At 14, the only thing I enjoyed more than staying in and reading was staying in and watching Daria. As I've revealed,
I wasn't the most cool, outgoing adolescent. I loved Daria's bookworm
loner personality, arsenal of pessimistic quips and scathing social
commentaries. I recently bought entire series on DVD, and enjoy it as
much now as I did as a teen. However, watching Daria from an
adult perspective, I've realized that sarcastic insults weren't the only
things I learned from the show. Here's a list of five lessons that Daria taught me: 1. Sometimes crushes don't work out, and that can be for the best.
Daria's first romantic interest is her best friend Jane's brother,
Trent. He's a dreamy rocker with tattoos, facial hair and a band, which
is the basic description of my first enormous crush. No wonder I
rooted so hard for them to work out. But after some time of blushing
and pining after Trent, Daria sees that his slacker persona just isn't
her thing. They do, however, become close friends, and Trent ends up
regularly dishing great advice to her.
2. Moms are more awesome than we give them credit for.
At first, Daria's mother, Helen, seems like your stereotypical
workaholic. And she is. We see her constantly running to the office,
making phone calls in the middle of dinner and obsessing over "big
cases." Helen often seems like a distant, oblivious mother, and it's
clear Daria initially thinks that's the case. But as the series
progresses, we see that she is in fact willing to drop everything to
give Daria advice or help, and that she may have more insight to her
daughter's personality than Daria herself.
3. Have confidence, play to your strengths and you'll get what you want. Daria's sister Quinn isn't exactly a
great role model. Vapid and appearance-obsessed, her main goal in life
is to have a date (or five) every weekend. But darn if she doesn't know
how to play her cards right. With a wink and a smile she melts boys'
hearts and empties their wallets. Quinn knows her assets, has confidence
in them and utilizes them well. Now, I'm not saying that Daria
taught me to go around using men as free meal tickets, but it
definitely showed me that confidence is key in the world of dating.
4. Friendships are complicated, and sometimes everyone just has to apologize. (If you plan on watching Daria
you may want to skip this section.) Near the end of the series, there's
a love triangle involving Jane, her boyfriend Tom and Daria. The
situation is messy and complicated, resulting in Jane and Daria getting
angry at each other and both looking like jerks. The redeeming moment
comes when the girls step up, apologize to each other and admit that the
argument was caused by both sides. No one is entirely wrong or entirely
right, but they both take steps and work together to fix the problem.
5. Antisocial bookworms can have it all, too.
Daria really only has one good friend for most of the show: Jane. Yet
she never tries to put herself out there or slide into a social group,
because having one great friend is all Daria (or anyone) really needs.
She also finds romance, has adventures and develops her own identity
throughout the series, all without being cool or popular. This was an
important message to me as a teenager, since for a long time I assumed
you had to have at least five best friends in order to become anyone in
life. While a bit nihilistic for my more social, adult self, I still find Daria to
be as entertaining as ever. And I'm glad that it gave 14-year-old me an
alternative role model for my alternative (read: nerdy) lifestyle.
There's recently been some of hubbub regarding to Dakota Fanning's Cosmo cover. One glance at the 17-year-old hanging out next to headlines screaming "His Best Sex Ever" and "Um, Vagina, Are You Okay Down There?" explains why. However, I wonder if Cosmo isn't so much pushing boundaries as they are appealing to their actual demographic.
My first magazine subscription was to American Girl,
and it was the highlight of my month. I painstakingly tried to make its
recipes, got advice from the "Heart to Heart" section and wished I
could write journals as cool as Amelia's. But around age 10, my friends and I started reading the harder stuff.
It started out innocently enough: a purchased Girl's Life here, a daring peek into the now-defunct YM there.
But by the time I turned 11, none of us were buying (supposedly)
age-appropriate material. We were now all about publications like Seventeen (which made us feel like hotshots since it had "teen" in the title).
parents would have had fits, and that's what made reading these
magazines all the more appealing. Granted, they were really only
slightly risqué, but the thought of "making out" and even the word
"sexy" seemed dangerous and forbidden. I distinctly remember a number of
times where we would secretly read Cosmo Girl in someone's basement, taking all the precautions of kids smoking weed.
I started reading Cosmopolitan in early high school, along with every other girl I knew. What had we been thinking, reading Seventeen? That was kid stuff -- this was clearly a magazine for sexy, mature women. And (as almost every outlet pandered to us) that's what we were supposed to become! Wouldn't we become so mature by reading it? So we eagerly devoured every issue, sexy spatula advice and all.
My interest in Cosmo
faded during senior year as my identity and interests truly began to
develop. A few friends read it for a bit longer, but soon none of us
were interested. To this day, the only Cosmo readers I know are
in high school. While I'm not here to provide a critique of the
magazine, I think that says a lot about its message. Girls around
Dakota's age are frantically trying to establish themselves as "real
women" for a variety of reasons, and Cosmo waves from magazine racks, promising to deliver just that.
I feel like she has an amazing sale every other day, but her prices are also very fair on a daily basis. You should probably follow her on Etsy, though I'm hesitant to say so because I'd hate to miss out on all the good stuff for myself!