Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Why Don’t Young Women Care about the End of the World?

Posted in politics by allisonkilkenny on May 9, 2007

By Allison Kilkenny at Huffington Post

Alternate Title:Yes, This is a Direct Challenge. Please, Prove Me Wrong
Alternate Title 2:The Cheerleader Can’t Save the World

Most pundits and citizens agree that American youth are ignorant and/or apathetic about politics. However, no where is the trend more startling than with young girls. The phenomena began when grown females began talking like valley girls. You’ll know valley talk when you hear it: the sentences all go up at the end, as if the subject is trapped in a constant state of inquiry, and statements are riddled with “like” “um” and “you know”. Talking like a vapid airhead meant adopting the culture of the airhead, as well. Girls were taught to shop, gossip, and flirt. Even Barbie got in on the action when her talking model proudly declared: Math is tough! When women began talking like idiots and Barbie condemned arithmetic, little girls stopped paying attention to the world around them. Though People magazine sometimes includes blurbs about politicians, you are not political by default for reading it.

The sad truth is: young women are not interested in the world around them. But is it entirely the woman’s fault for her invisibility in the international policies arena? We can’t possibly condemn an entire generation of young ladies. Something must have inspired this plague of apathy. As it turns out, the blame rests with the media, parents, and private corporations.

The Soulless World of Politics

The American people and the political/judiciary rings are stuck in a sad truce: We won’t raise hell because we know you’ll get away with it. Why do citizens need to waste their energy on petitions and protests when the government elite do whatever the hell they want, whenever they want? And no electorate is more disempowered than women. Why should young women concern themselves with a broken political/judiciary system where the only person held accountable for their misdeeds is Paris Hilton? It seems the country only perks up when some good-looking girl goes to court because, hey, at least you can fantasize about her naked.

Before Paris, the only political women in the news were Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Valerie Plame, and Monika Lewinski. How sad is that statement? The first two were labeled lesbians, the first because she supported her gay constituents in San Francisco, and the second because she’s a lesbian (kidding). The CIA spy, Valerie Plane’s, status was reduced to that of a mere groupie by the GOP when she was outted (by, surprise, the GOP), and the last was known as a beret-wearing target for Bill Clinton’s projectile splooge.

The message from D.C and the media is clear: Shut up, sweet heart, unless you’re getting fucked literally, or figuratively, by a man. Maybe if Tom Delay and Jack Abrimoff looked like gaunt Barbie dolls, the country would pay attention when they did something wrong.

My Mother Ruined my Life

To the glee of most children and therapists I say: Blame your mother. Seriously. Without a strong, female role model, what hope is there for little girls? Harriet Homemaker will say, “Feminism works both ways, Allison! I have the right to stay home and raise my children, just as you have the right to become CEO of a corporation!” Very true, though women have had the right to be house-moms since the beginning of time, and at last check, it seems like there are still only a handful of female CEOs, so that feminism-works-both-ways thing seems less than balanced. Are women complacent in their inferior roles, or are they trapped in a perpetual cycle of exploitation? Are women more preoccupied with fashion and landing a husband than global warming? Do we really just want to stay at home and rear children, or is this the only option offered to us by superficial soccer moms who care more about botoxing and over-medicating than asking for paper over plastic at the grocery stores?

We Are PHARM-ly

Did you know there is now medicine for your feet falling asleep? The familiar sensation of pins and needles has the name of a serious-sounding disorder: Restless Leg Syndrome. This is a proud moment for the United States of America. First Viagra and now Mirapex. Finally, we can officially tell the rest of the world: Fuck off. We care more about the limp dicks and tingly legs of our white, upper-class citizens than we do about your AIDS-ridden, starving black people.

