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Teenage Goddess MAG
I wonder what it's like to be a Teenage Goddess.
Maybe you have always been cute, bright, with beaming eyes mirroring the instant smiles and a cavalcade of comments on your beauty. It helps to have “pretty” as part of your description from the moment you're born. The preen you perfected at age eight, the smile that through trial-and-error you found to elicit the most coos, becomes downright nuclear once you enter junior high. But the magnetism of a Teenage Goddess comes mostly from the confidence that her beauty is an established fact.
Some, however, hit the jackpot late. Gawky arms, sharp cheekbones, prison-wall braces, and unfortunate hair that your mother says is sweet can isolate anyone. You look at the popular girls – articulate, clean, and wholesomely shining even without professional light technicians – and feel envy, maybe even resentment. I'll win, you think, by being nice or by working hard in school. Yes, I'll take the Hillary Clinton road to success, and I'll win!
But one day you wake up and see toned arms, a body with exotic geometric degrees, “Look, Ma, no cavities” teeth, and sexy messy locks framing your luminescent face. You have to agree, Hillary Clinton probably isn't in your mind at that moment.
Being plain as a child is different from being plain as an adolescent. Being plain as a kid is a disadvantage. Being plain as an adolescent is a failure. And Teenage Goddesses win on every front, because the new middle school currency is attractiveness to boys.
As in Shakespeare's plays, the men get to wrestle with ideas, whereas the women only get to wrestle with men. The closer a teenage girl's relations are with boys, the more popular she becomes – to a point. The Teenage Goddess is in the best position possible: she draws in all the boys other girls simply draw hearts around, luring them close, then throwing them out with a beautiful laugh. She does this often. To be attractive to boys but confident enough not to need them – this power is what instills respect or deference in others. In this era, the greatest tears are often shed when a girl finds herself sashaying to Mariah Carey alone.
The Teenage Goddess knows innately about this unfairness, the differences between the developed and developing bodies. Even if she doesn't care much for boys, she makes gender entanglement her top foreign policy. The first time a boy looks at her legs and his eyes turn black, she must feel icicles forming on her skin. He needs me, she deduces. Later on, this constant lingering of eyes almost exploding with hormonal desire gives her greater icicles that slide down her back, but now it feels good. This time she knows that a careful sidelong glance can extend these boys' infatuations. And the chorus of friends and classmates around her urge her on, because everyone innately defers to the Teenage Goddess. It's almost pathetic how rarely most teenage girls challenge the status quo. Adolescence kicks the independent child in the stomach and tells it to shut up.
Everything is exacerbated by the media. The Teenage Goddess rules the school and Madison Avenue. On the runways, the teaser trailers, the MTV Music Video Awards, she literally and figuratively has the largest smile. Not only do genetics dictate her as more likely to procreate, society elevates her onto a faux-Grecian pedestal, gives her all the auditions, and demonstrates adoration by bankrupting themselves trying to look like her. She must feel so honored.
There are only a handful of rules for the Teenage Goddess to follow. First, don't be “slutty.” Second, try to keep up with your studies so the brainiacs still pursuing the Hillary Clinton model won't be entitled to their self-righteous anger. (Ironically, Hillary was quite beautiful and yet only attained her power after becoming known as the wife of the most powerful man in the world – very Shakespearean.) And third, please, kill yourself at 25.
After we graduate and disperse throughout the world, we will inevitably wonder at some point what happened to the Teenage Goddess. If she became an entertainer, kudos to her, as Hollywood is the number-one cure for aging. Or she may have learned to wield her beauty as a scepter rather than a machine gun, and gathered enormous resources to last her through the deadening skin cells and increasingly flabby arms.
No matter. Teenage Goddesses are the truth, the way, airbrushed by the Lord Almighty. And for the rest of their lives, they will either be haunted by or glorified for those short years.
I still wonder what that's like.