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CONSUMERISM S EFFECT ON TEENAGE VALUE SYSTEM AND COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
by László Simkó
University of Debrecen Institute of English and American Studies
Supervisor: Gabriella Varró, Dr.
Debrecen, Hungary 2009
I want to thank my teacher and friend, Gabriella Varró, Dr. the tremendous help and patience she has provided me with. Without her professionalism and positive critique I would not have been able to finish this text. I also want to say thanks to my psychologist friend, Nikolett Gecse for giving me guidance and helping me with the assembly of the test I have used to measure the effects consumerism poses on society and young people.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ i Table of Contents ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. ii 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Introduction................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 1 Ads and Sexuality ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 4 Hollywood and depression................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 13 Haute Couture and anorexia ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 25 Psychological test results ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 32 Possible consequences................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 36
Appendix I ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 38 Psychological test for teenagers:................................ ................................ ................................ .. 38 Works Cited and Consulted................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 42
In our globalized, modern world where all kinds of information are only a couple of keystrokes away we have to be extra careful with the content children and teenagers are exposed to. When all modern households are equipped with a TV set, a computer and Internet connection it is not surprising that views and ideals transmitted through different types of media target a wide variety of people. From the affected population children and young adolescents or teenagers are the most vulnerable to the effects of the media because they can be easily manipulated and their views can easily be altered. In this paper I am going to discuss some of the negative effects associated with advertising, Hollywood and the fashion industry. Although the mental problems listed are not exclusive to these areas, they show a fairly good estimate of how they might influence the mental development of the youth. In the consumer society of today buying is of utmost importance. The world is separated into suppliers and buyers. Suppliers use different strategies to encourage buyers to spend more and more on their products, giving them a chance to develop and rise higher in the hierarchy of companies. Money dominates the world and everyone wants to become richer with no real limitation to it. Advertising is one of the greatest businesses on the planet. Millions of dollars are spent to create and air different commercials that support this consumer society. Creative ads are created every day to sell a certain product. When we look at these we can find that these are not really about the product. Today¶s ads try to connect with the buyers on an emotional or hormonal level, making him/her feel good about the product using different, not always ethical strategies. When we look at the majority of commercials and ads it becomes obvious that they tend to use sexual images, references or they have sexual connotation. Sexuality is a normal human act, but the way these ads display
sexuality and the human (usually feminine) body is diminishing. The female body is often used in commercials as a mere thing or a reward one gets if s/he buys the right product. Hollywood floods the world market with countless movies every year. We can find examples of different genres constantly emerging from the greatest movie factory of the planet. These movies (even though in some countries they are rated) are easily accessible to all kinds of audiences through movie theaters, blockbusters, DVD stores and also from the Internet where all kinds of content is available for download. Some of these movies are designed to target younger audiences. There are companies such as Pixar or Disney, as well as others that specialize in child and teenage entertainment. The movies and shows they created are supposedly suited for these young audiences. But is it really the case? Are they really what the youth can truly benefit from? My aim was to link childhood depression partially to Hollywood and the movies these young audiences access and the values and important subliminal messages they contain and convey to teenagers. Fashion industry is one of the biggest, most influential industries in the world. We can not open a magazine, can not look at a TV show or a commercial without having to deal with fashion. As fashion has always been present, it has never received as much attention and importance as it does nowadays. Younger and younger generations are becoming more and more fashion conscious. We can just look at elementary school children and see the way they dress, or notice the µshopaholism¶ of teenage boys and girls, it is easy to state that the fashion industry has reached out and grasped these layers of society. When we look at fashion we have to face the ideals that are presented as beautiful and sexy. Our judgment is strongly biased by what is presented to us as desirable. If we understand the fact that we are affected by other people¶s view of what is beautiful, then we also have to accept that these effects have more impact on children and teenagers for they do not yet own a fully developed value system.
In my thesis I will address some of these questions and see how they affect the mental wellbeing of teenagers and young adolescents. I chose this layer of society because I believe they might be the ones most vulnerable to the effects of consumerism because of their not yet developed value system and also because of other factors coming from their surroundings and social relations. It is fairly easy to notice that more and more people ± usually of younger age are treated with some sort of mental disease. Psychologists and psychiatrists receive new young patients regularly, and the numbers do not seem to diminish. In my thesis I will attempt to establish a link between the values coming from commercials, Hollywood movies and the world of fashion, and some of the possible mental disorders they might cause in the youth population.
