What happened to the dreams of a girl president?
She's dancing in the video next to 50 Cent
They travel in packs of two or three
With their itsy-bitsy doggies and their teeny-weeny tees
Where, oh where, have the smart people gone?
Oh where, oh where could they be?
("Stupid Girls" by Pink)
I was at Caribou Coffee the other day, and two teen girls were waiting in line behind me. I don't recall what they were talking about, but their conversation made an impression on me.
These two lovely, presumably educated girls were talking in a way that made them appear to have nothing but bubble gum between their ears. Their tone, their diction, their body language - everything about the way they presented themselves said, "Look at me, I'm ditzy and flighty, but OH-so-cute in my cut-off jeans and UGG boots." Blech.
Then today, my husband and I went to see The Hunger Games, and the two girls sitting next to us whispered in that same ditzy tone through the whole movie. "Oh my gawd, he's SO gorgeous," and "Oh, she's so pretty in this part," and "Oh, he's got the cutest smile EVER!"
For those who don't know, The Hunger Games is a movie about a totalitarian government that annually forces 24 children into an arena to fight to the death in order to exercise and emphasize their total control. Yet the running commentary from our neighbors was all about how cute or ugly the main characters looked in each scene.
I remember being a teen. I remember how much of a crush a girl can have on a movie character. But I don't remember ever talking quite that way, much less in public, much less in a crowded movie theater. And certainly not during a movie with such a solemn premise. Blech.
I wish I could say these were isolated incidents. But I've been paying attention to teen girls lately, since I have a pre-teen who will be a teen girl before I know it. And too many times, when I'm around a group of teen girls, the Pink song "Stupid Girls" starts going through my head.
Do these young ladies know how utterly ridiculous they sound?
To be fair, it's not like I'm expecting teen girls to sit around discussing trigonometry or Thoreau or ancient civilizations all the time. I know they're going to talk about boys and clothes and movies and the like. No problem. But can they do so using more than a third grade vocabulary? And without saying "like" every other word? And without that goofy tone of voice that makes them sound, well, stupid?
If it sounds like I'm being judgmental, I am. This is one of the very few instances in which I feel judgment is totally warranted. It's not okay for girls to act dumber than they are. It's not okay to pander to the idea that stupid is sexy. It's not okay to live in a country where women have the opportunity to get a free education and then bury your intelligence somewhere in your cleavage.
It's more than not okay. It's an abomination. It completely negates centuries of hard work and sacrifice that women have endured in order to be seen as equals. It's a slap in the face to girls around the world who have no access to education. It's an insult to females everywhere.
Moms, please don't let your daughters behave this way. They have a choice. Make them use it. If I ever catch my girls starting to fall into the "stupid girl" trap, they'll find themselves fully entrenched in a research project on the advancement of women in the 20th century. Mark my words.
Most of the blame, of course, lies with a society that creates and perpetuates the idea that women are objects to be gawked at. We still have quite a ways to go to reach the equality of men and women. But equality goes far beyond equal opportunity, and our girls need to know that their behavior has far-reaching consequences. I think it could be argued that this kind of chosen stupidity does far more damage to the cause of gender equality than even blatant sexism.
The bottom line is we moms have to take the reins here. We need to flat out reject anything that lessens our worth and value, and teach our girls to do the same. If we don't, nobody else will.
Whew. Stepping off soapbox now. Am I the only one fed up with this?