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Dear World: Caitlyn Jenner, Taylor Swift And Every Other Celebrity Owe You Nothing

Kathy Zerbib |
July 15, 2015 | 5:02 p.m. PDT

Senior Entertainment Editor

Caitlyn Jenner in a trailer for "I Am Cait" (E! Network).
Caitlyn Jenner in a trailer for "I Am Cait" (E! Network).
At tonight's ESPYs, former Olympian athlete Caitlyn Jenner will receive the coveted Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The event serves as her first major  appearance since transitioning from Bruce to Caitlyn earlier this year and will include a highly anticipated acceptance speech. What will the reality star say about her newly revealed persona? Will she promote E! Network's upcoming docu-series "I Am Cait"? Most importantly, what will she say to empower the transgender community?

Well, World, it doesn't matter.

Caitlyn Jenner shouldn't have to live up to your expectations, just like Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and any other mainstream celebrity. Celebrities are not your role models. They are not obligated to push your politically correct agenda and live according to what you'd approve of. Holding celebrities accountable to people they've never met is unfair, and it's especially absurd when the media does it.

READ MORE: Meeting Caitlyn Jenner: Celebs And Fans Tweet Their Support

A recent Huffington Post op-ed argues that Taylor Swift can no longer be considered a role model because she has evolved from her country roots to becoming a pop sensation. The writer, Mark Carpowich, blasts Swift for swapping Nashville for New York City, only surrounding herself with other rich and famous women, promoting makeup brands and being "conditionally charitable." Basically, it attacks Swift for growing up and taking her artistic talents in another direction. 

The opinion piece conveniently leaves out a number of Swift's better qualities. Never mind that she hasn't succumbed to drinking and drugs, generously donates her money and stands up for her beliefs. She just famously convinced Apple to reverse its policy on not paying artists royalties during its three-month free trial period.

Swift even told CBS in 2011 that she believed fame comes with responsibility.

"The truth of it is that every singer out there with songs on the radio is raising the next generation. So make your words count," the music artist told Lesley Stahl in "60 Minutes."

READ MORE: 7 Things We Learned From Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair Sneak Peek

Now, four years later, Swift is hanging on to that responsibility, though her approach has since evolved. She promotes girl power -- exemplified in the music video for "Bad Blood," which was interpreted as a Katy Perry diss. 

World -- just because parents can’t dictate who they expose their children to, does not mean it’s then up to celebrities to take it upon themselves to behave responsibly. Expecting them to lead a good example to children is hypocritical. Children model behavior from their parents. These celebrities are not raising your children. Standards vary and celebrities wouldn’t be able to adhere to everyone’s idea of good behavior, anyway. 

If a celebrity like Jenner chooses to be the face of a movement and make a difference, he or she should be encouraged and not chastised for "not doing enough." Celebrities who use their social status for a good cause are not obligated to make any more of an effort than they want to do on their own. They are not politicians; celebrities are not elected by the people to represent them on popular issues. 

READ MORE: A Look At Transgenders In Film And Television

Stop expecting spotless, politically correct public figures, World. There are none. Celebrities don't owe you a thing.

Reach Senior Entertainment Editor Kathy Zerbib here. Follow her on Twitter here.



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