The media world is abuzz with the news that Demi Lovato entered rehab. Another Disney star, another downfall. There seem to be a million reasons that the young singer and actress has quit her world tour with the Jonas Brothers. Magazines and blogs everywhere are hypothesizing about the impact of Joe Jonas’s new relationship with Ashley Greene, Demi’s alleged new-found coke habit (all because she might have dated Miley’s brother), an altercation with a female member of the concert tour, and the prevailing theory brought to us by an anonymous People source, an eating disorder and self-mutilation. The young woman’s representatives said that Demi was seeking treatment to deal with “emotional and physical issues.”
I have no idea why the Disney star decided to seek treatment. But I hate to see a young woman, eighteen years old, become just another “Disney princess gone bad” storyline, even if there aren’t hard facts to back it up. It’s easy to think of Demi Lovato as just that chick who dated Joe Jonas, or another girl in crappy movies that my daughter enjoys. But she is also an eighteen year old girl. She’s a girl who has been outspoken and active about the dangers of bullying. A girl who has worked with DoSomething.org, Join the Sourge (a group the strives to empower teenagers to get active in their communities) and “A Day Made Better” School Advocacy. And seriously people, she’s young!
I was a mess at the age of 18. Yes, its fun to pretend that I was determined and ambitious and knew just what I wanted out of life. And most of the time, I felt that way. But I was still a young person struggling to get to know myself and my goals. I was an idiot when it came to money and I didn’t have millions of it to blow. I’m pretty sure that I was also normal (at least in this regard). Most teenagers, whether they are of legal age to vote or not, are still growing and learning. I can’t imagine how difficult that must be for a young woman with the kind of publicity that this girl has. So if she needs to time off, maybe we should all just shut up and let her figure it out. Even worse, if she does need help for situations as serious as eating disorders and self-mutilation, we should praise her for seeking treatment and then shut up.
I have very little issue making fun of someone like Lindsay Lohan, who parades herself and her problems for the whole world to pity or condemn. But a young girl who makes a discreet statement, cancels her Twitter account, and doesn’t send a forwarding address… this is a girl actually trying to seek help. I wish we could all respect her for that and let her family support her through what must be a very difficult time. Even if we are all collectively jealous of the little Disney princesses (and I know I am… I’ve wanted to be a Disney princess since I was old enough to sing “A Part of Your World”), they are adolescent girls. They are young women who work very hard under a large amount of pressure and public scrutiny. And for one of them so vocal in the anti-bullying movement, maybe we should show her that we get the point. Maybe we should support this young woman instead of kicking her while she’s down, and then reporting how sad she is. So, whatever it’s worth, Good Luck Ms. Lovato. Whatever it is, I hope it gets better.