Here at home, the pharmaceutical industry’s exploitation of women is nothing new. They began their fear-mongering back when they convinced women that menopause is a disease, rather than a natural part of a woman’s physiology. Next, they came up with sexual stimulus in pill-form. You’re the reason sex isn’t working, and it has nothing to do with the fact that your husband gives lousy head. In America, private corporations, which include pharmaceutical giants, have no civic responsibilities. If women have symptoms that little pills can stop, this equals profits. Whether the symptoms were ever indicative of real medical problems, or if the long-term benefits of the drugs are permanent, or even fully understood, are inconsequential. Profit = YAY! MORE PILLS!

However, recently the PHARM business finally did something right. Merck came out with a vaccine for a virus that can lead to cervical cancer. But here in America, if one branch of the money machine does something good, another agent comes along to fuck up everything. This time, blame the Christians.

Feeling Icky from your Cancer? Better hope you’re a congressmen or CEO! Because if you’re poor or have a uterus, you’re out of luck. The far right and the seriously misguided don’t want young girls to be vaccinated from HPV (Human Papillomavirus). Since HPV is primarily spread through sexual
contact, parents are concerned that their daughters will feel inspired to engage in sexual intercourse once they receive the vaccine (Gardasil). This is like saying Polio vaccinations will make our daughters want to run triathlons. The two things don’t necessarily enjoy a causal relationship, you see.

Let’s strike the heart of the real issue: women’s bodies are, once again, the playground of governmental bureaucracy. The Supreme Court just issued a ruling that puts the health of a fetus over the health of a grown human being. Now, the right shows they would rather women dead than horny. I think I remember something like this happening in Salem once, except back then girls were burned for being good at math.

Vaccinations don’t cause promiscuity and abortions don’t cause increases in teen pregnancy, but oppressive regimes, coupled with abstinence-only programs do. Why should young women engage in a government that shows such clear disdain for their very existence? When you’re shown you aren’t an equal through unfair wages, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation on television, music, and advertising, it isn’t a huge shock for young girls to learn their uteruses don’t count either. I don’t blame them for not engaging in a government that has done everything in its power to keep them repressed and disenfranchised.

Thus far, we’ve seen that the media, pharmaceutical companies, the government, and the Supreme court have all told young women they don’t matter. But who else is to blame? How about the president?

Civic Responsibility

During a time of war and national crisis, the president asked us to shop rather than reduce our carbon emissions. Can you name one positive thing the president asked us to do in the face of global terrorism? Me neither! All I know is I’m supposed to rat on my neighbors if they’re doing something suspicious and avoid interacting with people of Middle-eastern descent. Also, I’ve been told pot-smoking and celebrating Cinco de Mayo fund terrorism.

When Suzy’s mom is telling her to look pretty and get a rich husband, and the president of the United States tells her to shop more, what is a rich, white, upper-class girl supposed to do? Grab a credit card and start racking up some debt, is what! As far as I know, there is no program in place at the high school level that requires students perform community service with AmeriCorps or the Red Cross. Some societies believe a large part of a student’s education involves serving others and participating in global affairs. They’re right, but our country has become such a xenophobic, self-centered, materialistic wasteland that we would rather stick our young girls in front of MTV to watch My Super Sweet Sixteen than send them out into impoverished areas to help the homeless and needy. Oh, but I forgot: homeless people are, like, so totally gross!

What War?

It’s not that I blame young girls. As mentioned, the media has done one hell of a job brainwashing them into forgetting we’re at war. During Vietnam, our citizens saw footage of combat and viewed photos of dead, United States soldiers. A massive, public movement lead to the end of the war. However, the media failed its citizens this time around, though who can blame them? Anna Nicole Smith’s jiggling, heaving bosom is far more interesting that sectarian warfare.

I don’t think young women are cruel. I truly believe that if they saw pictures of dead Iraqi children, dead United States and Iraqi soldiers, and saw the horrible consequences of cluster bombs and U.S.-imposed sanctions, this war would end. Not only that, if the media did its job and showed all consequences of war, war itself would end.

