The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

How far will the media go?

 How far will the media go?
How far will the media go?

How far will the media go?

Walking down Main Street in New Canaan, Conn. this past weekend I noticed three girls in their early teens standing on the corner on their cell phones wearing short Juicy Couture terry cloth skirts and skimpy tank tops. Their flirtatious mannerisms and sophisticated attitude suggested they were much older. Why do so many young girls strive to look older? What is wrong with acting your age? Maybe it is because of the constant images that the media display throughout TV, music videos and magazines.

 All adolescent girls have role models.  We all know that growing up and even now- being in our late teens and early 20s – there are still going to be those beautiful, sexy and glamorous stars that we desire to act and look like.  Times have definitely changed.  This change unquestionably comes from the media and their lax attitude in regard to what they choose to air on public television.  In past generations young girls would desire to be like Grace Kelly looking like a porcelain doll and acting classy and confident.  Our era unquestionably strives for the less is more look, and the actions of the stars today are often far from classy, and it is shown across all media.

 While flipping through the channels on TV last Thursday night with my family, I stopped to watch my favorite weekly show, “The O.C.” I found myself closing my 13-year-old brother’s eyes when one of the main characters pounds back a bottle of Grey Goose vodka and then rips off her skimpy clothes for her most recent fling.

 Played by Mischa Barton, Marissa is the beautiful, popular girl living a glamorous teenage lifestyle.  Girls at her Newport Harbor High School either glare at her in jealousy or stare openmouthed in hopes of one day being more like her.  Her hair is always flawless, clothes fitting perfect on her extremely thin body and always carrying a designer handbag.  Whether going to the gym or the prom–she is dressed to the nines.

 Her physical appearance may be confident but apparent in her actions, her character deeply faces extreme insecurity issues. She battles with drinking and drug problems as well as having poor judgment in her relationships with friends, family and boyfriends.

 All of these things are portrayed on the show, and every teenager that watches soaks every bit of it up.

I recently watched an episode of “Oprah” and the topic discussed regarded teenage girls and the media’s strong affects on them.  The segment was titled “Stupid Girls” in response to two-time Grammy winner, Pink, and her most recent hit, “Stupid Girls.” The song has aroused great controversy due to the strong lyrics. One verse recites, “What happened to the dreams of a girl president, She’s dancing in the video next to 50 Cent, They travel in packs of two or three, With their itsy bitsy doggies and their teeny-weeny tees, Where, oh where, have the smart people gone? Oh where, oh where could they be?”

Oprah and various doctors discussed teenage girls and their desires to look just like the stars they see on TV and the danger associated with such desires.  The girls on the show talked about how they felt better about themselves when they were thin and wearing fashionable clothing. 

One of the girls interviewed said, “I like nice things and just because I like to go and shop and have a good time with my friends, I don’t dress ‘hoochy,'” she responded on imitating celebrities. The girls claimed it usually takes them about three to four hours every night to get ready before they go out.  They also remarked they get most of their fashion ideas from reading celebrity magazines and watching TV.

 Most people might see this as strange, but I know plenty of girls that will buy all the new magazines every Friday and spend the afternoon glancing through pictures for ideas for an outfit that night.  These girls reading the magazines not only become more up-to-date on the latest fashions, but they also see the stars partying at the hottest clubs whether it is in New York, Miami or Los Angeles.  The danger is that the stars are often not photographed in the “classiest” manner.

 In this week’s issue of the magazine In Touch, which is read by many young girls, Paris Hilton is pictured in a leopard-print bra and underwear with black pumps, ready for a night out on the town.  Outfits are not the only problem.  These magazines often photograph the stars drinking heavily at clubs, and most of them are under 21.

 The stars may not realize their large effect on adolescent girls.  A perfect example would be the Britney Spears “school girl” look.  Britney Spears’ music video “Hit Me Baby, One More Time” displayed Britney in the classic catholic school girl outfit with her midriff showing and an extremely short skirt.  I can tell you one thing — that Halloween I saw more little Britney look-a-likes than ever.

 The media effects are not on the average 30-year-old women.  It is on the average 13-year-old girls that are just beginning to grow up. They are at a stage in their life when they seek to define themselves through their clothing, experiences, hairstyles and most of all, group associations. By following the celebrity norms and wearing name brand clothing, teenagers are creating a brand of themselves. The old-fashioned affect of movie stars is gone. The idea of wearing beautiful long gowns like Scarlet O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind” is gone. Celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan wearing skimpy dresses on their boney body are in style.

 

Hillary Heyn is a sophomore marketing major. She can be reached at [email protected].

 

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