Vain generation | Teen Ink

Vain generation

December 14, 2009
By Taryn Reed BRONZE, Mesa, Arizona
Taryn Reed BRONZE, Mesa, Arizona
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Dispatches from a Vain Generation

One of the troubles about vanity is that it grows with what it feeds on. The more you are talked about, the more you will wish to be talked about. --Bertrand Russell

Show business is a dog eat dog world. In order to stay on top, countless actors and actresses put on shows; however, most of these shows are not for adoring audiences, but for fellow cast and crewmembers. These discreet performances are to not to show off range or technique, but simply to portray who is the best. The best looking, the best comedian, or the best person to be around. I remember one particular show walking backstage and seeing a young girl behind a mirror, surrounded by adoring admirers. As I got closer to her, I could hear the girl cooing at her features saying, “Oh Marissa, you are fabulous!” followed by a chorus of “Yes, Marissa, you are fabulous!” from the on-looking fans. How conceited can a person get? This example of cockiness, however, is not only seen in the theatre world, but throughout our whole generation. No one cares for others; instead, every one is spending every waking moment seeking admiration and praise for their material possessions. To be quaint, this generation is vain.

Vanity did not come about quickly. It took time and just the right amount of craftiness to amount to the generation it is today. A long time ago, there was a couple: Adam and Eve. After partaking of the forbidden fruit, they were sent to live on Earth. One day, after having caught the beast of the day, Adam came home to find Eve in a new fig tree dress, sown from the leaves and vines of her own home. Adam complimented her immensely and went on his way. Eve, on the other hand, enjoyed the compliment so much that she decided she wanted more. More flattery and more compliments. So she resolved to add actual figs, as decorum, on her dress and see her husband’s reaction to her new fashion statement. To her satisfaction, the following day Adam highly acknowledged the sparkling addition on her dress. Eve was overjoyed and so the trend started. This penchant of enjoying compliments was passed on and on until we arrive at our generation, where the tendency to flatter has diseased our mind. We come to expect compliments whenever a new “fig” is added to our wardrobe. But we cannot do with one. In our generation, one new fig tomorrow is expected to average five times the revenue it brought in today. Therefore, vanity is only somewhat quenched when we receive dozens of flattering remarks. And even then a baker’s dozen seems to be the new standard.

The weirdest part, however, about vain compliments is that they are sometimes considered taboo. The members of the conceited generation, people who at one point and time hold themselves above others, feel it necessary to only receive, and never give back. For example, when at school, a new styled haircut brings in roughly four compliments throughout the day. But when David tells Cindy her hair looks off the hook, Cindy will never respond back with, “Oh, you’re so sweet, and your shirt looks tubular as well!” but rather with “Thanks,” and then toss her hair and walk away. Actually, saying thank you is pushing it. Too much vanity in this generation for that. It would be more like, “I know, right!” and then the strut towards the bathroom. And the sad thing is that it is not even her fault for her behavior. She, like us all, has been conformed to fit this image where all we as a generation think about is “me”.

There is an old saying that says, “Turn the other cheek”. Our vain generation loves this statement because it entitles the right to show off both cheeks. To merely survive, more or less be a member, in this generation, it takes this kind of “show off” attitude and ego because it, “is the new normal: a generation that primps and dyes and pulls and shapes, younger and with more vigor” on a daily basis (Bennet). People have to be able to walk past other human beings who have feelings, shoot them down as if they were a piece of lint, and then prance away as if they were looking at an overgrown shrub. All that seems to matter is always walking on top with make-up done and hair flowing,

I am not proud to be part of this generation. Although it seems inevitable, I detest the, “global condition [of vanity]. People inclined to be hubristic evaluate their actions positively and then say to themselves: ‘I have succeeded. I am a success.’ Often, hubris is considered an unlikable trait to be avoided” (Lewis). Basically, vanity is not supposed to be put on a pedestal, yet somehow it is honored on a throne. The contrasting feelings of vanity are hurt some to others and can only damage ourselves more as this generation changes themselves in order to be accepted by others.

It is cruel and I feel ignominious when I look back and see how I have acted in order to feel important in this vain generation. I envy those who make the effort to break away from the aura of selfishness and try to be selfless. They feel the repercussions of others pulling them down to conform to vanity, but somehow they have developed a skill to laugh it off. It is nice to see people trying to avoid becoming the zombies who are consistently sucked into a mirror of lovely lies. It is a nice trade off for a generation who can never stop their shows, performances, and productions of deceit. We will always remember this generation’s concert of vanity as it tours the land with out-of-tune compliments and stuck up costumes. Bravo for brats.

Works Cited
Bennett, Jessica. "Tales of a Modern Diva. (Society)(vanity; early obsession with beauty)."
Newsweek 6 Apr. 2009: 42. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale.

Dobson High School Lib., Mesa, AZ. 29 Apr. 2009 <>.
Lewis, Michael. “Self-Conscious Emotions.” American Scientist Jan./Feb. 1995: 68-78.

SIRS Researcher. ProQuest Information and Learning. Dobson High School Lib.,

Mesa, AZ. 29 Apr. 2009 <>.

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

Bethani GOLD said...
on Apr. 13 2010 at 7:12 pm
Bethani GOLD, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
10 articles 0 photos 508 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is perfect until you sit back and realize how boring it is without risks.

Good points! I agree! Keep it up!