Women are too empathetic and nurturing to let humankind fall to such a horrid fate as unending war. Though war is profitable (and we know it’s profitable because of the military-industrial complex), a movement of conscientious women scientists, entrepreneurs, and politicians could make peace profitable, too. We need only see the goal and move toward it resolutely and rapidly. Peace is not just ideal; it’s essential. Pissing contests with nuclear weapons are unacceptable, and the boys have played their war games long enough. Women need to be present for grown-up time.

But the War is SO Four Year Ago

Suggestion for the media: it’s pretty easy to link any story to Iraq and make it topical again. Example: the tornados in Kansas. Know why it took so darn long to look for bodies through all the rubble? The National Guard sent most of its equipment to Iraq, so we don’t have enough supplies for domestic problems! If the Kansas story doesn’t have enough casualties for your taste, I suggest you revisit the debacle with New Orleans and FEMA.

Save the World

Men know we’re dangerous. We are great communicators (Ronald Regan looks like a deaf mute by comparison,) we are compassionate, brilliant, but we lack leadership and motivation. Without female role models, girls are reduced to blathering idiots, preoccupied with their appearance, Lindsay Lohan, and male approval. The fate of the world relies on the education of women. Now, more than ever, we need women who are willing to extend the olive branch to other nations. We don’t need military strategists. We need communicators who can heal relations.

Though the administration seems preoccupied with a modern crusade, it doesn’t seem to understand the teachings of its own prophet. Jesus healed people, he didn’t firebomb entire families while they slept. Women are the modern world’s healers, but we need to work with our brains and morality, instead of with what we’re told is our real value: our looks.

The truth is the sexy cheerleader will never be the one who saves us. It will be the well-educated, strong, determined, moral women who lead this world and save the men from themselves.

9 Responses

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  1. Ben said, on May 9, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    Well said! I am male, have been my whole life. And I can say that once I hit 13, everything took a turn for the stupid. The girls and boys in school became obsessed with their social standing. Micheal Jordan, Guess Jeans, the cool music, worrying about the size of their ass, worrying about the size of others’ ass, accepting the Just Say No campaign as truth, having an american flag made you a good person. And one of the most disturbing is… people stopped asking questions. Stopped asking questions in class, in life. Why? It was the fear of appearing stupid and even more scary, the fear of appearing smart.

    Curiosity had become obsolete. We stopped walking in the creeks, turning over rocks just to see what was under it. Reading for fun turned one into a pariah. Saying something clever and witty brought a response of total silence. A question in the classroom had better be “Is this gonna be on the test?” And under no circumstances should it be “Says who? Where’s your proof? Why? Why? Why?” A reply of “I don’t get it.” meant you had a learning disability. The problem was with you. When it really meant “I think maybe your full of shit. Show me a different angle, but your probably still going to be full of shit.” And alot of the times it was full of shit. Pot leads to heroine.

    And we started to accept that we are just full of shit or we are too stupid to understand the complexity of it all, let the “experts” handle it. And of course as the blog says, I think it hits girls worst.

    We are being processed by the machine. Chewed up, homogenised, pasteurised, packaged. Processed to create the main product… a steady supply of worker bees. But the hope lies in the defective units. Those who don’t give up being curious. Those who can’t quite be marketed. And we all have that in us. Fight back by wanting to learn again. And maybe walk in the creek again.

  2. rachel said, on May 9, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    “The lack of stimulus within art, politics and life lowers our standards which is why we settle for talk shows and MTV. We are not stupid, but if we are treated like ingrates we will start to act like children.”

    -from the liner notes of “The Shape of Punk to Come” by Refused

    God, remember watching commercials from the 1950’s and knowing how ridiculous they were? How could anyone believe that smoking is good for you, we’d think. Duck and cover from nuclear warfare? Okay. And yet, we’ll subscribe blindly to the aphorisms we’re still fed today- only happy people can be popular and only beautiful people are happy. Or we want so badly to escape our own problems that we watch others’ unfold on television in the pathetic dramas of role-playing personalities. The snippets from yesteryear are shown to us as a lark; historical awareness is for entertainment or trivia rather than the betterment or furtherance of our social community. As Ben wrote, we’ve stopped questioning, stopped demanding more from our environment.

