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Happy 4th // it can be better

Caitlin Surakitbanharn

i've had a really wonderful Fourth of July with my family - we had a really great cookout, played with the dogs, had a great iced latte from Starbucks... and then before my parent's lunatic neighbors begin their completely over-the-top & dangerous display of fireworks, we decided to sit down and watch the first episode of "The Newsroom."

blown away.

the punch line of the pilot episode is "America is NOT the greatest country anymore, but it can be."  how appropriate on this extra steamy 236th birthday of America?

it really made me think.  in it, Jeff Daniels' character tells a stunned college student that America is "seventh in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force, and number four in exports....None of this is the fault of a 20-year-old college student, but you, nonetheless, are without a doubt a member of the worst-period-generation-period-EVER."

this is what resonated with me.  i am also a part of this generation.  this generation that has made Kim Kardashian relevant.  a disgusting, uneducated, shallow, sex-tape-making, will-hawk-any-product-for-a-paycheck woman with no talent other than paying people to put make-up on her and blow-dry her hair.  and then my generation....has given her so much power that she makes millions upon millions of dollars to star in a television show about her mundane everyday life where she complains and bitches about things i honestly cannot even tell you about because i've never watched that show.  but know it's bad, because look at the state of our union.  we know who Kim Kardashian is, but i bet 90% of the people in my generation don't even know who the Speaker of the House is.  or could even tell you what MAJOR scientific discovery was also released today (CERN, Higgs boson particle..i mean...come. on.  we're literally on the brink of discovering what gives everything mass.).

so i'll keep the fashion thread here.  people have asked me time and time again - why don't you go work in fashion? you love it so much. you have so much passion for it.  so here's my real, honest to God answer.  because it embarrasses me.  i'm not slamming anyone who works in fashion.  because i do love the art of fashion.  but what embarrasses me is that Anna Wintour went to Kanye West's fashion show his first season, which was the biggest joke in the entire world, but yet she doesn't go to some of the incredibly talented up-and-comers in New York Fashion Week who have slaved their entire lives for their craft.  but she goes to Kanye's.... there's no integrity there.  and that's embarrassing.  again...a generation that idolizes an egotistical rapper with no talent outside his original craft...not people who DESERVE the attention.  not people who are giving the industry a backbone.  when i saw the most powerful woman in fashion sitting in his front row, two seasons in a row....honestly, i kind of threw my hands up in defeat.

so no - i cannot work in fashion.  the industry doesn't put it's faith in the right people.  not in the talented folks who deserve it, but in false idols.  and they promote these false idols on magazine covers & editorials.  and then the younger generation starts idolizing these false idols and suddenly...we're in a bigger hole than we started in.

instead i'm going off to pursue my passion and continue my education in engineering.  i still LOVE fashion. i love everything about the clothes in my closet and how they make me feel.  but i think there's a bigger mission in our country and that's to help girls see that being Kim Kardashian isn't something to aspire to.  what they should be aspiring to is getting a college degree, getting a job that makes them feel like they're contributing, and then continue to inspire younger generations of women.  we've come so far with women's rights in this country and this false idolization is 15 steps backwards.

so on this day where we celebrate how great our country is...let's make a new kind of pledge.  let's pledge to teach the next generation of women that we can be smart AND fabulous.  we can be Louboutin wearing engineers, dressed-in-Dior mathematicians, and red-lipstick wearing journalists with integrity.  let's give honor to those who have worked hard and deserve it, not those who come into our viewfinders because of a sex tape and their fame-whoring ways.

i am part of this generation.  my peers are the ones who make those abhorrent women relevant.  but again..i AM part of this generation so i'll take it upon myself to try and be a better part of it.

because this country can be better.