Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Unsexy celebrity causes

Celebrity causes are simultaneously fascinating and divisive. The ‘sexy’ causes: international adoption, youth political participation, animal rights, global warming, and marijuana have been taken up by such sizzling international megastars as Angelina Jolie, Puff Daddy, Pamela Anderson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Steve O, respectively.

But what about the B-level social issues – the important domestic and global causes that are perhaps a little under-exposed? Second-tier issues like sex addiction or hypermiling should be raised to the same level in our collective consciousness as clean water availability in the developing world and polar ice cap melting.

But who should speak for these causes? Who should be the unabashed cheerleaders to expose these issues and get them spoken about in the greater public?

Here are the top unsexy celebrity causes:


This is a critical issue, especially in the United States where prison populations are expected to balloon up by 13% from 2007 to 2011 to 1.7M. There must obviously be a preventative focus through greater community development and social welfare programs to stabilize volatile individuals and neighbourhoods, but there must also be a strong awareness of the need to prevent crimes by repeat offenders.

Appropriate spokesperson: Robert Downey Jr. Credible, yes, but too repentant.

Sizzling megastar spokesperson: Shia LaBeouf. Charges for reckless endangerment and driving under the influence aside, Shia LaBoeuf is the right spokesperson to connect with young people on criminal rehabilitation, an issue that they’ve perhaps not fully considered.

And as a bonus, he’s a great authority on what can result from what excessive binge drinking – snogging with Megan Fox in a blockbuster movie!


Eating locally is important not only to support local growers and businesses, but to decrease the food mileage of what we consume. Eating in-season and buying from farmer’s markets are two examples of how consumers can reduce their overall carbon footprint from what they eat.

Appropriate spokesperson:
Giada di Laurentis, she’s gorgeous and charismatic, but teens might view her as too intelligent.

Sizzling megastar spokesperson: High School Musical! Why? Because seeing pretty kids doing a well-choreographed, methed-up pop performance about a 100 mile diet is WAAAY more convincing than an acclaimed TV chef!

WHOA! Pass the shrooms!


What a mess the American public school, abstinence-based sex-ed program is. Teen pregnancies are now increasing after a 15 year slide, despite the concerted effort to provide greater awareness and knowledge to youth about pregnancy sex facts. The “just don’t have sex” approach to sex-ed failed because what could be more enticing than something explained as “only for grown-ups” and something you can “only do when you’re older!” Suddenly teen pregnancy is cool.

Appropriate spokesperson Jaime Lynn Spears, but she’d never go for it.

Sizzling megastar spokesperson: Miley Cyrus. Barring an actual informative, loving conversation between parents and their children (seen as too difficult and obvious a choice by many families), the sizzling international megastar choice to be the spokesperson for teenage pregnancy is Miley!

LifeStyles Condoms actually approached her to represent the brand and “
get the message of safe sex out to teens across America”, what I think was brilliant move on the part of their CMO. Miley Cyrus’ is influential and relevant to teens, particularly girls. Promotion of anything by Miley Cyrus goes a long way.

Furthermore, what a great way to strike back at the Jonas Brothers and their bullshit ‘promise ring’ approach to sex!


Canada is a diverse, multicultural nation and perceptions about race are somewhat muted here when compared to the States. Thoughtful discussions about race are still obviously of huge importance in the American social discourse, as evidenced by the intense scrutiny on American Muslims following 9/11 or Barack Obama having to answer questions about his authenticity as a representative of African-Americans.

Appropriate spokesperson: Some mashup between Justin Timberlake and Kayne West. But although they're both youth-oriented and hip, they do not provoke the necessary honesty needed to truly resolve latent racial tensions.

Sizzling megastar spokesperson: Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Her ineptitude and stubborn position, highlighted in this hilarious clip makes her absolutely the right choice to begin the healing!

Props to Lucy for suggestions on tonight’s topic.

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