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Essay/Term paper: Teens and the media

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Sex

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Portrayal of Teens in the Media

The media, that giant intimidating creation has taken the stereotypes of teens, the way people view teens, and the way we view ourselves, and has turned it into a delusional monster. The media at this point in time portrays teenagers as generally bad. Well to be honest, not generally bad, but mostly horrible. We are seen as the cause for alarm and trouble in society. The media portrays us as manic delinquents with no solid past and no concrete future.

The main points of teenagers that are warped into a lie are appearance and generalization of actions. The media spreads the idea that just because some teens choose to get more piercing done, or a tattoo, or decide to get a different hair color that it is somehow related to a dysfunctional sector of society. People have to realize that the adolescent/teenager portion of ones life is a time of self realization and expression. Teens are just finding these things as outlets for emotion and expression. The media uses these things and utilizes them in a sort of campaign to portray us as bad and untrusting.

Teens are not only portrayed as delinquents but also as disloyal, jobless, untrusting monsters. The media causes the public following to assume that all teenagers are bad and immoral just because of a few that have done things wrong. And even when a teen does something wrong, that too is sensationalized. We do not generalize that all adults are killers and rapists just because a few have chosen the "wayward path." In that sense, it contradicts one of the many other facets that the media represents unfairly. Teenagers are seen as immature and with no future. But are we not more mature than our adult role models by not generalizing about them?

I admit that I personally know a few people that have made some choices that have resulted in jail sentences and other consequences. Just because there are a few teenagers like that does not mean that we are all alike in that aspect. Another misconception about teenagers is that the inner city or black teens are involved in gangs. This is one of the lowest and cheapest misinterpretations. Generalizing by race and where people live (and in turn generalizing because of social class) makes me sick. I see this as a pitiful portrayal and a complete lie.

The media also portrays teens as spending their time doing nothing. They put us in shows and in commercials in groups of three or four, complete with the previously discussed tattoos and loose pants, just sitting around doing nothing. They send the message across that we are basically just a "crime waiting to happen." Which is not the case. About 98% of the teens I know responsibly arrange and map out their plans. Very few of them sit around with no job waiting to do something wrong. Another part of this misinterpretation is the attitude of teenagers in general. The media portrays general teenage attitude (which is portrayed as hating all forms of authority and not wanting to listen to anyone) as going hand in hand with crime and delinquency.

On a personal note, my reaction to this interpretation is not only one of disgust, but one of disappointment. Seeing and hearing that our adults in society are portraying teens as lazy good for nothings with no future disheartens me.

Things that are unfair or wrong can be passed up and ignored at small levels, but when they reach a crescendo like the media portrayal of us, it gets to be annoying and saddening. I rarely watch TV and I think that is one of the factors that leads to me not really having an angry reaction to hearing about our judgement. But if I did watch a greater amount of TV I think that I would be sickened and want to do something about it. When a society misinterprets it's own future political leaders, economists, and doctors, there is a serious problem. What is more important to some people? The enticement of big money or the conscience of what is right? Has our society sunk so far down that we attack a part of ourselves just to gain money? This is what I see the "media greats" doing.

I know my thoughts will be negative, but what can one person do about this? Even if a whole group of teenagers voiced their opinions, the TV stations and owners would still portray us as they have been. They know that people will still watch. Which leads me to question the power that TV and the media has over society, but that discussion would all be in anger and vain so I will stop at this: We as teenagers have to realize that the only way to change the thoughts that people have about us is to prove the media wrong and show everyone that we are not the same as we are interpreted.
 

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