Teenage WastelandInfluential People For Teens to Look Up ToMikaela Foster

I’m almost 14. As much as I was hoping my social life as a 14-year-old was going to improve, I don’t think that’s going to be the case. I’m still going to go to school knowing that my classmates aren’t making anything of their teenage years (other than getting high and having underage sex). The SUPER fun thing about 8th grade is that being a year older increases the amount of classmates that are pressured into doing stupid things and decreases the amount of respect coming from me.

Where are the pressures of doing stupid things coming from? There are many contributing factors to this: the stupid peer pressures, the stupid popularity, the stupid media. I’m completely obsessed with the media because I’m a mainstream teenage girl, but sometimes it really pisses me off.

Why is the song “The Motto” by Drake the most well known song among teenagers right now? It includes lyrics that say “Almost drowned in her pu**y so I swam to her butt.” That’s quite subtle. I’m not going to go on some huge rant about how inappropriate this song is, because it’s not really my place. I’m 13, that song isn’t meant for me. Or is it? You’d think that a song that contains such explicit lyrics would be meant for an adult, but the singers/rappers of songs like this aren’t targeting adults. They’re targeting teenagers. When teenagers are listening to songs that talk about smoking, “pimping hoes”, and other things that are meant for adults, teenagers aren’t getting the right idea about what’s cool and what’s not.

These performers are role models to us. When role models are giving off the impression that doing stupid things like doing drugs and having sex is going to win the approval of your friends, its definitely not going to inspire teenagers to do good things. Here I have created a list of better role models for teenagers.

Instead of Lil Wayne, Michael Phelps!

Lil Wayne is definitely not a good role model, especially for teen boys. He raps about beating women, and even compares himself to Hitler in a song. That’s classy. Who does that? Michael Phelps, on the other hand, has worked and trained his entire life to achieve his goal, and he has. 22 Olympic medals!!

Instead of Rihanna, Tina Fey!

I will admit, I love songs by Rihanna. They’re catchy. When I look deeper into the lyrics, though, I notice that they’re usually about sex, or… sex. There are a lot of Rihanna songs about sex. Rihanna is very well known to tweens/teens, so why are we listening to songs about how “chains and whips excite me”? Tina Fey is so inspirational: she was the third woman to win the Mark Twain Prize for Humor, she was one of the first head writers of SNL, she writes, produces and stars in 30 Rock and is showing America that women can be just as funny as men.

Instead of Lindsay Lohan, Molly, Sophia and Zooey!

Lindsay Lohan has had an amazing career. She stared in some of my favorite movies, like Mean Girls, Freaky Friday, and The Parent Trap. The stress of having such a huge career got to her though, because everyone knows that now she’s been in jail and rehab tons of times, and even recently failed to pay a $46,000 bill at a restaurant. Out of anyone, I probably look up to Molly, Sophia and Zooey the most. They started this amazing site HelloGiggles, are hilarious and have all accomplished so much!!

Do you know any good role models for teens? Leave me a comment below, or talk to me on my Twitter or Tumblr! Thanks for reading!

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  1. Not one of SNL’s first head writers, considering the show has been around since the 70s.

  2. Tina Fey was the first female head writer of SNL.

  3. not disagreeing but there’s an interesting pattern in the ethnicities of your “bad” role models

    there are plenty of awful white role models and great nonwhite role models but it’s funny that two of the three examples that popped into your head were totally whitewashed…

  4. I must say that Demi Lovato is a great role model. Granted she’s had issues in her life, but she was honest and did what she needed to do to get help. Also, she helps girls, especially ones who have been bullied. She is basically everything I believe in. Every time I hear her story, it makes me want to cry. But, with that being said, you should find someone in your life who is a role model for you. It hits closer to home, I guess you could say. Finding a role model that is famous is good as far as a universal person, but you should find a role model close to you. Mine is my husband.

    I know how you feel though sweetie. I just graduated high school about a year or two ago and in middle school it was awful. I hated middle school. Just stay strong and stay true to who you are. Don’t ever let that change!

  5. hey, i am a teenager too, a regular high schooler:) i love being a teenager i think its the best time of your life, but im a total good two shoes, and i try my best not to get in trouble. so i definitely hear where you are coming from, when i hear these songs or see these different media stories or even hear about some of the things my friends are doing it all seems a little strange and unreal to me, mostly because i wouldnt do any of that or want to be a part of it. thanks so much for writing this im glad theres another girl out there whos just normal and trying to make it through as herself!