    And we women still turn to false senses of stimulation to compensate for our frustration. Right now, in fact, I have another widow open on the check out page for a t-shirt. I feel that I have too much frustration in the morning when I’m getting dressed. Maybe this one will help; it is unique and catchy and easy to wear. I can even talk about how it supports independent designers and the agricultural industry. But maybe my frustration actually stems from the discomfort I have with the few pounds I’ve put on recently (because when I go to my parent’s house they serve me treats and sweets, and when we have a change to indulge, we should, right? we deserve a break, right?). Or that when I go outside, I feel comfortable only when I look and smell and act fantastic because that is what’s expected of me. I don’t want to cause a riot; that’s not impressive, nor is it delicate. How will I ever find love if I’m not delicate?

    But that’s not what we talk about. Consumerism and blissful motherhood “enrich” our days, even still. Women are not treated with respect by our government. Anti-abortion action, for example, says “quiet down little lady, everything will be alright. Stay at home where you’re safe and take care of that child there.” It says we don’t have the sense to take care of our own bodies. Political agendas want us to live the one-dimensional fallacy of the 1950’s ideal. We must muster another decade of revolution.

  3. Chuck said, on May 9, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    So, it turns out that it’s Plame, not Plane.

    Also, I agree with some of your sentiments, but the essay seems a little too rooted in sensationalism and opinion, not enough in anything that can really be verified or debated. Maybe a little ironic? On the other hand I didn’t read the entire thing, so my apologies if I am speaking too soon.

  4. john said, on May 11, 2007 at 7:03 am

    Speaking of the comment about ridicule vs. criticism, I have to say I agree. Ridiculing a figure revered by billions gets us no where, and though it may be funny it’s still derogatory. If you wanna criticize, go ahead. At least that’s respectful.

    Then, speaking of the comment about free speech… well I’ve just gotta say that of course you have free speech. It’s a wonderful thing to have and no one’s taking it away from you, but doesn’t that free speech come with certain level of responsibility? You allowed to offend as many people as you want, but is that the kind of world you really want to live in? A bunch of people who are in a bad mood? What ever happened to “kindness”… or how about “goodwill to men”? That really supersedes religion and you oughta think about that regardless of what beliefs you hold.

    Finally, concerning the comment about offending Christians vs. Muslims. Really, why is it OK to offend members of the majority religion, but it’s so un-PC to do it to minority groups? In fact, that doesn’t just apply to members of the majority religion, but to the majority at all. It seems the most hated demographic these days is the Christian white male, and it’s OK to say all kinds of nasty things about them, but people don’t dare say a thing about anyone else. There are a ton of people that belong to Christian, white, or male categories that are really good and nice people, and plenty that are all of these things are still innocent.

    My question is, where has simple consideration for other people gone?

    By the way, I laugh at some of these jokes – I’m not saying they’re not funny, but why have people come to think that comedy should be exempt from the cultural rules of civility and respect? Has our culture really become that callous, cynical, and disrespectful?

    I know it’s the “in thing” to be anti-Christian, anti-white, anti-male, anti-American… whatever. Just cause everyone’s doing it doesn’t mean you should, too.

    Normally I roll all this stuff off my back and take it with a grain of salt, but I just wish people would think about these things sometimes.

    Peace! 🙂

  5. Static said, on May 11, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    Overall, this is a very good article.

    I did take issue with it in some respects though. For instance when you mentioned the attacks leveled at some women who were in politics, attacks saying they were lesbians, I was sad that you didn’t attack the homophobia in that itself.

    I AM a young (24) lesbian, and I am also very politically active. Not only am I a member of a political party, I am also working for an elected official, doing communications. Being a lesbian, as I know you will agree, doesn’t make one any less worhty of participation in politics.

    I know this is meant to be an article to incite women who aren’t involved in politics to do something, or to lament the lack of women who are doing something, but as a woman who has spent most of my life being very politically active I found the tone of this work to be somewhat insulting — as it did nothing to celebrate and recognize those of us who ARE working hard to make a difference.

