This morning I saw that Snooki, of the reality show Jersey Shore, is nominated for a Teen Choice Award. This bothered me for a few reasons:
1) Her name is Snooki. Must I go on, really?
2) I actually kind of like Jersey Shore, I’m ashamed to admit, but I wouldn’t want my teenager watching it!
3) All Snooki does in that show is get drunk, sleep with men, make funny noises and eat pickles. And we’re giving her an award because…
I decided to go onto the Teen Choice Award website to see what, exactly, Snooki was nominated for. (Female Variety Star.) Turns out, the only way you can see the nominees is if you register. *rolls eyes* I almost didn’t go through with it, but as is my motivation behind watching Jersey Shore in the first place, I just couldn’t turn back at that point. It asked for my email address and birth date. When I clicked “Submit,” I received the following message:
“Sorry, you don’t fit the age requirements for voting.”
Ouch. I am officially too old to vote for the Teen Choice Awards. If that’s not a wakeup call, I don’t know what is. I wouldn’t let that defeat me, though. To spite the system, I went back and used a fake birth date. (I hope the Teen Choice authorities don’t read this and arrest me.)
I finally got in, expecting to see the Twilight series dominating the list of choices. It didn’t. In fact, I was disheartened by many of the nominees. There are several categories—movies, music, TV, summer, other—and they were littered with choices that I wouldn’t consider appropriate for teens. Movies like No Strings Attached (story about friends who sleep together just for the fun of it) and Something Borrowed (girl has an affair with best friend’s fiancé). Shows like Gossip Girl (so filled with licentiousness I don’t even know where to start) and comedians like Daniel Tosh (who takes inappropriate to a whole new level). And Snooki isn’t the only Jersey Shore representative there. Her cohorts DJ Pauly D and The Situation are nominated for Best Male Variety Star, and the show itself is up for Best Reality Show.
For the first time in my life, I actually WISHED that Twilight were nominated for every award.
I know I sound like a total prude, but I’m just sad that these are the values our teens are encouraged to honor, and with awards, no less. I didn’t even know teens were watching this stuff; I thought it was only young adults who watched, to be reminded of how stupid they were when they were that age doing those things. Two things I learned today: I’m old AND I’m naive.
My daughter isn’t a teenager yet, but those years will be here before I know it. I can’t even imagine what kind of movies and TV shows she’ll be exposed to by then. And I don’t know how I’m going to handle her inevitable desire to watch them. It’s my hope that, whether she watches them or not, she’ll know the kinds of behavior that should and should not be glorified, that she’ll look at the Snookis of the world and laugh. After all, a parent’s job is not to keep kids away from garbage but to teach them that it is, in fact, garbage. This is my new mission as a mother. Wish me luck.