YOLO: The New 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'

by Ashley Fern

We are all familiar with the song-inspired phrase: "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." When this song, sung by Cyndi Lauper, came out in 1983, this phrase took on a completely different meaning than it is interpreted today. Gen-Y has taken this phrase and morphed it into something we like to call “YOLO.” For all of you who have been living under a rock for the last few years, this phrase stands for "you only live once."

"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" became an anthem of sorts for all women and girls of that generation. The 80s were an era for women to express their autonomy and individualism, through fashion choices, revolution, sexual expression and any other medium that strives for pure gender equality and freedom.

This song shows that women can be strong and powerful all on their own; they do not need a man to achieve such status. This song has served as the backdrop for many movies and television programs that seek to promote female empowerment.

“Women, the song conveys, want the freedom to make choices about their lives unrestricted from patriarchal systems designed to control and diminish women's agency. Women warrant mutual respect; they are in control of their bodies and themselves, and that is something that the larger, male-dominated culture should acknowledge and abide by. In the climax of the song, Cyndi keens the lyric: "I want to be the one to walk in the sun," which is a declaration of the opportunities -- social, economic, professional, legal -- that all women, regardless of class, race, or sexual identity, rightly and richly deserve.”- Sheila Moeschen

Carpe diem is an expression of the past replaced by the oh-so eloquent "YOLO."  The phrase YOLO became a part of almost every Gen-Y conversation thanks to Drake’s song "The Motto." Although people previously used this phrase in centuries past, in one form or another, this song drastically popularized it.

The message and intention of the phrase YOLO was probably to show that you only have one life, so it’s best to make the most out of every possible opportunity. Sounds really motivational, right? Well the women of this generation have taken this slogan as an excuse to get blacked out, party every night and basically do whatever the F it is they want.

“The concept of YOLO isn’t to go smoke and drink and make an ass of yourself. It’s to go out and do something with your life that matters.”

Times are rapidly changing, with our generation at the forefront. We are a generation unlike any that have preceded us. We take YOLO to the extreme and display this phrase in real time on any social media platform. Life is one huge popularity contest via Instagram. This psychological warfare is who is “YOLO”-ing the hardest. Instead of living in the moment like the phrase suggests, we are too busy picking out filters that distort our looks the best.

Head down to any beach town and you can find an array of apparel and accessories decked out with the words YOLO in large, bold print. You can also find this idiom across social media, as it continuously is a trending topic on Twitter.

“Our culture has given 20-somethings an easy out from the hard work that is growing up.”

How ignorant can our generation be? The majority of actions we take part in are actually contradictory to what the phrase YOLO stands for. We use this expression to justify ridiculous behavior: take 10 shots in a row, why? YOLO. Cliff dive on a random afternoon, why? YOLO. Hook up with that random guy at a bar, why? YOLO. Why does our generation drink ourselves into oblivion? YOLO, that’s why. We only have one life, so clearly the best option is to frequently run the risk of ruining it.

We think YOLO is a lifestyle and we are letting that drive our outlandish behavior. The reason people have ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out) is because of YOLO. We are literally living our lives by acronyms and how inherently stupid is that? You know the activity you are participating in is probably not the best idea but hey, f*ck it, YOLO!

“Your 20s are an amazing gift. Now, when you have your life ahead and the world at your feet, when you have nothing to lose, when you heal quickly and bounce right back on your feet… now is the time to push through your boundaries and discover the stuff you’re really made of.”

The concept of YOLO does make sense to a certain extent. We have one life and one life only, so we need to do all we can to make it the best life. Set goals for yourself and map out a plan to achieve them. Appreciate the time you have because you will never be younger than you are right now. Take opportunities as they come to you and create opportunities for yourself.

We are literally destroying our own potential to live a life of fulfillment. Every hour you spend blacked out is an hour you lose when you could’ve been doing something meaningful instead.

Hopefully this phrase will fade out like all other bad fads and trends do. I mean -- let's be honest, do we really need to encourage ourselves to do any more stupid sh*t than we already do? We are careless and reckless and chalk it all up to YOLO. Of course, life is about risk taking, but risks must be appropriately managed and evaluated. We need to collectively reconsider our priorities before we f*ck ourselves over and commit irrevocable damage.

Photos via Tumblr/ Humor