Wednesday, September 26, 2007

When Things Were the "Best"

After watching me obsess over the whole Graceann issue last week, my daughter finally asked me where my yearbook was, so she could get a visual. I told her it was in the basement, and she dug it out with great enthusiasm. I showed her Graceann’s high school picture, and then we jumped over to the best section. You know, “best dressed"…"best looking"…"best hair", etc.

Graceann had won “best body.” When my daughter viewed the picture of Graceann in her white man-tailored, buttoned-up shirt tucked into her high-waist chinos with a small, thin belt, her mouth opened. Almost forlornly, she stated: “This girl would never win ‘best body’ in my school.” When I looked at the picture, I realized she was right. As a matter of fact, the only reason we knew that Graceann had a nice figure was because she was a cheerleader. She would never dream of coming to school in a micro-mini skirt with a miniscule tank top combined with a push-up bra that gave her more cleavage than one sees in a Victoria’s Secret catalog. None of us would have done that. Somewhere along the line, modesty flew out the window and headed so far down south, it made it to Antarctica. Add to this the large amount of young teachers coming into the schools, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. After going to “Back to School” night last night and meeting up with teachers who looked like they were hiding surfboards under their desks, I wondered how these young men could possibly teach a class without being distracted by the ocean of boobs in front of them.

Although we both agreed that the girl who won “best looking” was, by far, the prettiest girl in the school (and she was really nice, too, and now she’s a doctor…don’t you hate those girls?), she was shocked when she saw the girl who won “most popular”. “Mom, how was this girl the most popular girl in the whole school? She’s not even amazingly pretty, and she’s a little chunky.” Wow, I thought. So this is where our kids’ heads are at.

I looked at my daughter in disbelief, and she kindly retorted, “…Not that she wasn’t nice, or anything. But she would never win in my school, either.” I told her that not only was the girl who won “Most Popular” really nice, she was on every sport, she was one of the cheerleading captains, she was captain of “Heraea” (girl’s sports night) every year amongst other clubs, she was smart, and she knew just about everyone in the whole entire school. Surprisingly, my daughter looked at me and said, “I wish it was still like that now.” Admittedly, I felt her pain.

Perhaps there are more young girls out there than we would imagine who are tired of keeping up with their peers. Who are tired of starving themselves or throwing up to achieve some unnatural state of emaciation, just so they can fit into clothes from Abercrombe & Fitche. But what are we, as adults, doing to rectify this situation?

Absolutely not one damn thing.




Let’s take a look at our teenage girls’ (and younger) role models…Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, and that ever-popular Long Islander who lives one town over, Lindsay Lohan. These young women (dis)grace every magazine cover at the supermarket checkout stand. We idly watch as Britney walks around with no underwear, exposing herself and not even seeming to care. We as adults watched in horror as Nicole Ritchie starved herself down to 80lbs., while the attention she received only ignited our teens’ fire for their own attention even more. And as cruel as this sounds, Paris Hilton seems to be nothing more than the world’s biggest slut. Which is sad, because she seems to be the nicest one out of her group. Haven’t her parents taught her anything about morality?






Speaking of parents, we here on LI get to watch firsthand the antics of Dina Lohan. This woman’s actions speak volumes…she’s the “white Oprah Winfrey”?!? Hello!


Ms. Lohan…I know some of your friends. Some of them are only friends with you because they are narcissistic attention-mongers just as you seem to be. And then there are the others who “knew you when.” Those people are shocked at your behavior. They are shocked at your parenting skills (or lack of them). When your daughter was making a movie in L.A. at the vulnerable age of 17, living in a hotel by herself, and begging you to come out there every week, why didn’t you go? As a matter of fact, if Lindsay’s career was so important to you, why didn’t you just up and move your family to California? Your other children were certainly young enough to make the transition. Perhaps you were too busy trying to fulfill your own selfish career needs here in NY. When we hear stories such as the one about you being at a party with your daughter and introducing yourself to George Clooney as her “assistant” because according to you, once you say you’re someone’s “mom”, men don’t want to know from you…well, what do you expect us to think? Apparently, you thought that Mr. Clooney was just going to drop everything for you. I don’t know him from a hole in the wall, but I do know this: there has been less gossip about George Clooney in the last ten years than you’ve had in the last ten months. He seems like a gentleman who appreciates honesty (how many times has he said he’s not getting married?), and to be embarrassed by the fact that you are someone’s mom makes you as shallow as they come. Shame on you. Your daughter had the talent to be something amazing for years to come. Why don’t you step out of the limelight, and be what she needs in order to get back on her feet…her MOTHER. Not her competition. Perhaps the caption should read "Bizarre."


Whew…I feel better.


