Thursday, January 5, 2012

What Girls Want

On New Year’s Eve I had the incredible opportunity to spend some time around a few teenagers. I love kids, especially when they talk to one another, but that night provided me with scary insight as to What Girls Want. Not necessarily from guys—sorry for anyone who came here thinking I have all the answers—but from themselves and from other women.

As the epic countdown to the end of the world 2012 neared, someone turned on the big screen tv and flipped through different channels, trying to discover the most entertaining program to watch. Since the high school seniors had control over the remote, the channel changed frequently.

Lady Gaga, Will.i.am, LMFAO, Fergie, some chick who used to be a Disney girl . . . these are just a few I remember—no old jokes, k?—who graced the screen. What I found interesting is how the girls at this small gathering tore apart the beautiful women.

“What did Fergie do to her hair?” asked one teen with a sour face.

“It’s white . . . to match her dress,” replied another.

“She looks awful.”

I sat there, mouth hanging open, in utter outrage. Not at these teenage girls, but at society. WHAT THE HELL?? While Fergie may not be able to sing any better than me, she certainly didn’t look hideous on New Year’s Eve, definitely no more hideous than the strange act that was LMFAO.

But these girls didn’t reduce any of the men down; they only reduced this beautiful, successful, woman to nothing. I’m not claiming Fergie is perfect, but when it comes to women, the only thing that seems to matter any more is beauty.

Why? I hope someone can answer this for me, bring me into the “know” before I lose my temper.

Not every woman in the spotlight deserves to be a role model, but instead of looking at the way they act, we look at their appearance. It didn’t matter that the men of LMFAO wore pants too tight for them, hanging off their asses like a bunch of idiots—and yes, I get the clothing is all a part of their act, but still—or that their hair was ridiculously styled or they wore 1980’s sunglasses without the lenses, bedazzled glasses at that.

I’m not 100% innocent, but I make an effort not to tear women down—it’s really hard when the likes of Lady Gaga appear with strange outfits and horrible dance moves; although she can sing. Aren’t we all equals? Why do women have to be gorgeous, knockout beauties with talent well beyond all others, just to be considered less valuable than weird men who act nothing like a man should act?

The women of this young generation and every generation after will have to work harder to compete in the workforce, will HAVE to go to college and earn a degree at the top of their class, will have to fight for every opportunity to succeed. We should encourage one another, applaud our achievements, smile at the successes of others, because one day, if we try hard enough, that person in the spotlight could be us.

Wouldn’t you prefer to know all the other women were cheering you on instead of spitting at your feet and casting you aside?

I challenge all my young readers to look for beauty other than on people’s faces, look for beauty in their hearts.

25 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more. This society has created women who feel so insecure they focus only on superficiality and nothing else. Intellect, heart, dedication, hard work - nothing means anything anymore. Only the side of their boobs and their hair color make a difference. How sad. I hope it doesn't stay that way.

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  2. I just hope at some point we women band together and support each other!

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  3. It's a sad fact, but that's how most people operate. From a male perspective, men do the exact same thing both to each other and to women. More often it's to each other though. You can't stray from a very narrow, rigid definition of the masculine without incurring derision from your fellow men.

    This isn't a gender problem - it's a human problem. It comes from when we don't look at people as people. Instead, we look at them and see a reflection of our own desires and our own flaws. It is pure Ego at work (I use the word a bit differently than most...it refers often to pride, but Freud uses it to mean "I-ness". I refer to the "inherent 'I'", a Buddhist concept. ...just to clarify, haha).

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  4. I couldn't have said it better. Nicely done!

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  5. Interesting that men do it as well. I didn't see the male side of the situation, as most of the teens were girls...the boys kind of sat there quietly. ;-)

    It's sad that we tear each other apart, sad that our own egos (as you say) get in the way of being happy for the successes of others.

    We make life so hard on ourselves!

    And thanks, Amberr! I hope some girls see this and change their ways! Or at least make an attempt to.

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  6. I too think both male and females do this, but in different scenarios; as Andrew says above, some men will put another man down when he doesn't conform to the masculine cliche (normally resulting in homophobic ranting and suggesting the man in question is really a woman, etc). Men who conform to the general image of masculinity tend to be unaffected.

    Female groups however will rip apart both types of women, those who conform and those who don't. There's a lot of chat about this on the blogosphere, mainly by feminist sites (most of it is rubbish and biased nonsense, though they occassionaly raise good questions. And I say that as a feminist!)

    Personally I think it's something a percentage of women have always done to each other - they see other women as competition, so someone who is perceived to be successful/attractive/intelligent is a prime target. The "oddballs" are easy pickings too, in the way anyone who dares to be different always is. The only way to stop it is to confront it, and most teenagers in my experience have no clue they do it until someone points it out to them.

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  7. Thank you for commenting, Vivacia. I definitely pointed it out to the girls--one of them reads my blog frequently...so I hope you aren't mad at me, A!--and they were like, "Oh, you're right."

