No books for Mrs. Becks

This summer, I rekindled an old romance. I started reading for fun again.

When I was growing up, I would spend the majority of my summers reading. I loved getting lost in the exploits of the Baby-Sitters Club, Anne of Green Gables, or those adorable Sweet Valley Twins.

As the years progressed, I’m sorry to report that my book-loving began to dwindle. Reading became something that I had to do for school rather than a hobby.

This summer, I decided that it was time to revisit my old flame. Although my days of devouring Baby-Sitters Club novels were long gone, I found that my love affair with books was as steamy as ever. Over the summer, there were nights when I would rather have stayed home with my book than socialize. One of my favourite memories of the summer was the rainy weekend spent at a friend’s cottage when I read The Time Traveler’s Wife from cover to cover. Amazon.ca became my new obsession.

It was in the midst of this revived courtship that an article about Victoria Beckham, formerly Posh Spice of Spice Girls fame, caught my eye. In an interview to promote her new biography, Mrs. Beckham casually mentioned that she had never read a book in her life. I wasn’t sure what was worse: the fact that she openly admitted to never having read a book, or how she dropped this bombshell while promoting her own biography. I was dumbfounded, to say the least.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Posh’s comments are indicative of a greater trend within today’s society. We all know that beauty, tight bodies, and devastating wardrobes are necessities in the celebrity world, but lately, I’ve noticed that celebrity ignorance has become as fashionable as a Louis Vuitton handbag. You only need to watch five minutes of The Newlyweds to understand what I mean.

What bothers me the most isn’t the level of Victoria Beckham or Jessica Simpson’s intelligence. It’s the fact that these women are considered to be role models. These days, you can’t flip through the channels or walk by a magazine stand without seeing Jessica Simpson’s image, and Posh Spice was idolized by millions of young girls only a few short years ago. The question is, why have we chosen to revere these people? When did perky breasts and vapid smiles take precedence over talent and intelligence?

Maybe it was the fact that I had just reacquainted myself with the world of reading that Posh’s comments affected me so deeply. I couldn’t get past the idea that someone who is in a position of influence would choose to deny herself—and, by extension, those who admire her—the pleasure of being challenged, absorbed, or moved by a book. It seems somewhat backwards that Mrs. Beckham is considered to be part of the crème de la crème of our society.

It’s about time we stopped idolizing people for the wrong reasons. If you’re not enriching our world intellectually, artistically or in some generally intelligent fashion, you shouldn’t be in the spotlight. Ignorance isn’t a fashion accessory—it’s just plain stupid.

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