Girls’ aspirations drop to reality show stardom

Sydney Zuelke, Reporter

As young girls, many of us wanted to be princesses, actresses, singers – we wanted to be rich and famous. But what does it take to get there? The answer has become so warped from what it was 15 years ago, corrupting today’s young minds with what society believes one needs to succeed in life, and how to be accepted.

In the 90’s, it was all the hype to read Goosebumps, or Choose Your Own Adventure novels. Today I can’t help but flinch when I see 13-year-old girls purchasing Cosmopolitan magazines from the local drug store. I remember when our role models were wholesome girls like DJ from “Full House” and Hilary Duff. Now girls aspire to be like Snooki or Kim Kardashian.

Being famous used to be having pure, honest talent. Today, being famous revolves around partying, drugs, alcohol, sex, and materialism.

Reality television show “Toddlers and Tiaras” gives young girls the idea that one must be pretty to get anywhere in life – beauty over brains. Shoving glued-on eyelashes on your five year-old and giving her a spray tan and a padded bra would not have been acceptable a decade ago.

“Jersey Shore,” watched by many young girls, portrays casual sex and getting alcohol poisoning as the “cool” thing to do. Recently, “Jersey Shore” “star,” Snooki, was paid $32,000 to give a speech at Rutgers University ($2,000 more than Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison received for his speech.) My favorite quote of hers was, “Study hard, party harder.” How much lower can society’s standards go?

The show “16 and Pregnant” brings fame to teen moms all over the country, suggesting that others in the same situation can make millions too. I don’t know about others’ up-bringing, but if I was pregnant at that age, I would be on the show “16 and Missing,” a “Without a Trace” special episode.

It’s sad to see how much potential young girls in this day and age have without society pushing them in the wrong direction. People don’t realize how much influence they truly have on today’s youth. The glamorization of sex, pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, and unruly behavior in general has created a false reality. Young girls are not being shown that their actions have consequences, and the line that separates right and wrong has faded.

Maybe girls would try harder in school if they were taught that it pays off in the end. When we have a “Jersey Shore” cast member, who never attended college, making $100,000 an episode (usually once a week), and a doctor, who roughly makes between $100,000 and $150,000 in an entire year, why would any young person strive to put in the work? Maybe they would spend more time studying than applying their makeup if they were given the motivation.

Young girls need to realize fulfillment isn’t achieved through materialistic things, attention, or how many compliments you get in a day. It’s about knowing and respecting yourself, and constantly setting high standards.

I hope to see the day when young girls aspire to be famous astronauts, surgeons, or writers. Maybe in the future we can re-write our definition of fame, and gain self-respect back.