    I agree with Andrew's perception that we project what we think is right, wrong, etc, based on our views of ourselves. The whole thing is interesting, but I do wish we'd all support each other more. :-)

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  8. interesting thoughts... we are often caught knocking down each other. What should matter then? Why is it that all we see when we look at women is how they look? It is no wonder my female friends number fewer than my male friends. Many of us are not very nice.

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  9. great article I have noticed this too and find teenage girls the most judgemental people in our society not just about women though but about personal circumstances I think they have become more opinionated and feel they have a right to voice their opinions regardless of consequence, without having the real life experience to back it up ...surely girl power is about bettering one self not destroying the opposition but working with it.
    All I can say ...forget girl power lets have Woman Power instead !!!

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  10. Alexx you might be onto something. I wonder if competing is just part of our genetic make-up?

    Woman Power! All for it! I say Humanity Power. Be nice to everyone! :-)

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  11. What a fascinating insight into the teen mind and our culture! I think women in the workplace do this, too. And maybe moms, who are often quick to judge another mom's parenting. It seems like it might be connected to something I observed at a women's retreat I led last fall. I realized that the women, especially the older women, had a very hard time expressing positive and compassionate thoughts about themselves. I hope you will follow up with some other thoughts about this topic.

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  12. Moms are definitely quick to judge. My daughter always rips her socks and shoes off. So the other day I didn't bother putting them back on her before we ran into the store. This woman chastised me in line because it was a cold night. Umm...we were out of the car for literally one minute, then into the warm store. My daughter's feet weren't exactly going to turn blue and fall off. When I scolded her and gave her the evil eye, she shut up. :-) I'm sure she took my plate numbers and called social services.

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  13. Great post, Krystal. Champion people to look at the beauty, not the bad. We can all do it. My husband laughs at me as I just love Gwyneth Paltrow in the movies...I love looking at her, listening to her voice, watching her elegance, pure beauty. Perhaps I'll start seeking that in others too, and not just movie stars.

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  14. It's funny, because I'm under the impression that girls care a lot about what other girls/women think. I've always thought women dress for other women, not really for men, yet they are so judgemental about other women. No wonder we all have such self-esteem issues! We all compare ourselves and maybe that's where it's all going wrong...if a girl compares herself and feels she's coming up short maybe she feels the need to publicly pull down the other person to feel better about herself...just a theory.
    Isn't it better to look for the good and do the best to measure up yourself?
    I'm nothing special myself, but would hope I am judged for who I am and what I've achieved rather than my outward appearance, I put effort in, but none of us are perfect are we?!

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  15. When they learn to lift up their fellow women, they'll realize a power that will influence every aspect of their lives.

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  16. Barbara Dehaba1/05/2012

    Great subject, insightful comments. Maybe if the ethic of reciprocity, the Golden Rule, were taught more, those unkind words would not be uttered. It's simple, basic and easy to remember, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

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  17. Fear is what makes us arrogant, mean, judgmental, or stupid - fear. All our efforts to remedy the behaviors resulting from fear are addressing symptoms rather than the true problem. Fear has a thousand faces, but only one real effect - to make us so much less than we are.

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  18. it's got to be the end of the world, i even wrote a poem about it
    last day of the last year ;)

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  19. I particularly agree with the comments from Gene Pool Diva and Christina Carson. I also don't believe this is a new issue. People are people and this is a common trait. The best way to counteract it as with other such things is to defy it and lead as a good example of the way we should behave. In this case, making an effort to show being sincerely praiseful and complimentary to other women.

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  20. It has to start with fathers and brothers. Girls get their self esteem from their fathers and when they hear how the males in the family talk about Victoria Secret models and Roseanne Barr it is obvious which direction they need to go.

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  21. Anonymous1/06/2012

    I think I barely made it out of the generation that speculates and ridicules female behavior, but I definitely know a lot of upcoming teens/young adults that glorify such stupidity. That fact that women can be so critical of another female(but be sensitive when it's dished back at them) is totally mind-blowing.

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  22. By the way, Krystal , this is your co-worker. And I still love that song :) lol #PartyRock

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  23. I love that song, too. :-)

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  24. I completely get what you mean. I hope I can say this without sounding up myself, so I'll just recount what happened. Some of you know I'm a lawyer. It's not something I make a secret of. So when I first came online, quite some years ago, I found it quite offensive when people told me that I am beautiful and I should be a model. Not because I was told I was beautiful (who doesn't like a compliment) but because that seems to be more important than my brain. THAT'S the bit I find offensive. Is there some reason I should aspire to be a model instead of a lawyer? I MIGHT make more money that way (IF I was lucky enough to make the big time - but I note I'm NOT the tall, thin type you so often seem to see in modelling) but I have a good steady income as a lawyer and it makes me happy ceuasde I'm not bored out of my brain. Why was it that so many people assumed that the way I look is more important than my intelligence? I hate it, it drives me insane. We should value women not just on their appearance. Looks fade as you get older, but you can usually manage to hang on to your brain a bit longer. Hell, I even managed to make mine function during pregnancy, but I looked bloody terrible!

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  25. I can relate, Ciara. I had a few male readers who said it was my looks that drew them in to read my stuff. Made me feel awful. I'd rather people read my writing because it's good, not for what I look like.

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