Sadly, I have no idea how to make the situation better. It seems as though I fight an uphill battle with my kids every single day about one selfish thing or another. They are surrounded by narcissism and self-absorption everywhere they turn ( as a matter of fact, so are we…if I hear the name OJ mentioned one more time in conjunction with a “not guilty” verdict, you will hear my scream around the world). It is getting harder and harder to be a parent, and it’s much more stressful than when our folks raised us (and I don’t even think they’d disagree, even though they walked ten miles to school every day in the snow, barefoot). I try my best every day, and I hope for the same. Yes, sometimes I feel like running away. But perhaps someday, all of this stress will be worth it. Lord knows, it would be a lot easier to ignore my kids and only worry about myself. I guess in some way, I should be thanking the parents who have done just that. They’ve given us a glimpse of the horrors of being a child’s “pal” instead of their “parent.” And in most cases, even though I know they love their kids, the outcome is not good.


(The following video clip is supposed to be funny...but quite frankly, I found it appalling and hypocritical. What are your thoughts?)



http://crackle.com/c/Moving_Targets/Role_Models/2005534#ml=fk%3Drole%2520models%2520video%26fx%3D%26o%3D7


28 comments:

LZ Blogger said...

I wish I could see my year book, but... those stone tablets are just so darn heavy to lug around! ~ jb///

Mark said...

It is a shame how things have changed. I have a feeling our parents said the same thing and their parenets said the same thing about them.
I think what makes it worse today is the way MTV and other media outlets proliferate the view that we must all be pretty, reckless and rich to be worth anything.

annie said...

I think it is amazing how we set our values as a nation...
I agree with you about the video, it was disturbing.

Matty said...

Lisa,
Seems high school has always been like that.
When schools let kids vote for the 'best body', best looking, best dressed, best hair....what exactly are they telling our kids? If your body is chunky and you can't afford designer clothes where exactly do you stand? The schools have to change how they view students and encourage the kids to vote for...personality, character & kindness traits. No wonder kids are so mixed up today.

Shimmerrings said...

I hate the cheerleading, these days. They are no longer cheers... they are training our youngsters to make vulgar body movements, not cheer moves. What used to be cheering has now turned into some sort of dancing. I think it's very inappropriate and is sending the wrong message.

Lisa said...

Dear Jerry,

You crack me up!! Hey, I'm sure you're around my age, so WATCH IT!! I'll have to poke you with my chisel.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Mark,

I hate MTV, although I loved it back in the eighties when it was just music videos (and before they became soft porn). I honestly think it is almost single-handedly to blame for the ruination of our youth. Turn one of the various MTV channels on during the afternoon...you will be appalled at what our youth is being fed. Not an ounce of morality in sight. Very sad.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Annie,

Unfortunately, a lot of the powerful people in America don't have many good values...they put their value on whatever will keep them on top of everyone else.

Yes, I found that video appalling, too. Someone drew my attention to the video after it, calling it child pornography...and when I viewed it, I believe they are absolutely right. There is no way that girl can be more than 14. If you continue viewing, there is a video called "Baby Models"...a group of what looks like six year olds parading around and shaking their booties in mini-dresses and eventually bikinis. I don't understand much Spanish, but I did hear the word "caliente" quite often throughout the video. Personally, I wonder if the parents of these kids are in their right minds, or if they honestly really think about who's getting the most out of viewing their little girls behaving like grown women. I doubt it's other little girls.

We're starting young girls on this road of destruction younger and younger every day. It's not only sad; it's sick. God help us.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Matty,

I do agree with you on your point about school always being like that, but what my kids go to school with today is nothing like it was when I went 25 years ago. These girls come to school half-naked, and it has become all about what you have, not who you are.

Although we did have "cliques" when I was in high school, no one was mean to anyone else...everybody had their "group" that they mostly hung out with, but that didn't stop them from being friends with anyone else! My friends from high school and I always say that we might just have been a rarity. Most of us have great memories from that time (and I was neither popular or skinny back then)!

I just wish it could be a little more like it was when I was young.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Shimmerings (you're beautiful!!),

How right you are. And now they have a reality show to become (I believe) a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. I caught a few minutes of this show the other night while flipping through the channels. It seemed as though all that mattered were butt shaking and boobs, and I thought the show was extremely boring and stupid. There was even a mom who was an ex-cheerleader for the team that was prepping her daughter for that lifestyle, as well. She admittedly told her daughter that she needed to make her shorts "tighter and shorter" to achieve the right look. Whatever. I guess this is what makes the world go round...

Take good care,
Lisa

Guilty Secret said...

I can't believe they made that video with little girls!

I guess you just have to do what you can to explain the crazy world out there to your kids, and encourage them to look to more appropriate role models.

Desiree said...

You are so very right Lisa, it is so much more difficult today to be a parent and to be a kid as well. We are up against so much! What's more, today's kids have so much more to deal with. Things that we never even thought of when we were kids.

As for these lovely role models. We can only blame ourselves and the media. Ourselves because apparently this is the type of news we want to read about as the media is only in this for the almighty dollar and they feel they are giving us what we want. And of course I blame the media for not taking any social responsibility. The sad thing Lisa is that there are truly remarkable young people out there that could be wonderful role models however the media chooses not to focus on them.
The answer may be that we have to start boycotting this crap plain and simple! The trouble is that it's so wide spread I'm not so sure how to suggest going about accomplishing that.

