Dr. Molly Barrow

The Official Dr. Molly Barrow Blog offers educational self help advice about relationships, business, dating, marriage, parenting, teenagers and children, self-esteem, love and romance. Dr. Molly Barrow holds a Ph.D in psychology and is the author of Matchlines for Singles and the self-esteem adventure series, Malia and Teacup Awesome African Adventure and Malia and Teacup Out on a Limb. Dr. Molly is a relationship and psychology expert host on progressiveradionnetwork.com and television guest.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

New American Idol Teaches Kids to Bully


About midway through the first show of American Idol, turning off the television became a good idea. American Idol has been a family favorite program and greatly anticipated each year. However, this year something is very wrong. Producers have put a new emphasis on being mean. The beauty of American Idol is that everyone can identify with wanting something with all your heart. Most of us have admitted, wisely, when we have more aspirations than talent. However, there are millions of people who suffer with birth defects, retardation and mental illness through no fault of their own, who see a distorted version of themselves. In earlier generations, parents taught their children to treat people with compassion and respect, and that only a real louse would make fun of people’s disabilities.

In the brief interviews before their song, American Idol contestants with disabilities seem obvious in their responses. As they sincerely attempt to sing, the judges writhe in ridicule, interject insincere apologies and burst into laughter again. The contestants do not have the talent required to compete, or the reasoning capability to realize they are the brunt of the joke. Must the judges be so cruel to the people with disabilities? Is that what America hungers to see? Has the Mental Health Association or school anti-bullying programs complained because this demonstration of bullying sickens other?

As an apparently autistic young man struggled to make sense of the judges humiliating sarcasm, it seemed clear that the three judges have forgotten the feeling of a personal and professional failure, like obesity, failed businesses and relationships, bulimia, loss of attractiveness, illnesses, addictions, and perhaps, antisocial and other personality disorders. Even if they had not personally experienced such failings, a kindergarten child has more compassion than is shown by this program to people with disabilities. If these contestants are compensated by a paycheck for their humiliation, and it is all just fake and show business, the message delivered to children and adults is that American Idol teaches that it is O.K. to be cruel to everyone. A simple "No, but thank you" would send these kids on their way, disappointed but not damaged.

Perhaps America will boycott this year’s inevitable "Worst of American Idol." The result could be that the producers of American Idol will develop a conscience in their wallet for their treatment of clearly mental disadvantaged hopefuls.

Dr. Molly Barrow holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is the author of the new book, “Matchlines: A Revolutionary New Way of Looking at Relationships and Making the Right Choices in Love.” She is an authority on relationship and psychological topics, a member of the American Psychological Association and a licensed mental health counselor. Dr. Molly has appeared as an expert on NBC, PBS, KTLA, and in O Magazine (1/07), Psychology Today, Newsday, The Nest, MSN.com, Match.com, Women’s Health and Women’s World. Please visit: http://www.askdrmolly.com http://www.DrMollyBarrow.com/


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