Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

World needs to take microscope off troubled Paris

Suicide attempt: Paris Jackson
Suicide attempt: Paris Jackson

As the fourth anniversary of Michael Jackson's tragic death approaches, it would appear that he is far from laid to rest – thanks to his family and the media.

Now in its seventh week, Katherine Jackson's lawsuit against concert promoter, AEG Live, on behalf of her son's estate, is said to name the late superstar's daughter, Paris, as a witness.

The 15-year-old's every move is monitored not only by the close-knit Jackson family, but by the Press, hungry for a juicy bite.

But was Paris's alleged suicide attempt last week the culmination of pressure from all quarters to 'be' a Jackson? Or is she just another struggling teen?

The media scramble to capitalise on the King of Pop's daughter's reported attempt on her life generated rumours, conspiracy theories and speculation of self-harm.

Paris may not have had a typical upbringing, but her behaviour is not unlike that of millions of youths worldwide.

Blogs, tabloids and talking heads seem to be frenziedly devouring the story. However, the high-profile teenager's problems are being looked at with a magnifying glass.

If one takes a step back and removes the microscope, one might just find a bog-standard confused adolescent.

Paris looks more like a college first-year on vacation than the shielded 15-year-old progeny of a musical icon.

With heavy eye make-up, multi-coloured manicure, a Jack Daniel's tank top and cut-off denim shorts, she is every bit the rebelling cliche.

But in Paris's world, her tweets are read by more than one million followers and her YouTube make-up tutorials go viral.

Based on the public perception of the Jackson family, Paris's alleged suicide attempt is not entirely shocking. This is a girl still mourning the death of her father.

If reports that Paris spun out of control after being refused permission to go to a Marilyn Manson concert are to be believed, there is nothing fundamentally 'wrong' with her that counselling and support won't remedy.

Yet the media and the public are inclined to project the sinister 'Wacko Jacko' factor on his children.

The need to sensationalise is stronger than common sense and decency.

Paris and her brothers really don't stand a chance if the mass media continues to dissect their life-choices.

As children of the ultimate celebrity, they are destined to be famous for being famous.

Paris doesn't have to be her father. She also doesn't have to be the next Lindsay Lohan. Ireland Baldwin, daughter of Alec and Kim Basinger, rose above the challenges of growing up in the public eye and is a well-balanced aspiring model.

If Paris can learn to ignore the Press and everyone gets off her case and lets her be a teenager, the world is her oyster.

But, for now, she is a child in distress. Perhaps the world needs to mind its own business.

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