2. Ads and Sexuality
As I claimed in my thesis statement I would like to show the negative effect consumerism has on society, and that inside society young people are the most vulnerable to this impact. To get closer to this assumption I would like to show the negative effect advertising has on the human psyche and on human development and learning in general as a result of the misuse of the body and the misrepresentation of sexuality in advertisements. As the old saying states, ³sex sells´. We could ask all the marketing and advertising professionals about this fact and most of them would definitely agree. The reason why it sells is also obvious. Anything that has to do with basic human instincts, such as survival or in this case sexuality and reproduction almost necessarily draws attention and evokes some kind of feeling from the viewer or reader. How selling by sexuality works is also obvious, since we are creatures driven by hormones secreted in our body driven by our brain based on the input (in this case image of sexuality) it receives. First of all we have to look at exactly what kind of sexual content is being considered and how it manifests in the versatile field of advertising. There are countless examples of creative ads that objectify the human (usually female) body and use this image to sell a certain product, which usually has no real connection to sexuality. Since there is an endless repertoire of such ads and commercials I have tried to select some of the most interesting, most thought provoking pieces of multiple categories. Including, but not limited to the following advertisements I will show how the display of human body in these ads objectifies the human body degrading it to a mere µthing¶. As an opening piece I would like to talk about the famous godaddy.com commercials. Godaddy.com, today¶s number one company that registers internet domains planned to start their ads campaign during the 2005 Super Bowl. The first advertisement that was scheduled for this event was denied by Fox¶s advertising
committee because they claimed them to be overtly µedgy¶. Godaddy.com went on to make 12 more commercials also part of this campaign which shared the fate of the first one, when finally the 14th one was accepted. All the banned commercials were changed to ones featuring cartoon figures and were aired during the event of the 2005 Super Bowl, but at the same time the banned ads were easily accessible on the company¶s web site attracting an enormous mass of viewers who were aware of the scandal involving them (Banned Commercials Starring the Sexy Godaddy Girls). So even though these ads were not officially aired, they turned out to attract more attention than they otherwise would have. So what can we find in these bits that committee members at Fox found µedgy¶? In one of the commercials named Speeding there is American racecar driver Danica Patrick driving her red Ford Mustang convertible when stopped by a policewoman for speeding (YouTube - GoDaddy Sexy Commercial - Speeding). Danica¶s car¶s license plate says GODADDY1 with black letters on plane white background forming a clear connection between her and the brand name. She pulls over and the police officer stops her motorbike right behind her. The motorbike itself suggests that she is independent and knows what she wants, which is also reinforced by her tight leather uniform. She gets off the bike and starts walking toward Danica asking her ³Do you have any idea how fast you were driving?´ In the meanwhile the camera is switched to a close-up showing only the police officer¶s bottom as she walks towards the driver. She can not finish her question because she realizes who is behind the wheel and suddenly switches tone saying ³hey I know you´ in a friendly almost flattering way. She goes on making the connection by explaining that she is that Godaddy girl and how much she likes Godaddy, and would want to be a Godaddy girl. During this she takes off her sunglasses and throws her write-pad on the back seat of the car. The driver remains calm and also ignorant, saying that she knows all that because of a similar incident a month ago. This swap of power clearly diminishes the police officer into a toy or a tool. She is supposed to have authority and have the upper hand, but she
drops all this because of her obvious attraction to the driver as well as the Godaddy image, therefore lifting the value of being a Godaddy girl above the one being a police officer. Her act of undressing from the uniform also confirms this. First she takes off her helmet, letting her long blond hair flow out freely, accompanying this gesture with a sexy circular motion of her head, sweeping her hair back. She claims that she always wanted to be a Godaddy girl while showing obvious signs of sexual arousal. When she leans forward towards Danica Patrick her button at her breasts pops off. Danica reacts to this by saying ³Well, you seem to have what it takes ma¶am.´ The clear reference to the size of her breasts, as well as the use of a close-up caption during the button incident proves that all you need is proper size bosoms to rise to this prestigious rank of a µGodaddy girl¶ and becoming one of them. This part of the commercial suggests that women¶s worth is measured by their body and their body only. If we consider the high standards one needs to live up to in order to become a police officer (especially one riding a motorbike) and compare it to the subliminal message in this small part of the commercial claiming that belonging to a group of women with large breasts is superior to the former one, we can easily see the problems it might create, especially in generations with developing value systems. The commercial goes on in the same manner until the police officer is in very lean outfit revealing her sexuality, coupled by sexual moves she performs on the hood of the car as well as around the speed limit sign. During this the driver states her concerns about scratching her car, also claiming that the police officer¶s body is on the same level as the car¶s, only less valuable to her. After the performance Danica states again that the officer definitely has what it takes to be a Godaddy girl. Watching all the other banned Godaddy commercials the same message manifests in different situations. When we look at these commercials we can not help to notice the obvious sexual tone involved in them. There is excessive flirtation between the two girls therefore the sexuality of the female body is clearly centered in the commercials. With these images the creators of
