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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Drop the stupid act girls

Drop the stupid act girls

Naomi Kazzi laments the proliferation of American pop culture raunch, infiltrating televisions and magazines all over Australia.

We are currently living in a world where we are trapped and suffocated by American pop culture. We live in a place where Australians can easily recall the first American president but suddenly experience a moment of amnesia when asked to name the first Australian Prime Minister; it is a place where Coca Cola signs are permanently situated on our city streets, where American franchises are so familiar we forget they¹re foreign. Our television sets can¹t resist the American air and our movie screens are absolutely obsessed with Hollywood blockbusters. Our music charts are no different; they too can only handle a limited quantity of Australian songs at any one time. So it is no surprise that American musical phenomenon Pink¹s latest hit song titled Stupid Girls is just as relevant to Australia¹s young female generation as it is to the same American demographic.

Released internationally in March, Stupid Girls is the first track from Pink¹s new Album, I'm Not Dead. The song describes a new wave of young shallow female celebrities who have a strong constant presence in the media and an enormous fellowship of highly mpressionable ¹tweenage¹ girls.

But Stupid Girls itself is nowhere near as controversial as its video clip. Directed by Dave Meyers, it comments on the ridiculous antics of Œartists¹ such as Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, the Olsen Twins and Britney Spears. Although their names are never mentioned in the lyrics, Pink aims to satirise the image of these celebrities by dressing like them and re-enacting real events in their lives. The re-enactments include Lindsay Lohan¹s infamous car accidents, Paris Hiltons¹ sex tapes, Jessica Simpsons¹raunchy music video and the Olsen twin¹s obsessive shopping sprees. The song¹s message doesn¹t end there, Pink also questions the suitability of these role models for today¹s youth, as she asks :²Where have all the smart people gone?Š What happened to the idea of a girl president, instead she¹s dancing in a video next to 50 cent².

The questions regarding female representations in the media are not exclusive to Pink. For years many social commentators have asked similar questions about the media and Hollywood¹s portrayal of the Œideal¹ female who is an object of sexual desire, attractive and extremely thin. Many researchers have also focused on the effects of this on younger
Generations of females.

The ŒStupid Girl¹ era is currently at its peak. With mainstream role models such as Jessica Simpson, who can¹t tell the difference between fish and chicken and Paris Hilton, who is famous for being famous, it¹s no surprise that a recent British survey of 15 to 19 year old females published in The Sunday Times, revealed that 63% would rather be a topless model than a doctor or a nurse. A quarter thought lap dancing was a good profession, but only 3% aspired to be teachers.

High rating television shows such as The OC also attribute to instilling messages on the subject of females being slim, gorgeous, wearing the latest designer fashion and acting really stupid because it¹s viewed as Œcute¹.This message has been heard by enough Australian¹s that Supre fashion stores nation-wide have succeeded in selling a clothes line based on the popular American series.

Today¹s younger generation of females seems to believe that intelligence is Œuncool¹, while stupid is Œsexy¹. The primary misconception appears to be that self-worth and acceptance can be achieved through owning material possessions and succumbing to the media¹s image of what is said to be a Œbeautiful¹ or Œhot¹ female. This is both unhealthy and unrealistic, and the ramifications of following this ŒStupid Girl¹ movement can only lead to further confusion about identity.

This recent crisis has been explored by a research paper published in an issue of the Australasian Marketing Journal, the paper found that Australian magazines targeted at young females, such as Dolly, Girlfriend and Barbie Magazine all reinforce prevailing stereotypes of females and support unrealistic body types. It was also noted that advertisers still have some way to go in terms of deconstructing stereotypes of women. One of the main questions this study raises is how consistent use of these stereotypes Will affect the self-esteem, confidence, body image and self-identity of young females in the future.

Social commentators, researchers, academics and even concerned parents have warned about the severity of the implications of this current Œstupid Girl¹epidemic, all their precautions have been ignored especially by those who should listen: young females. Perhaps this battle can only be fought in the realm of pop culture; fighting fire with fire may be the only solution. Regardless of whether Pink is a good role model or not, her latest song Stupid Girls is refreshing, it is a great start at reexamining the restrictive image of what a young female should be. Right now Œstupid¹ is boring, in the words of Pink ³Outcasts and girls with ambition that¹s what I wanna see!²

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