    Some contrast may have helped… contrasting the model woman that you dislike so much with some ass-kickers like Nellie MCClung (a Canadian example, but asskicking nonetheless) or Rosa Parks would have both served to celebrate woman’s achievements in politics as well as offering role models to women who are transitioning to political awareness.

    As usual, I love your writing, and I owe you in some small way for encouraging me to pursue employment which makes use of my wordsmithing.

  6. Static said, on May 11, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    “It seems the most hated demographic these days is the Christian white male, and it’s OK to say all kinds of nasty things about them, but people don’t dare say a thing about anyone else.”

    This comment recieves the “most ridiculous thing I’ve read all day” award.

    If there is anything more pathetic than a white christian male in America complaining about discrimination — I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is.

    John, your country refuses to recognize the rights of homosexual people. Homosexual people are not allowed to get married and are often denied other basic rights that other Americans take for granted, and you complain about people questioning the supremacy of your demographic in politics, business and general life?!?

    Oh dear. Get a grip.

  7. Allison Kilkenny said, on May 13, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    John,

    While you’re entitled to your own opinions, please don’t post hateful language on my blog. That’s why your reply has been deleted. Thank you. 🙂

  8. petrichor5 said, on June 14, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    I am a MySpace friend of the Modern Beats. I saw your announcement, read this article on the Huffington Post, and wanted to leave a comment there, but didn’t feel like becoming a member, so I will leave my comment here.

    First, let me say that I think the whole Modern Beat thing is very cool. While I generally applaud your stance in “Why Don’t Young Women Care about the End of the World,” and agree with the many of ideas presented here, I have to take issue with one statement – that it is only “the far-right and the seriously misguided” who are concerned about HPV immunizations for young girls.

    I consider myself to be neither far-right nor unduly misguided, but there is more here than meets the eye.

    A little research will reveal that the Gardasil vaccine was mandated in Texas by a governor who is financially backed by the very PHARMA company (Merck) that manufactures the drug, which raised alarms with many government watchdogs.

    Even more importantly, the Gardasil vaccine is suspended in an aluminum adjuvant. Aluminum has been shown to have links to the onset of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. Still want some?

    The Gardasil vaccine is very new, and is still being tested. We do not know what the long-term effects will be because the drug has not been around long enough yet to even measure them.

    Also, Gardasil is not theraputic (as you imply) – if you already have cervical cancer it will not help you. It is only shown to help prevent cervical cancer under very specific circumstances.

    Knowing all this, would I allow my 12-year old daughter to be injected with Gardasil, which also happens to be the most expensive vaccine therapy in history at $120 a shot? No. Of course not, for the same reason she did not get the Chicken Pox vaccine, and for many of the same reasons you mention. Americans are all too willing to pop a pill or receive an injection for every little discomfort, and are often far too trusting of doctors and other “experts,” when in reality they should be viewed with the same skepticism we have come to apply to our politicians. We must do our own research and be our own healthcare advocates if we expect to stay healthy. Somewhere out there is the guy who finished at the very bottom of his class at a third-rate medical school, and he is getting ready to operate on some unfortunate person right now.

    By the way, my daughter really is 12, and she had Chicken Pox when she was 5, and she is just fine, thank you.

    While I understand the thinking behind your statements, I thought you and your readers could benefit from a few facts. As you have written in your most recent post, “Be wary of the Parade of Idiots.” Sometimes the “experts” and the idiots are one and the same.

  9. john said, on June 23, 2007 at 6:17 am

    PDF completely embarrassing the Kyoto treaty. Showing scientific proof that in the last five years alone EU (who have signed Kyoto) has increased CO2 emmisions at twice the rate of the USA (who did not sign). And pointing out what a collosal joke the Nairobi conference was, where the world reaffirmed the vast majority of the world will never sign a kyoto like agreement.
    |
    http://ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/200702_horner.pdf

    global warming is like a “well-informed” liberal


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