  6. And even at the age of 19 I have a hard time finding good role models for myself. The media is a very powerful and dangerous thing.
    I hope that someday you are able to be a positive role model for those around you. :)

  7. Emma Watson! She has been a child star, and now is coming to adulthood and working on getting a college degree, while still acting and doing what she loves. She has never had any huge scandals, and is always classy.

    <3

  8. I think Jennifer Lawrence is a great role model for teen girls. She is one of the few stars who both has and promotes a healthy body image. In a world with social media that encourages eating disorders and the idea that the perfect female is a 00, she is perfect with her curves and refusal change her shape. Not to mention that she is both wicked funny and super sweet.

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  10. So, I was reading the comments, and when I saw ” One of my biggest role model is Bruce Springsteen.” all I could think of is “I named my cat after Springsteen. Oh really, what was his name? .. Uh, Bruce?”
    I love Zooey and I love that movie!
    And I agree with you. I am 22 years old and I feel like for as long as I can remember people have been trying to get me to do things that just don’t make sense. But you seem smart and like you have a good head on your shoulders, so I am sure you will be fine!

  11. I wish I had the perspective of the larger picture at her age. This article is mature, well-thought out, well-written, and the amount of maturity written here boggles my mind. The problem is, it SHOULDN’T boggle me. We should be raising kids these days to think like this. This shouldn’t be a surprise, this should be what’s expected. Kudos to you hun, for having common sense in a world that is lacking it.

  12. hi! I (as a 15 year old) completely understand where you are coming from. This is a great article, and you’re a very gifted writer. Keep doing what you’re doing! :)

  13. Your article is amazing Mikaela :) I completely agree with you.
    The media you have talked about always makes me think about how this is affecting teens and pre-teens. My best friends cousin is 11, and her friend group wears short shorts, super dressy clothes, make up and some of them have eyelash extensions. EYELASH EXTENSIONS? I can’t believe it. What is happening to the world? Trying on your mums shoes and playing with make up is unbelievably fun. But, wanting to make a more permanent change on your facial appearance at the age of 11, seriously? I find it so sad to know that a girl so young desires to do this.
    We are so unfortunate to live in a consumerist world where media companies uses sex and bad living as its main selling point. It is so sad that we live in a world where money is more important than looking at the way it is affecting the world.
    I used to read articles on VICE, but I have found they have taken real-life reporting too far now. Their food section is just filled with unbelievably unhealthy recipes and one of their main writers, reports on her drug addiction and how she is pro-anorexia. They are just glamorising bad lifestyles and I have no idea why.
    This is one of the reasons why I love hellogiggles.com it promotes a healthy lifestyle by using real-life journalism, you are amazing guys :)

  14. Well, number one, you’re a really good writer. Keep at it – it will take you far! Secondly, I agree that those people aren’t great role models. But while many of their fans are young, they also have a large fanbase with people who are 18 and older. That said, I’m 20 and I stopped listening to those artists before I even turned 17. So there’s definitly a catch 22. But we do have to keep in mind, these are artists. It would be nice if they launched and kept careers by being inspiring and responsible, but it’s not a perfect world. Rihanna is in her 20s. That seems old to someone who is 13, but it’s really not. She’s still growing as a person. I’m not going to hold her responsible for being a role model to anyone. You know what I mean? In this life, you’re going to encounter plenty of people who are not good influences. But it’s more up to the person who they choose to be influenced by – like you’ve chosen people who are talented AND positive. But every 13 year old isn’t as wise as you :) I personally think we should focus more on raising our children with the self-esteem and help them to decipher what’s right, wrong and what kind of people they want to be rather than look to people who entertain to help raise them. Like I said, it’d be nice, but it isn’t realistic..

  15. Lol I’m 16, I absolutely hate it when people keep telling me about all these rap songs with such bad lyrics. People make tease me for having idols like Betty White, Amy Poehler , Tina Fey etc. but, let’s be honest they are pretty awesome :)

  16. I also admire the late Trish Keenan if any of you are familiar with her work.

  17. i’m 14 and i agree, seriously what are our classmates getting up too, less respect coming from me everytime they do something….its the same in Britain…..xxxx

  18. I agree! but can anyone agree that Taylor Swift is very influential too??:) GREAT PEOPLE on the list

  19. My role model is, has been, and always will be Emma Watson. She is absolutely flawless, and she’s British. NO ONE can hate that.

  20. I think it’s important for girls to recognize the difference between someone who they look up to and strive to act like and a person whose accomplishments and talents they admire.

    I can’t say that I have any real “role models” but I do rather admire Annie Clark (St. Vincent).