We R Who We R… or R We?

Jacquelyn Colina, AP Lit Set 4

What do pop stars Katy Perry and Ke$ha have in common? Both ladies have brainwashed America’s youth in 2010.  Their captivating sound and daring lyrics express the naked truth of “American society” – or at least Hollywood’s version of it. Their main audience – vulnerable teenage girls – readily imitates the lyrics and music videos of these two influential artists whose music is regrettably addicting.

 In a letter to Seventeen Magazine Jamie Keiles, a college freshman with mixed feelings on Katy Perry, writes, “Honestly, I wish her music didn’t exist. I imagine that the bulk of her listeners are teenage girls, an audience that really doesn’t need more media enforcing the idea that women are merely sex objects and appearance reigns king.” Keiles expresses a common dilemma among radio listeners. The clash between catchy beats and distasteful messages often leaves the listener feeling as though they must explain the reason for their interest. “I’m not saying we can’t take it, I’m just saying that we probably don’t need it. Her music, however, does exist, and I am still listening to it.”

The content of Perry’s songs closely mirrors Ke$ha’s glitter-infused pop music. Her incessant partying, bad decision making, and references to Mick Jagger reflect her careless lifestyle. Unfortunately, many young girls cannot differentiate the fictitious and shallow content of music from reality. They idolize pop stars such as Katy Perry and Ke$ha, perceiving their music to be accurate portrayals of adolescent behavior. As Keiles explained, the virtually nonexistent maturity levels of their listeners leave them susceptible to the Hollywood image of the “real world”.

Perry’s interpretation of true love implies that women must prove it through sexual acts. The causal suggestion of “Let’s go all the way tonight/ No regrets, just love,” roughly translates to “we might regret this action later, but at the present moment, it is acceptable,” – a dangerous message that strongly influences the choices of young girls who feel as though they “love” their boyfriend of three weeks.

It is ultimately the listener’s choice to act upon the media’s messages of acceptable behavior. Glitter, alcohol, and fireworks typically have little to zero involvement in one’s teenage years. Song titles such as “Your Love Is My Drug”, “Waking Up In Vegas”, and “California Gurls” insinuate that teenagers who “have a life” obsess over their love interest, party hard in Sin City, and wear little to no clothing on the West coast.

At the Academy, however, we girls pour over The Princeton Review’s ACT and SAT study guides, schedule hair and makeup appointments for Christmas Formal weeks in advance, and sport sweats and messy buns whenever we can get away with it. Truth be told, the typical teenager’s life does not, in fact, revolve around boys, booze, and bikinis.

With discretion, today’s music is essentially harmless. No sane person would possibly imitate Ke$ha’s bizarre antics – or classify Mick Jagger as the ideal man. Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” is an altogether ridiculous cliché of a made for TV romance film. If America’s youth grow up aspiring to fulfill these outlandish generalizations of our culture, then maybe the current economic crisis is the least of our worries.