Recently Bill Ray Cyrus and the producers of Hannah Montana both publicly requested that Sasha and Malia be guests on Malia's favorite show, Hannah Montana. This strikes me as a cynical attempt to capitalize on the recent popularity of the first daughters.
The Obama daughters have already generated an outstanding amount of media interest through their desire for a puppy and their Huxtable-like cuteness. While it would surely be a thrill for the daughters to appear on the wildly popular show, there could be some very negative effects of appearing on the show.
We have seen both what the pressures of stardom can do to child stars and the children of presidents and politicians. Undo media attention and the pressure of the spotlight has negatively affected many children who have sought or been thrust into the media spotlight.
Former child stars such as Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan have shown the negative affects that media spotlight can have on kids and that can affect them as adults. Both of them have had issues with sex, drugs and mental problems and to this day can not live a life free of the paparazzi. All the child stars from Different Strokes had trouble with the law. Todd Bridges did time in jail and Dana Plato died from an overdose. The Olsen twins have also had their bouts with the paparazzi and drugs and Drew Barrymore entered rehab at the age of 14. River Phoenix died of an overdose and Jamie Lynn Spears underwent an extreme amount of media scrutiny after she became pregnant at the age of 16.
As if being the daughter of a president wasn't enough pressure. Gerald Ford's son, Steven Ford was an actor on The Young and the Restless and also struggled with alcohol addiction. Ronald Reagan's daughter, Patti Davis famously posed for Playboy and had a well publicized rift with her parents as and her brother Ronald Reagan Jr. also had a famous rift with his father and is now a commentator for left wing radio station, Air America.
Both of Bush's daughters have had their issues with alcohol which have been well publicized. I know several people who went to school with Barbara and the tales of her drinking and sexing are legendary (including an incident on the top of a secret service car while the secret service watched). Several members of the Kennedy family have struggled with alcohol and drug problems.
Being a President's daughter is pressure enough on children seven and ten. Do they really need the extra stardom and pressure of appearing on a popular TV show. It will be impossible for them to lead normal lives, but the added pressure and media exposure can only have negative affects. Do they need the paparazzi waiting for them after school? Going on her first date with the secret service would be bad enough. Does Malia need to have TMZ following her too? Will the media takeout post a picture of Malia with her first zit? These kids won't be able to have Facebook and Myspace pages like normal children because of media intrusion.
After the Obama daughters got so much attention for appearing on Access Hollywood, Barack Obama had to say that they won't be having more interviews. The Obama daughters have a chance to be wonderful role models from young women of all races. Undue media attention and the temptations of the entertainment world can only hinder their chance of being well rounded mature young women free of pressure, stress, depression and drugs.
Sasha and Malia should receive media attention for being part of the first family and not as separate entities to themselves. We have seen the negative pitfalls of child stardom and while a few child stars have made the transition to mature grounded adults, many others have gone through stress, pressure, mental problems and substance abuse. Let the kids be kids. Let them watch Hannah Montana like all the other seven and ten year old girls. They should be sheltered from the media not thrust into it.
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