Sunday, February 6, 2011

Important life lessons from the Pussycat Dolls.

You see, when I was younger I would say,
When I grow up, I wanna be famous
I wanna be a star, I wanna be in movies...

Sometimes I look around at the world around me, and I'm so overwhelmingly grateful that I was given a son and not a daughter. Not that I think that boys are superior; it just seems like they're less difficult to raise.

Culture just seems to be attacking little girls, their self-esteem and their self-image, from an earlier and earlier age. Look at that child on the left, a contestant from "Toddlers and Tiaras". She's a preschooler in veneers and Aquanet. It's creepy, but that's the standard of beauty that very little girls are presented with from the time they can walk.

And even if you can get away from the impossibly high expectations for outward appearance, what about the new perceived standards for success? When I was a kid, my friends wanted to be doctors, or racecar drivers, or artists. (I wanted to be a gymnast, despite the fact that I'm now just a couple of inches shy of 6 feet.) But whatever our dreams were, we understood that they were things we would have to strive to attain our entire lives, goals that would only be reached through hard work and talent.

What do little girls want to be now? Famous. That's it. Not famous for curing cancer, or famous for Oscar-worthy acting ability. The only desire is for celebrity, and all the trappings that come with that lifestyle. How you get there is insignificant.

Who can blame these kids? Look at the vacuous wastes of carbon that rule the tabloid headlines. Snooki? A girl made famous for her alcoholism and promiscuity. (Though perhaps we're merely fascinated by her success at being promiscuous. It seems baffling that she was able to find one mate attracted enough to her, much less multiple partners.) Kim Kardashian? Paris Hilton? Both superficial trollops whose "careers" were launched through homemade pornography.

And don't even get me started on those Teen Mom kids. The show pays lip service to illuminating the difficulties of young motherhood, while those same young mothers enjoy endorsement deals and promo paychecks. And, surprise, surprise! During casting for "Teen Mom 2", it was discovered that some high school girls had gotten pregnant intentionally, with the sole goal of landing a spot on the show.

Parents don't get off the hook here, either. Our culture and entertainment may be swirling down the drain, but, under the intent of being "supportive" stage moms are far too likely to provide the entirely wrong focus in their daughters lives. No one wants to think that their kid isn't special, that they're not going to be the one "to make it", but, statistically, most kids are not going to be stars. Yet, there continue to be articles like this one, which describes four girls (and their moms) who are putting everything on the line for a chance at fame (in some cases, to the point of sacrificing attention on schoolwork). How disappointing will adulthood be for these young women when they discover that all their work striving for an impossible goal was for naught? They've been "dreaming big" since childhood, and that makes a contented life with a fulfilling career appear boring in comparison.

What happened to our children's sense of intrinsic value? From whence did they get this idea that growing up to have a good job and a happy family is a life that is somehow lacking? I'm a mom. I want the best for my son. I want him to grow up and do something he enjoys, and to not necessarily be rich, but to not have to worry greatly about money. I want him to marry a sweet girl who adores him and to have kids. But I don't care in the least if he's famous. Celebrities more often than not seem shallow and miserable.

Who would want that for their child?

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