April 22, 2006

On Sweet 16's, Rotten Teens (and pre-teens) and Paris Hilton

An interesting piece in this week's TIME magazine discusses the increasingly disturbing trend among teens. No, it's not sex, drugs, drinking, or dropping out of high school. Well, I'm not sure how to put it, maybe frivolously spending money on anything and everything that may be remotely "hot" or has a brand name attached to it. This rant might sound a little off because I'm on lots of drugs right now (Tylenol, Robitussin, and lots of Halls) and because this crap is really getting to me.

I'm so fed up with this focus on money, money, money. Every teen age girl these days seems to own at least one Coach handbag, if not Louis Vuitton, Dooney & Bourke, Fendi, etc. She's at the salon every day, manicures and pedicures every week, and of course designer outfits from the Puma shoes to the Bebe top. Forget the fact that her parents are probably $20,000 in debt, that their credit cards are maxed out, her mom looks like she just walked out of a homeless shelter, and her dad probably works at McD's. The problem is both with girls who can afford but more so with girls who cannot. Of course this a boy's problem too, but I'm not that familiar with what guys are into these days.

Back to the gals and the TIME article. Ana Marie Cox writes about lavish Sweet 16 parties and the hit MTV show that documents these sad displays of superficial glitsy teens and parents who's main goal is to compete with one another.
MTV's highly rated My Super Sweet 16 [...] documents the excesses of privileged youths commemorating the mighty achievement of making it through their 16th year. Shell-shocked parents--always uttering the mantra "It was worth it"--typically peel off checks for upwards of $200,000. We learn that from the Sun Belt to Erie, Pa., the lack of taste knows no ethnic, religious or cultural bounds. You give teenagers $200,000, and they will spend it exactly as you would expect. The parties are the aesthetic equivalent of Hilary Duff MP3s.
Let me repeat... two-hundred thousand US dollars... the cost of about 10 Honda Civics; a nice 2-bedroom flat in North Carolina; I can't bear to go on.
A precocious celebutant makes her entrance via helicopter. A self-proclaimed "divo" (like diva but different) rents out the mall to stage a faux fashion show (prompting a backstage catfight over a limited supply of bustiers). There are hired dancers, a raj-like litter hoisted by hand-picked hotties and an apparent contractual obligation for someone to arrive in a stretch Hummer. I had no idea so many stretch Hummers even existed. No wonder we had to go to war in Iraq.
Oh yes, Iraq... Forget it, I won't even go there.

Some might say I'm coming down too harsh on these kids, let them enjoy their youth for Paris Hilton's sake! If they can afford it, why not, right?

Blasting such shows on the most watched channel by teens is a recipe for disaster. Every girl will want that kind of party, helicopter entrance and all. What's next? Renting out an island? Oops, they probably already did that.
Thankfully, I don't have cable TV for this specific reason. I don't watch much of this trash anyway, but I have seen clips of this show and it's really sickening.
I don't understand how parents can support these things?! The only explanation is that they are reaping the benefits too. Their daughter's party becomes the talk of the town for a week or so. Whooptee doo!

I hate how we are being sucked into this market crap more and more. We can't even buy things that look nice anymore. Handbags that look like the designer's throw-up but has a tiny little label is HOT, and sells for hundreds of $.

Conformity and uniformity make me sick! I hate seeing everyone with the same shoes, same jeans, same handbags! What ever happened to being unique? To standing out? And I don't mean by having a pricier Fendi bag.

What I fear is this...
The series is like an infomercial for class war, and should the revolution come, an episode guide will provide a handy, illustrated list of who should go up against the wall.
This is not an outlandish thought at all. Don't think that we don't have people starving in this country. Look at our screwed up economy, tax cuts for the rich and everything in between. High schools are boiling with these tensions. And don't tell me it's always been like this.

What will happent to our girls? If their future is that of Paris Hilton, someone shoot me now please.

We need a wake up call. I don't know how loud/scary it has to be for us to respond.

Take a look at the full TIME article, it's definitely worth a read.

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At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do agree that most of the show's stars are excessively spoiled, but in actuality, some of them do have a nice side. MTV does not always present an objective view. One example would be the girl from Erie, PA. If you watched that episode, you might have noticed there was a collection jar at the entrance table at the party. Instead of asking for people to bring her gifts, she instead asked people to donate money to support a charity that helps foster children find homes. Of course, this was not on the actual show but rather in an article in the local Erie newspaper.


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