All that glitters is not gold

Junior Merle Weaver Prizewinning Speech 2015

Grace Mitchell (10R)

Eureka! I have struck gold. Five hundred grams of glittering, glowing, glossy gold that will make me a million … no scratch that, a billionaire. But what’s this? It appears reality has crushed my dreams for this piece of heaven is pyrite, commonly called fool’s gold, valued at $21.27.

Good morning special guests, teachers and students. Our world is overflowing with glittering facades, concealing less desirable realities. They are present in fairy tales, for example poor Hansel and Gretel who believed they had found their delicious dream house, when it actually obscured a hungry witch equipped to make a Hansel and Gretel stew. The moral: ‘all that glitters is not gold’, is a proverb and lesson we all must learn. This proverb was based on the afore mentioned ‘fool’s gold’ and originated in our old buddy William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice ,in which Portia could only marry the man who chose the right casket out of three: gold, silver and lead. When the Prince of Morocco came knocking and chose the gold he exclaimed ‘all that glitters is not gold’, after having not chosen the correct casket, which was the lead. Here’s a little secret, Shakespeare, going on 452, is no longer the epitome of the modern man, however, his proverb ‘all that glitters is not gold’ underlies many modern societal trends.

As teenage girls, we believe we are invincible, strong beyond belief, yet we are all too often struck down by human nature: the nature to be deceived by external appearances. We are distracted by dazzle and glamour and glitz … only to find out it can be superficial and worthless.

Click, Click, Click. The magazine industry and its partner in crime, Photoshop, are perfect models for ‘all that glitters is not gold’. Girlfriend, Dolly, Cosmo Girl, and Teen Vogue are all splattered with large images of flawless, tanned and skinny cover girls, who all glitter in the false spotlight of perfection. They advocate the aura that if we looked like them for a second we would be more successful, more popular and overall better people. These deceitful publications promote the ideal woman: long tanned legs, wide hips, skinny waist, toned arms and a perfect face featuring not one, but two, eyebrows on fleek. But this image is superficial. The reality is not as golden as those fake tans — the reality is Photoshop. Single airbrush strokes make models skinnier than physically possible and exterminate bulges, bumps and blemishes, inventing a new rare mutation, the mulier fortis A.K.A the perfect woman. However, these glittering illusions are spoiling thousands of girls’ lives as they strive for the dangerous superficial.

Seventy per cent of Australian teen girls complain of body dissatisfaction, reportedly saying they are more afraid of gaining weight than of a nuclear war, losing loved ones or getting cancer (National Eating Disorders Collaboration, 2015). Their goal of being the glittering ideal woman and how they want to get there is not gold. Bulimia, anorexia, dieting are not gold. Thousands of hours spent at the gym, fretting over how ‘fat’ you are is not gold. Ruining your future by terrorising your body to achieve a glittering ‘perfect body’ is not gold. This rare, photo-shopped mutation that shines under the spotlight of modern media and girls’ dreams is definitely not gold.

To conclude, we are constantly chasing the glitter, trying to be people, who if real, would be too skinny to live. So, we must always keep this proverb, ‘all that glitters is not gold’, in the back of our mind as, just because something may appear priceless or pretty it’s no sign that it is worth having.


National Eating Disorders Collaboration (2015). Eating Disorders in Australia. Retrieved from