Tom Daley is one of CelebYouth’s case study celebrities so we were very excited when he hit the news last week after uploading to YouTube the direct-to-camera video ‘Something I want to say’. In it, Tom tells us that despite ‘dating girls’ in the past, he’d not had a ‘serious relationship’ until last spring, when he met someone who makes him feel ‘so happy and so safe … well that someone [pause] is a guy’. We love this video. Heather in particular has crossed the boundary from researcher to fan as she’s studied Tom’s media representation including, reading an autobiography and biography, following the news coverage of him across six months and enduring every episode of TV-celebrity-diving-competition Splash! Her colleagues marked her growing interest by getting her a Tom Daley cake to celebrate her 43rd birthday (pictured). In this post she looks critically both at Tom’s ‘coming out’ video and at reactions to it, suggesting that the ‘something he wants to say’ constitutes a new kind of sexuality story and one to which we need to listen attentively.
Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’
The CelebYouth study is about the role of celebrity stories in structuring young people’s aspirations. Given the fantasy elements in these tales, perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised when fairy tales and superheroes came up as our participants asked whether Cinderella, Beauty Belle and Batman were celebrities. In this guest blog post, Sir George Monoux College student, Mahreen Safdar, talks about the significance of fairy tales in her own life.
One of the many pleasures of this year’s British Educational Research Association Conference was collaborating on the Aspiration Nation? Symposium not just with Kim and Laura, my CelebYouth colleagues, but also with the wonderful Louise Archer from the Aspires Project, Graham Crow from the Living and Working on Sheppey Project and Becky Francis. Graham’s research involves asking young people to write essays in the voice of their older selves looking back on their lives, replicating an earlier study by Ray Pahl in the 1970s. In exploring the archived 1970s essays, Graham was surprised to find that Pahl had scribbled ‘Total Fantasy’ on some. This remark from Graham provoked me to reflect on how we judge young people’s aspirations. How do some come to appear realistic and some fantastic, and with what consequences?