Girl Talk: Why Is Dumb Desirable?

How about less Prada, more pronunciation?

How about less Prada, more pronunciation?

“Guys, I’m the worst reader.”

I don’t know where to begin. As soon as the clip of Kendall Jenner saying this at the Billboard Awards went viral I cringed and the blood underneath my skin started to bubble so aggressively that I was afraid that my skin would explode. I knew that it had started again. If I’m honest, this has been going on for a long time, but now it’s front and center again. I’m talking about the trend (I really hate referring to it as a trend but I’m not quite sure what else to call it) of stupidity and trying to make it look cool.

We first went through this “trend” in the early 2000s with the likes of Jessica is-this-chicken-or-fish? Simpson and Paris that’s- hot Hilton. It became cool to be an airhead – specifically for women. Talking about designer labels, boys, and culturally insignificant drivel was highly regarded while intelligent, educated conversation was banished to the “Not” column of hot lists.

I want to say this once and for all: it’s not cool to be stupid – and it’s even less cool to pretend like you’re stupid to be considered cool when you’re not. I’m not saying that I don’t understand. Somehow Courtney Stodden is a name that most people in this country recognize. You know what’s really stupid (and also very, very sad, not to mention telling about our nation’s priorities)? More people vote for the American Idol than the American President. Come on, people. We live in a time when women are supposed to be leaning in and rallying behind the likes of Jill Abramson and other women to be seen as equals to men in power, not demeaning our own literacy and intellectual capabilities. With American students placing 30th in mathematics and 23rd in science globally, according to the latest PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) report on education released in December 2013, acting stupid shouldn’t be something we devote our energies to. We should be leading the way and being at the front of the pack, part of the solution and not the problem. Especially not a problem that we’ve created for ourselves.

When I watched Kendall’s clip, I thought to myself “Okay, she’s probably really nervous doing this in front of all of those people and being on live TV, so she ad-libbed a joke and proved that she should stick to modeling where she can keep her pretty mouth shut.” I just can’t get over how the first thing that came to her mind was a self-deprecating remark about her own intelligence to try to recover with the audience. Reading is one of the most rudimentary skills we learn as children and while some are more advanced than others, the proclamation that you’re the “worst” reader is a fairly bold statement to make.

Sadly, Kendall Jenner is the product of this fame-seeking, celebrity-obsessed world that her own family has greatly contributed to and blatantly seeks to perpetuate. I feel like she could benefit from a few semesters at the Derek Zoolander School For Kids That Can’t Read Good and would be better served spending her time there instead of on the runway of the E! Network.

What’s worse is that it’s not just Jenner’s generation that’s vying to be vapid: Real Housewife of New York, Kristen Taekman’s intro line in the show is “I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I’m pretty.” As if her appearance makes up for whatever she lacks in intelligence. It’s one thing to not be smart. Not everyone is a genius like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates or Sheryl Sandberg. But insulting your own intelligence or downplaying it is another situation entirely and makes you look even more stupid than you’re already trying to look.

*Drops the mic*

Image Credit: Hartland Ent

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