these ads are offering the female body and the sexuality connected to it for sale, with this objectifying both of them. Unfortunately this company is not the only one preferring this type of overt sexual content to animate its advertising. Other large companies such as Microsoft tried to pull similar stunts to attract the attention of millions of possible buyers. In one of the Office XP commercials (YouTube - Microsoft Office XP) a couple is kissing in an apartment, obviously getting ready for a sexual intercourse. The male is only wearing jeans while the female has a tank top on. First we can see their foreplay reflected from one of the giant windows of the apartment, creating an even more mysterious atmosphere. When we look around the room we notice that most of the walls are covered with windows, giving limited possibility to real intimacy. The fact that they can easily be seen enhance their excitement. They are kissing and touching and the lady takes off her tank top, showing that they are getting closer to the actual act of intercourse. The guy struggles with unhooking her bra, and when he would finally manage it a Windows menu pops up asking for a password. He gives up and his frustration shows on his face. The lady smirks and the commercial ends with the display of the product, Office XP. The possible reason this commercial was banned is very similar to the previously discussed Godaddy ads. The commercial creates a clear connection between sex and the bosoms of the lady. Without the bosoms (without getting rid of the bra) there is no act. The fact that you need a password to the bra, therefore to the body of the lady a parallel is drawn between the female body and the software. Microsoft¶s ad makers managed to take the concept of identifying the body (and the human being) with a tool and went one step further, identifying it with a software. By this they acknowledged that human body and especially the feminine body is not more than a set of data, accessible only by authorized personnel with a password. In this commercial physicality is openly displayed, although this is not always the case. In one of Levi¶s 2006 µSexy Jeans¶ ads a girl is walking in long jeans parallel to train tracks (YouTube - Sexy jeans commercial). She hears the train
approaching and takes off her jeans, revealing her underwear. The camera switches to inside the train when people are staring out of the window with jaws dropped. When the camera turns back to the girl, she is buttoning in her newly made shorts. In this commercial there is no explicit display of sexuality. Sexual content is only guessed by the looks on the faces of the people riding the train. Although this is considered to be far from inappropriate display of sexuality, the implications it conveys remain the same: the female body (in partial undress) is a tool of amusement, is something to put on display, and is supposed to be stared at. I believe these commercials give a very clear insight into how advertising diminishes the feminine body and uses it as a sexual tool for selling products. Even though we can find countless other examples, these were my favorite pieces to display this negative trend of marketing. As I was looking for different commercials with sexual content I came across a very ambiguous piece. It was a Jeep commercial titled Bouncy and Fun (YouTube - Jeep - Bouncy and Fun). The ad itself is only 16 seconds long. During this time we can have a close-up on the breasts of a girl, wearing a blue top, showing sufficient cleavage behind the steering wheel, bouncing up and down as she is driving the Jeep. At the end of the video the logo of Jeep is shown and simultaneously we can hear her giggle. Then the slogan µBouncy and Fun¶ pops up under the Jeep logo. I believe I do not have to explain the implications this commercial has and the fact that it also diminishes the girl driving, into a mere tool, into a mere object of gaze possibly for male viewers. One of the leading commercial products that nowadays tends to use sexuality and female body in their commercials is beverages, especially beer products. Miller beer came up with an advertisement featuring two girls going as far as fighting over good features of the beer (YouTube - Miller Lite Catfight Commercial - Uncensored). Two beautiful girls are sitting at a table outside. They seem to be good friends who are enjoying time together. They have a bottle of Miller Light in front of them on the table. The blonde girl states that the beer
has great taste, when the brown haired one adds it is less filling. This conversation starts off the fight between them. One keeps saying µgreat taste¶, the other µless filling¶ - obviously two positive qualities of the beer. This part of the commercial has clear reference to the stereotype of beautiful but dumb women. The argument continues and turns into a fight, when the brown girl gets up, sweeps the table away and goes for the blonde one. They are choking, hitting and punching each other (using some fancy karate or kung-fu moves as well) and they land in the enormous fountain (almost a pool) nearby. They rip each others clothes off, revealing their two piece bikinis under it. They go on fighting in the water and we can see snapshots and close-ups of their body parts, especially breasts and cleavage. The fight itself is very violent and finally the brown girl manages to kick the blonde on into a container full of mud. She goes in right after her and they pursue fighting inside the container, covering all their bodies with the dirty substance. The quality of fray is somewhat different from the previously seen. They are close to each other, and the battle turns more into a catfight than a real one. They pull each other¶s hair, push each other with breasts (close-up camera picture included) and turn the fight into more of a rougher sexual play. The camera changes and shows two guys sitting in a pub drinking the exact same brand beer, watching the catfight on the TV. One of them says that it would make a perfect commercial adding ³Who wouldn¶t watch this´, when the camera shifts to the side revealing two other girls giving a shocked look (of course the girls are drinking Miller Light as well). Here comes a quick caption of the beer and the title: ³It¶s Millertime!´, then the camera turns back to the boys. One of them states that he could have a perfect ending to this commercial, and we can see right after that. Camera is back on the two fighting girls, still in the mud, when one of them exclaims ³Let¶s make out´ and they start kissing. As I have mentioned the commercial starts off with the reinforcement of the stereotype of beautiful, yet not really clever girls. I believe it alone would be a good enough reason for disagreement or even indignation, but the way it continues is beyond good taste.
