Friday, February 28, 2014

Museum of the American Teenager Project

Internet Bullying VS. "Traditional Schoolyard" Bullying

Group Members: Jessica Harrow, Heidi Samayoa, and Lauren Veyera

Six Potential Sources:


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Gilbert, A Cycle of Outrage: America's Reaction to the Juvenile Delinquent inthe 1950s


The quote I want to focus on is, "teenagers lacked a sense of the line between good fun and delinquency" (Gilbert, 12).  Gilbert discusses that society's attention was focused on adolescents as looking "aggressive".  I disagree with this comment.  Your teenage years are for you to figure out who you want to be; this means that it is okay to experiment and to express yourself, for example through how you dress.  What I believe this article fails to mention is the affect post World War II had on society in general.  After War World II, the industrial world boomed; with this said, there was a huge focus on materialistic items.  Adults included, wanted to have the best appliances, great houses, and etc.  There really wasn't as big of focus on these materialistic items prior to World War II.  This given, teenagers had a whole new world open to them.  So to automatically associated adolescents want to express themselves with delinquency is not right.  Coming from my own teenage experience, I went through many phases in high school, specifically how I dressed.  I personally was faced with pressures from girls at my school, my parents, and the media.  My freshman year I was probably the preppiest kid around, wearing bright polo shirts.  However, as time went on I figured out how I wanted to express myself by the time I was a senior in high school.  Even now, I believe my style has changed and how I express myself has changed as well.  But this ability, to express oneself however one may like, is also the beauty of being a kid.  One's adolescent years are meant for this ability to change.  These adolescents do not have the responsibilities adults do.  It is unfair to make adolescents look a specific way-almost like adults, when they are not there yet.

In addition, part of what I am confused about in this article is the topic of premarital sex.  Gilbert discusses that premarital sex was a worrisome topic of the teenage culture and more focus was put on it.  However, Gilbert mentions that "sex habits among American young people had not rapidly changed; instead public opinion had begun to catch up with practices initiated decades before" (Gilbert, 22).  My question is, why now were people focusing on premarital sex if it had been around for decades.  If this was a common practice, and there was not an increase in these practice, why now with the public opinion and worry? 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Tangle of Discourses: Girls Negotiating Adolescence by Rebecca C. Raby


"Youth today are courted as a high-consumer group, and are modelled in the media as the ideal age, with teenagehood constituting the onset of 'the best years of your life'" (437).  

This quote is found under the discourse, pleasurable consumption.  In general, pleasurable consumption is a relatively new concept in which came about after World War II.  World War II gave rise to industrialization and specialization, which allowed for an expansion of the marketplace.  Companies soon realized that the young people had a strong influence on the family's spending, so focused their advertisement on this demographic.  Drawing from previous texts, in Grace Palladino's book, Teenagers, Palladino  agrees that teenagers are now a targeted group of the media.  The media, realizing how powerful it is, encourages teenagers to define themselves through their appearance and other superficial objects. Because this age group is one filled with insecurities, the media "helps" through advertising products and brand names that will ease these insecurities.  In addition, teenagers are also a big target for the media, because many of these teenagers are not spending their own money and have that free time to be exposed to trends.  

"The tension between dependence and independence..." (439)

 I believe this tension is truly apparent as a teenager and the line is often blurred.  The example used in this article is Prom.  Prom is supposed to be a coming of age event, where teenagers dress up and look refine (adult-like), however are regulated by teachers in a confined area.  Teenage years are often defined as adolescents learning how to be independent and adult-like.  I have found that in my own experience, I was expected to try new things and be independent, but was at the same time regulated by parental instructions that this coming of age idea was nonexistent. There are few opportunities to demonstrate these qualities, which strengthens Raby's statement that there is tension between dependence and independence.  

"She defines the mood as 'different' but not necessarily bad, and links this difference to the context of starting high school and dealing with its demands" (441)

The biggest misconception of being a teenager is that teenagers become moody.  Many times, this misconception comes from parents.  After interviewing a teenager girl of the age of 14, the girl herself is able to describe what is meant by her change of mood.  It is true, that the demands of high school are extremely difficult to take on.  In general, there is a lot of pressure being put on high school students; students from day one are pressured to fit in, get good grades, look forward for the future i.e. college, participate in extracurricular activities, and etc.  This is a huge amount of stress that is put on kids.  So for people to generalize that teenagers are moody is incorrect at best.  

Although this article did interview grandchildren and grandmothers and examined these five discourses of adolescence, I don't believe I gained any new information.  As this article did interview two different age groups, I believe it would have been more informative if it examined the evolution of teenagers.  Times were different when these grandmothers now were teenagers and vice-a-versa.  The five discourses that Raby described: storm, becoming, at-risk, social problem, and pleasurable consumption, I believe are concepts that most people are accustomed to.  I don't know if it was just me, but I wish there was new information surrounding the concept of teenagers.  

An Evolution of Teenagers


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Christensen "Unlearning the Myths"


Christensen's piece "Unlearning the Myths" is relevant to me as I am also taking a class focused on children's literature.  The fairy tales that I have read thus far in my other class are Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and The Princess and the Pea.  All have the same plot line: there is the girl played as the damsel in distress, and the prince who will be there to save the day.  I agree with Christensen when she says "children's books and movies, instructs young people to accept the world as it is portrayed in these social blue prints" (Christensen, 126).  Children are exposed very early to sexism, racism, and class association through social media.  Christensen explains that later she had high school students break down children's books and movies and analyze them, and many agreed that their own views were shaped by these types of social media.  However, I believe it is easier when older to look back at children's literature, television shows, and movies to see the influential, yet inappropriate factors incorporated in these items.  My question therefore is, how do we change children of this age from being influenced by such social media

I believe that it is critical to change how the media influences children especially those at such a young age.  In general, the media has a strong control over consumers, in terms of influencing trends, styles, and etc.  However, I believe children are of the biggest risk, as they are too young and too vulnerable.  The media that is being communicated to them is through literature, cartoons, and movies.  Children are picking up the themes of sexism, racism, and class association.  Children may not be able to fully express that they are being influenced, however there have been studies done that prove this influence.  From a class I took last year, there was a study done that included girls of different races, ranging from the ages of 5-10.  The girls were presented with barbie dolls of all different races.  The girls were then asked to choose a doll that was the most beautiful.  The majority of the girls chose the Caucasian barbie doll.  When asked why, the little girls responded either they  thought she was the most beautiful or that they wanted to be like her.  This in itself coincides with Christensen's argument that even children are influenced by the social media.  I don't have answer as to how to improve this circumstance, however I do agree with Christensen and am wondering if there really is an answer of how to solve it.

Just found this and thought it summed up these fairy tales of Disney princesses.