Representations of Teenagers in the Media
Teenagers are usually represented very negatively in the Media, as shown on Soap Operas, Dramas, Movies and the News! They are usually stereotyped as sex-crazed, troublesome rebels that show no sense of responsibility for themselves, for the world around them. Mainly because they have no real worries, apart from “who’s going to be in the pub tonight? ” Usually thought of as hanging around on street corners at alien hours of the night, wearing sports gear from head to toe and clutching a bottle of WKD (infact, anything alcoholic! . Teenagers are often blamed for a majority of streets crimes in Britain, like Vandalism, Drugs and Theft. Teenagers are often seen as moody, impolite, unreasonable and sometime quite aggressive, usually caused by drink, drugs and a much more reasonable answer… stress from schoolwork or social lives. Hollyoaks is one of the most popular soaps shown on TV. It is especially appealing to the younger generation as it deals with the reality many of Britain’s teenagers face each and everyday.
Although, most of the main characters are university students, over the last year the writers have made it more appealing to a wider audience by introducing younger characters. We see the teenagers in this soap dealing with matters such as, love lives, schoolwork, social lives and even family tensions. And how they overcome these situations, it gives it’s younger audiences a sense of security, and provides answers if they have to deal with similar situations. One story I remember in particular, was the story about Lisa and her problem with self-harm.
This is a common problem with teenagers, they are so stressed with many problems, and they find that self-harm is the only way to turn as it mentally relieves pressure. A lot of the storylines based around the teenagers are about their love lives, binge drinking (mainly lads) and family problems. In these soaps they are seen a vulnerable group of people due to the intensity of some of their storylines. They cover the typical issues like bullying, peer-pressures right up to social and school life.
You often see the characters that represent the rebellious, carefree troublemakers, who vandalise everything and spend most of their night drunk on streets. The characters the represent those that do have a guilty consciences, but still are willing to experiment with drugs and drink, however, it is that group of people that end up getting into the most trouble. And the more responsible teenagers that are ambitious but also like to have fun and let their hair down, but are more focused in their work.
They all represent the different types of teenagers we see around us everyday. Many stories that are printed in the newspapers about teenagers are usually negative, and look at issues such as drugs, vandalism etc. Looking at some copies of the Sun, the stories that involve teenagers all about the negative issues mentioned earlier. Mainly stories about 18 years old that have been killed through drug abuse, or old women that have been attacked by a gang of youths, and left wounded.
In fact, the newspapers tend to point the finger and blame the teenagers for most of the street crimes that happen. For instance, when mobile phone theft was popular on the streets, many people ultimately thought that it was teenagers that did this. Yes, this was probably a right assumption, bit it’s the way the media represents us that make people believe that we’re to blame. You never really see stories like “16 year old did well in Maths exam” because that really isn’t good reading, and people generally want to read about the nitty gritty.
Teenagers are usually represented as rebellious troublemakers, who hang around on street corners with cheap booze from the local off-licence!! Another source that strongly stereotypes teenagers is the film Kevin and Perry Go Large, starring Harry Enfield and Kathy Burke. It’s about two typical teenage boys who go on holiday (with Kevin’s parents! ) to Ibiza, where the boys are determined to “Large it Up”. In the film, the teenagers are represented as scruffy, unattractive and totally irresponsible.
Every time Kevin is face to face with his parents, we see the rebellious representation as he raises his voice and tells them how embarrassing and old they are. And carries the attitude that he is right because he’s “with it”, showing representations of teenager’s moody, impolite and aggressive attitudes. Kevin and Perry also show their typical sex-crazed attitude as all through the movie the one main subject is about sex, but they are yet to lose their virginity. So, like any other teenage lad (or so the film is telling us) the holiday to Ibiza is a perfect opportunity to do their stuff.
This film represents teenagers in a comical way, instead of pointing out all the negative and serious issues created around the life of a teen. The music industry is aimed at the teenage age-range hugely; it is them that are mainly responsible record and album sales. Radio stations have to be careful not to represent teenager too negatively, as they would lose a substantial number of listeners. Unless it is a serious issue that needs to be broadcasted on radio news, then teenagers tend to be represented as happy and fun loving. Radio stations such as Rock. m, are aimed at students and teenager as it is based near Central Lancashire University, so they would have to be wary not to convey too many negative representations as they would probably lose listeners. Some of the adverts on radio stations like Rock. fm are about the nightlife, shopping in the area and some adverts also offer help to trouble youngsters. Also suggesting that teenagers and young adults often get confused, troubled and have insecurities, and so they still need to be advised from time to time despite the amount of freedom from family life they wish for.
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