Janice Shaw Crouse

The internet today is filled with another set of pictures of Britney Spears being foolish. Here is a young woman with “star” quality that makes her stand out from thousands of other would-be, just-as-talented singers. That star quality, though, hasn’t made her life what she obviously hoped it would be. There is desperation these days in her pandering to the paparazzi.

Those of us who lead ordinary lives sometimes think that life would be better without the burden of commonplace duties and responsibilities –– all the often-dreary things that tie us down and wear us out. All it takes, though, is a quick look at the gorgeous people –– women like Elizabeth Hurley, Demi Moore, Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton and hunks like George Clooney, Patrick Dempsey, Ashton Kutcher, Johnny Depp –– to realize that their lives are not so wonderful and carefree after all.

Why not? Why shouldn’t these people –– who have the physical beauty, fortune and fame that make them the envy of so many others ––have lives that are happy and carefree? Why isn’t their life a proverbial bed of roses? For one thing, a life staged for the cameras takes its toll. A self-centered life, all the time and effort that it takes to be camera-ready at all times, and the consuming need to be in the media spotlight doesn’t lend itself to developing stable relationships, to say nothing of the qualities that it takes to build a strong marriage and family. Certainly celebrity lives involve a lot of surface glitz and glamour but when all a person’s attention is concentrated on “me” there is little of interest beyond their external appearance. Thus, the longing for a soul mate remains unfulfilled because they don’t know how to give to another person.

Then, there is the matter that the repeated breakups of relationships takes its toll. Drawing on biographies, known facts, and using our imaginations a little, we can construct a picture of what at least a part of their lives are like. And from this picture we ask: which is better, more significant, more meaningful? A beautiful, charming, self-absorbed woman who is wrapped up in the concerns of the right hairdo and the right shade of lipstick to go with the right dress and shoes for the party where she has to be seen and photographed from the right angle and in the right light to look good on the cover of the right tabloid magazine in the check-out lanes of the super market . . . or the mother working fanatically to get the bathrooms cleaned and the house half-way straight before the baby sitter comes for their night out that consists of helping her husband make a good impression on a potential client he needs to land to be able to pay the bills.

Janice Shaw Crouse

Janice Shaw Crouse is a former speechwriter for George H. W. Bush and now political commentator for the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.
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