by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 23 Feb 2006)
My column today is for the ladies (sorry guys!). Okay, girls I just have to tell you about a new song that just hit the charts, “I don’t wanna be a stupid girl.” This song is performed by Pink, an artist I have always admired for her ability to put out material that has a deeper substance than the typical shallowness that pervades contemporary pop culture.
In her new song Pink wants to know what ever happened to all of the smart girls and then she remembers, oh yeah, the smart girl is dressed in a skimpy outfit and dancing next to 50 Cent in a video. Pink boldly declares that she does not want to be that stupid girl.
After hearing the song and reading the reviews, I scoured the Internet to watch the video for this song and it made me feel ashamed for succumbing to the superficiality of that make-believe world at times. Pink mocks the likes of Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Brittney Spears by showing how these girls have little more than a nice voice and a set of fake breasts to offer the world.
In fact, these girls are the exact opposite of what I want my own girls to be in life. I do not want my daughters to think if they flaunt their beauty they can treat the rest of the world with disregard. The image portrayed by these famous faces, and that Pink is taking to task, is not the sentiment that young women should be embracing at this crucial junction of fresh opportunity that awaits women in the 21st century.
Like men, we no longer have to be beautiful to be someone in life. We are no longer a commodity to be bartered depending on how appealing the package. We are our own persons and we determine our own futures. Our intelligence, drive and determination will get us farther in today’s world than being just another pretty face.
I will admit, regrettably, that I have been sucked into this shallow world to varying degrees at different times in my life. For example, since my mother died from skin cancer, I’ve never been one to stay in the sun for any length of time. So when I wanted that deep tan donned by those in Hollywood, I wasted my money to try to get it. But it never looked good on me and I can’t help but wonder if those chemicals aren’t worse than the effects of the sun I was trying to avoid.
Now why would I waste my money on something so trivial when I know better? Just like every real woman in the world, I am beautiful in my own way and I do not need to try to look like someone else (who probably got her beauty from a cosmetic surgeon) to be beautiful.
Before I turned 30, I wanted desperately for the world to stop looking at my bosom and start looking at my brain. Now that I am approaching 40, I find more and more that my intellect and personality are the traits that make me shine.
No doubt there are men out there who want women who are ignorant and have no opinion – I have met this type of man myself. These guys would prefer a shallow woman to be arm candy instead of an intelligent one, but they are also usually shallow themselves and couldn’t keep up with a smart woman with a strong opinion.
I absolutely believe beauty and intelligence can coincide in one woman, but her brainpower should always outshine her pretty face.
In Pink’s video, there is a cute little girl struggling with a good angel on one shoulder telling her to be herself and a bad angel on the other shoulder encouraging her to be shallow – to flip her hair, look down on the “small people” and to be beautiful no matter what it takes. In the end, the little girl glances at her Barbie dolls and then takes off with a football instead. She chose to be her own woman and I’d gladly play some ball with her anytime.
Ladies, my concern is that our young women are growing up in a world where shallowness is celebrated and intelligence is scorned. Our daughters are finally in a position to be whatever they want to be in life, but too often the women they choose to emulate have limited themselves to be judged by their outward appearance.
Our daughters are expected to fit this unrealistic image of a paper-thin woman who is visually appealing and can sometimes sing (and sometimes not) and those girls who don’t fit the mould are left to feel like something is wrong with them – when in fact it is the sick system of anorexia that is wrong.
How many movies and television shows have an overweight, unattractive man playing the husband/father role and his wife is a beautiful skinny woman? There are several. Now how many shows have an overweight, unattractive woman married to a gorgeous, well-built man? I cannot think of even one. Both of these scenarios are unrealistic, but only one is broadcast into our homes.
This sends a very clear message that it is acceptable for men to be less than perfect, but it is not acceptable for women to be anything but perfect – as defined by shallow Hollywood. I love that Pink pops up out of nowhere and shatters that perfect image into tiny little pieces. I don’t need to have a tan or be paper thin to be beautiful, I am beautiful just as I am – and so are you.
We need women like Pink who will take such a strong stand for our daughters. Even more, we need to take a stand for our daughters by teaching them that they are beautiful even if they don’t fit the image being imposed on them through television and magazines. Together we can reshape society’s definition of beauty to include a more accurate version of real women.
The stupid girls from Pink’s song are the exact opposite of what this world needs from the feminine half of the population. There is poverty all around us, violence and wars, and people dying over cartoons. What the world needs is for smart ladies to stop hiding out in their houses, realise they have a responsibility to their generation and get out in the world with their sleeves rolled up, ready to work.
Someone needs to set this world in proper working order and it sure won’t be those stupid girls.