ast Saturday, I found myself watching Bill Maher. I often times forget about it, but it is truly one of my favorite shows. On the guest panel was Cornell West and he brought up an interesting point (a point which I’ve thought about for some time but he has the wherewithal to say it on national TV first 🙂 ) that this generation is facing a severe decline in morals, values, and civic responsibility. Mr. West, THAT my friend, is the understatement of the decade. We are bombarded by images and videos of women who are famous for being….famous. No talent, no contribution to society, no intelligence, and no skill was needed to get them into the limelight. And their replacement: the next hottest thing who’s standards were lower than that of her predecessor. The sad thing is that girls idolize the sex symbols and the party girls with nothing and no one to counter it and explain that it is unrealistic to believe that we can accomplish success, fame, and fortune but wearing designer labels, trying to party with (or like) celebrities, and of course sleeping with them.
When I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming an author, an illustrator, or an interior designer. Well, maybe I wasn’t as clear with the last one. Coming from Jamaica, Queens, there weren’t exactly tons of interior designers to look up to. But, I knew that I wanted to do something artistic and become successful. I drew pictures and painted all day. On Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or a birthday, people knew that they were getting a one of a kind picture from yours truly. In school, I had the drive and the competitive spirit do be the best at everything that I set out to do. I was also known as the spirited blabber mouth at the back of the class because I’m a people person and a clown *shrugs*. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, little girls had women like Claire Huxtable, Florence “Flo Jo” Griffith-Joyner, and Whitney Houston (pre crack) to look up to. I remembered wanting to have a family like Claire, hair and a body like Flo Jo, and the voice of Whitney (tell me I was planning to be a bad chick!). Fast forward to 2010, and the role model line up has become what we would have considered the bench players: Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, [insert random athlete wife name here], and
Rat Kat Stacks.
Ladies, we are in a state of emergency! We are living in a generation of lost girls. Creating false personas and alter egos is something people do when they are insecure, needy for attention, and dislike themselves, not when they love who they are. I’m sorry but kissing another girl for a photo op or rocking Kim K’s latest outfit from last weeks Pap findings are not things on my must-do list for the weekend. A vast majority of girls (and grown @$$ women might I add) are guilty of this and it is scary to think what the generation after us is going to aspire to be. No longer are being ahead of the class, forward-thinking, and meaningful desirable attributes that young girls aspire to have. They just want to be ‘bad bitches’….ok….whatever that means. Remember when the movie ‘Higher Learning’ and the sitcom ‘A Different World’ came out and we valued getting an education while navigating through life’s obstacles to achieve a higher purpose? Yeah, that was a long time ago. Now we just want our hair to be longer than the next chick and to find a sponsor.
Where did we go wrong? Here’s my answer: There is no one answer, but I can point out possible roots of our problems: Our cultural decline is largely due to a lack of valuing hard work. We are now obsessed with the easy way up. Society’s message to us is this: “If you have enough hits on Youtube, get on a reality show, jump off with enough celebrities (and record it of course!), or win a nationally televised competition, you can have the life you always dreamed of–TODAY!” So with that, we become overrun with Youtube, Twitter, and Myspace celebrities who’s false persona is nothing more than a mash of the crap that is the latest and “greatest” thing of the minute. Teen pregancy is up slightly, though I do not think that it is as much a threat as it was in the 90’s; and college enrollment is still hovering around a medocre rate of 67% for African-American females (New York Times). Parenting skills are, in my opinion, not what they should be. It’s been a topic of discussion that we’ve had for sometime but have yet to find ways to improve it. But if you want to solve the problem, be a part of the solution. Re-evaluate your situation and the people you associate with. Be a (positive) mentor to a young woman who needs it. Don’t fall victim to the status quo and follow the crowd. Learn to say no to things that make absolutely no sense to you or don’t feel right.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to indulge a little and be treated like a celebrity. But hello! Bring it back down to Earth and remember that 365 days out the year, you are YOU and NOT Beyoncé. Look at the fact that her career entails being in the public eye. The things that she enjoys are results of her years of hard work and sacrifice. Think about what you want people to remember about YOU in the long run. Ask yourself or someone you know, why do you want to be famous? Who is it that you are trying to be? Even better, why do you dislike yourself?
Ladies (and guys), where do you think women are headed? Is it a vast majority or small portion of airheads that ruin it for the rest of us?