Loving Annie said...

That video was a sad and sick commentary on young girl 'role models' today, Lisa.

I understood every word of your post, and shuddered in empathy. It's one of the times where I am glad I don't have any children, and am not faced with that myriad of painful and diifuclt issues that surround today's teenagers...

Life was catty back when, but not as horribly superficial and dangerous as it is now...

I miss those days of relative innocence, of the worst sins being tee-peeing a house, or sneaking out to go to a rock and roll concert but being back home by midnight WITHOUT having had sex before you were 18....

And as far as your question still about your friend who completed suicide, if you still want to know, Lisa, e-mail me and I will give you my phone number and we can talk.
I have the answers. I know them intimately. You may not like hearing them, but they are the truth of what she did and why she felt no-one could truly help...

Loving Annie
www.yesilovethat@gmail.com

Carine said...

I just think life has gotten way out of hand! what was important to daily life when I was in high school isn't even considered today.
Personally, I liked when things were less high tech and more homespun

Lisa said...

Dear Guilty Secret,

Some of the videos on that site were so offensive. I often wonder what the parents are thinking to allow their kids to be part of stuff like that! But you're right, we can only encourage the positive, and hope for the best. Thank you for stopping by!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Desiree,

First of all, HI!! I was worried about you! Glad to see you again.

You are absolutely right about us boycotting offensive things. I stopped buying the Enquirer several years ago because of a hurtful contradiction that they put on their cover. I had noticed that Lara Flynn Boyle was on the cover because of her anorexia. While at the checkout stand two months later, she was again on the cover...in a montage about "stars with cellulite"!! I felt really bad for her, especially since they put a close-up of her tiny leg on the cover with a few small dimples. I mean, give me a break!! She couldn't win...she was either being attacked because she was too thin, or criticized because she had cellulite! They need to make up their minds, and realize how hurtful it is to these stars who have to deal with this nonsense. They are human, too!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Loving Annie,

I agree, life was simpler back then. Yes, there might have been a few obnoxious people, but it wasn't 90% of the school population like it is now!!

And thanks for the advice and information. It really did help, and you're very kind.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Carine,

Amen to that!! I wish we could've moved to a less "offensive" area years ago. But I guess in some way, all schools have their issues! Hopefully, the public will get sick enough of all of this that the "nice" role models will make a comeback.

Take good care,
Lisa

Loving Annie said...

Good Saturday evening to you, Lisa ! How are you ? How is your weekend going ?

I added you to my links, and you have an 'honorable mention' in today's "thank-you's" !

It was a pleasure to talk with yu the other night. I'm glad it helped.

(Normally I would never have revealed the deeply personal issues of the past that I shared with you, but I thought given the context of the conversation, it was necessary.)

It's easy to understand someone when you have been there/done that; and I am glad it gave you some measure of peace of mind in answering your questions.

*cyber hugs and smiles*
Loving Annie

Lisa said...

Dear Annie,

The pleasure was all mine. Actually, you speak as you write. I hope you weren't too shocked at my "New Yawk" accent, Ha!!

I will pop on over today...thanks for the honorable mention! And thanks again for the help.

Take good care,
Lisa

Big Dave T said...

Not having young children anymore, and never having had girls, I'm wondering whether there ARE any good female role models for pre-teens or young teens. What about Hannah Montana? I'm really lost when it comes to youth culture today.

Lisa said...

Dear Dave,

There was Mandy Moore, but I just caught an eyefull of her doing some inappropriate things (although it was supposed to "be all in fun"...but sure, let's corrupt the one good role model we have left)!

I don't know what has happened. I know it's everywhere, but I do wish we had been able to move from here a few years back. Long Island does seem to be a little more superficial than the rest of New York state. My husband and I are tired of living "out of our element", so to speak! Or maybe we're just tired of all the nonsense. We're thankful for the "real" people we have in our lives.

Take good care,
Lisa

Loving Annie said...

Just came by to say hello on Wednesday the 3rd, Lisa !

Hope that all is well.

*smiles to you and all those you love*

Loving Annie

Betty said...

Oh, that video was creepy! Just when I say I've seen it all, something like this comes along. Today's society is so high tech, so high stimulation, and this is a result. We now know so little of peace and innocence.

Hugs,
Betty

Micah Reeves said...

I feel the same way. Shallow is a word society has come to know well.

Lisa said...

Dear Annie,

Hope all is well by you...I haven't had much time to visit anyone, or even write a new post (this one was so negative...I'm hoping to get back to my more positive posts from this past year)! I'll try to get over by you today!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Betty,

You've hit the nail right on the head. We've become over-stimulated to the point that we're numb. It's so sad for our kids...and really hard for us.

Hope all is well by you! I've been waiting for a new post, so I'll stop by today to see what's new!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Micah,

Yes, you are right. People are so empty nowadays of what really matters. Just a general compassion for fellow humans as our equals is even hard to find.

Thank you for stopping by! I visited your site, and your recipes look delicious! Especially the chili...I love chili at this time of year!

Take good care,
Lisa