “One of these girls escaped death in a world tired of giving. The other will die in a nation too poor to save her”. The statements from these articles juxtaposed are an absolute joke. The world needs to join forces to try end poverty and many people should see that we need celebrities to help raise awareness. You may scoff at the following statements but please stay with me.

Our world is also celebrity-obssessed, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. We are the ones who go out there buying magazines like NW and the ones who place celebrities on pedestals. By placing stars on this pedestal, we, the ‘normal’ person, are able to gain pleasure when they fall. It rings true to Freud’s Shadenfreude Theory.

I don’t understand how someone can harp on about this star for getting drunk and that star for being too skinny and then manage to chastise a celebrity like Jessica Simpson for wanted to adopt, wanting to make a positive change. Unless she is a bad mother, which of course cannot be predicted, she is guaranteed to give this child a better life than if it was still starving with millions of other children.

Celebrities like Angelina Jolie have been praised for their concern and her children are now granted a life that cannot even be compared to the one they would otherwise be living. It is thanks to people like Jolie to have raised awareness and I’m sure people were questioning her ability of being a mother since she was recently divorced from Billy Bob Thornton, a man whose blood she wore around her neck in a vial and a woman who famously kissed her brother at the Academy Awards.

Let’s move on to Bob Geldolf who started a revolution with Live Aid in 1985 whose aim was to raise money for the victims of famine by getting the biggest stars involved. It raised $100 million. Live 8 which took place in July 2005 when an estimated 3 billion people watched and “They came together with one message - make poverty history” http://www.live8live.com/whathappened/# ).

Jessica Simpson is a spokesperson for an organization called Operation Smile which aims to repair children’s cleft lips and cleft palates as hundreds of children are affected by deformities. Simpson has brought their needs and aims into the public eye with magazines like Who documenting her visit to Africa where she funded many operations. Her work is so recognised even the President Bush wanted to meet with her. When I was in America, I was in a shop and by the counter there was a table of mints. I saw that a portion of the proceeds was donated to Operation Smile and thanks to Simpson’s publicity of the organization I purchased some. If it weren’t for her, I would not have been aware of the organization and what it did. Their website www.operationsmile.org states that Operation Smile volunteers have medically treated 98,000 children and young adults around the world.

Does the fact Simpson is a celebrity automatically make her unfit to be a good provider for an orphan. By Clare Buttner saying and I’m sure many others thinking “bad news for the orphans of the world this week: Jessica Simpson is planning to adopt”, are we saying that we should bite off the hand that feeds and keeps these children in their desolate situations? I don’t think so…

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© 2008. First published on actnow.com.au

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JAG 25-Aug-2006

You make an interesting point JessA,
There is howevera difference between Angelina, Bob and Jessica. The acts of knidness and interest in social and international issues is consisstent with their lifestyle, these acts they do are not one off but are lifelong passions. Jessica however is not so consistent, and leads one to question her motives.

Can you blame the writers of the article by reflecting on an image that Jessica often portrays of herself... sometimes she is unable to do even the most basic things, i mean she is a girl that thinks buffallo's have wings and thats where Buffallo wings come from and she onced asked the question 'Is tuna a fish?' .. that does not exactly fill people with confidence. But like you said we can't claim to know how she will be as a mother, what we do know is how Jessica wants to be seen and up until now that has not been a mother.

I think that you do bring up some valuable points and as you can tell Jessica simpson is not one of my fav people:)

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adrianne 17-Aug-2006

Sometimes I wonder if celebrities do more than just fly to the country to make an appearance with the people in need. Then a moving picture of them appears in a gossip magazine, usually glorifying the celebrities good works, rather than advertising support for the charity itself.

This probably isn't true of every celebrity's involvement with a charity. However, I do agree that my awareness of certain organisations wouldn't have been without seeing someone like Angelina Jolie promoting it.

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