Teenage Wasteland

Influential People For Teens to Look Up To

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!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527452885 Helen Campbell-Woodrup

    Really well thought out and written article. If you hadn’t mentioned it, I would never have known you were 13.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1097507509 Beatriz Natalie Perez

    This is great!! I agree with Helen, if you hadn’t mention you are 13, I would have never known!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001297622209 Maria Gutiérrez Fonollosa

    Although I’m 17 I agree with you. One of my biggest role model is Bruce Springsteen. But we can find role models everywhere, they don’t have to be famous. My grandma thaught to be happy and to not fear life, my french teacher taught me to have passion for what I’m doing in life etc. Just look around and find your role model :) I’ve loved this article it’s just amazing. Sorry for my bad grammar, I’m Spanish but I’ve done my best!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=706937011 Nicky Watson

    Um, didn’t Michael Phelps get in trouble for smoking weed a while ago?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1333891724 Natalie Tracy

      And has it affected his momentum? NO. Everyone makes mistakes (seriously, EVERYONE). He publicly apologized for it and went on to achieve even more greatness. I personally can’t wait to see what the future has in store for him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=753128351 Jennifer Louise O’Neill

    Taylor Swift. She is flawless and such a wonderful role model.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1730635548 Nikolina Serdar

    I would rather advise you to look for role models in your own life. Everyone of us knows people who have great, inspiring personalities. See, the point with celebreties is that you never know what’s behind the facade, so you might end up striving for a mere image that can be very hard to achieve. I know that role models are important for teenagers but I think you should ask yourself what YOU think a good person is and try to go for that. Having role models can be helpful but none of them will have everything you want. So, which characteristics do you think make a good person? Answer that and then you might find someone who has those character traits and can show you a way to them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1369759011 Elyssa Pollio

    I’m also in 8th grade and I totally agree …Look up to people without a criminal record…. I’ve always looked up to comedians, because they’re really FUNNY and everybody needs a little comedy in their life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1296910331 Fernanda Gomes

    Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1710320388 Habiba Shaikh

    Well… i think we all ( i mean as we teenager) can look up to dis new duo called “KARMIN” . Their music is awesome and I actually started loving RAP after listening to Amy. I totally loved the way they did their covers by taking all the nonsense words that came in the original rap and coming up with a ” PG ” version of it and posting it on youtube . Now they are some people whom we should look up to… 😀

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=561648219 Christopher Stone

    Wow, great article! I grew up with very few role models and the mainstream to me was more embarrassing than it was cool, but all your points are valid. Now-a-days I think women like Zooey and men like Tom Hardy are great role models. Tom Hardy just recently announced he’ll be fighting a heavy weight champion to raise funds for a charity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=635517180 Tiffany Nunez

    I think Hilary Duff is an amazing role model. She acted, sang, had her own perfume, wrote a few books, and was never negatively presented in the media. She got married at 22 and just had her baby this year at 24. I think she made some wise choices and I’ll always look up to her.
    Demi Lovato is amazing too, especially for having the courage to publicly address her problems, taking care of herself, and helping others in similar situations get the strength to seek help. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1301395306 Gervie Ebron

    For a 14 year old, you are a girl of wise words. :)) Anyone can be a role model but I would only look up to those who would inspire and do me good. Someone that would make me say, “Oh my gosh, I love that person. He/She has been a role model and inspiration to me. That’s why I am who I am today.” over the next, say… 15 years? I’d probably mention RookieMag and HelloGiggles and some of my favorite bands. ;D

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001061366895 Eszter Ezmé Matyas

    I’m 20, and I want a role model, but I never found the perfect human… I think I’m too individual. But in schooltime I try to survie like Bear Grylls, so… 😀
    What do you think, I need to compare to my role model, or I should look for someone who is similar to me a little?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=709647334 Sasha Bank

    (at the risk of sounding like an old geezer) When I was your age I was always called out for being a nerd because I didn’t have the same role models as everyone else. As a dyslexic I loved Davinci and Einstein, my mother was a first chair symphonic french horn player so I was moved by Bach and Handel more than Usher and the back street boys. My dad was a minister, so I understood the works of Plato and Euripides more than Sponge bob. These things that made me so hated in those days are the very things that make me so loved now. Don’t ever give up on the things that make you who you are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1125823571 Leandra Medina

    Yeah, probably not the best idea to look up to women close to your age, theyre still sorting their stuff out, probably look to the past for you’re role models. Mine were 1970’s & 80’s punk rock gods and goddesses, which weren’t much better for the sex and drugs lifestyle, but at least they had something more substantial to say than obviously the drake does. And even though this lifestyle was par for course sex and drugs, and even though some of my friends were doing it, I was still allowed to think for myself and didnt try any of it till I was 18. So really, go ahead and like all the things the kids are into these days, but just think for yourself, and never hang with people that won’t let you. The whole point of looking up to people is to look at the mistakes they’ve made and how they’ve learned from them to be the amazing people they are today. So yeah, Tina Fey. Also, not all rap is pimp n’ hoes. Just look up Jurassic 5, lyrics born and rhymefest, then go from there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500703429 Lacy Phillips

    I think Michael Phelps’ weed thing makes him a better role model for teens. They know that he’s faced the same pressures that they have, that he’s screwed up and found a way to get past it and get back on track. People slip up, they need to know that everyone does. No one is as airbrushed and perfect as the celebs in magazines. Everyone has messes in their life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647516546 Benjamin Frederick Clardy V


    The author, and others, would probably be pretty interested in this. It’s an article titled “lies we tell kids”, and it details a lot of really interesting stuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1138102495 Kimberly Block

    I am always impressed by Selena Gomez. She’s got a pretty good head on her shoulders.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=543455709 Toni Hill

    Maybe half of the problem is that young people look for role models in “celebrities”. Maybe instead they should turn their attention to people around them, such as their parents, teachers, siblings, family, members of their community.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=729484146 Julia Piper

    I would say: Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence. Every time I see them in interviews, they are always funny, classy, and smart. They know how to keep their personal lives personal and are amazingly talented.

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