Actually the fact that two friends would fight over such a masculine thing as a bottle of beer is steep. The part when the two girls are in the fountain, getting undressed and showing their nicely proportioned body, asserts that they are purely reduced to their flawless body, or to go one step farther, to their body parts. This thought is reinforced by the close-up captions of their bottoms, breasts and cleavage. Mud fight and lesbian show are rituals, male chauvinists extremely enjoy. The ending of the commercial featuring these, as well as the two beer drinking guys confirming that the ad was superb justify male chauvinism. Another beer commercial which can lead to similar assumptions is made by Hahn Brewery promoting Hahn beer (YouTube - Hahn Beer Commercial - Venice). The commercial starts with a beautiful lady walking towards a peer in Venice in a sophisticated dress while gentle music is playing. As the camera zooms out we can see that she is escorted by a gentleman wearing a shirt and black pants. He takes her down to the peer and helps her get into a gondola they are about to ride. During the romantic trip the lady is sipping champagne and the gentleman is staring at her smiling. Suddenly after they pass a bridge, the man reaches into the water and pulls out an enormous fish chucking it right across at the lady. She frowns at him having a puzzled look, obviously uncomfortable being all soaked up and dirty by the fish. The man as a reaction to this opens a bottle of Hahn beer and asks her ³What!?´ in an unconcerned and somewhat surprised tone. The whole commercial started off as a romantic time of a couple spent together, but ended as a disaster. The conflict was not really in the fact that the lady¶s dress was soaked by the slimy wet fish, but by the ignorance the man has shown towards her. The surprised, uncaring look on his face totally disintegrated the ego and comfort level of the lady. By that look and question he suggested that he is clearly superior to her and she is only a source of entertainment second to his beer and fishing. Although the commercials I presented in this section are discriminating against women, there are examples to the opposite as well. In closing I will talk about a Harley
Davidson ad that really surprised me (YouTube - Harley Davidson Commercial). A long haired middle aged man rolls into a driveway on his Harley Davidson motorcycle and kills the engine. He starts walking toward the house. The camera changes to the inside of the house where a couple is in the middle of a sexual intercourse. The long haired man walks in casually and drops his keys on the counter. The woman hears the noise and immediately stops kissing the guy she is in the bed with. The biker takes off his leather jacket and switches off the music. He seems very comfortable in the house implying that he arrived home. The woman gets out of bed and walks to the window noticing the parked motorbike. She imparts ³It¶s him!´ The surprised, somewhat scared look on the man¶s face in the bed suggests that they were committing adultery and the husband has arrived earlier than expected. He hurries out of bed and hides covering his body. The biker walks confidently towards the room and stops in the open doorway seeing the woman sitting on the made bed only wearing lingerie. He slowly walks towards the bed and leans on her grabbing her thigh pushing her under him. The camera changes to the counter next to the bed and we can see a wedding picture of the woman with the previous man who had to escape. Blues music is playing and the logo of Harley Davidson is shown with µrespect¶ written under it. The whole commercial is perfectly choreographed and timed, giving the impression that she was cheating with the first man. Only the end revealed the truth behind the story. The fact that the husband had to leave, and give place to the man arriving on the motorbike, as well as the text µrespect¶ written under the logo of the company tells us the value behind the brand. The problematic aspect of it is the fact that the ad compared the value of one of the strongest, most important human institution, marriage with the technical value of a motorbike, or brand name. The reality that the latter won the match suggests that the most important things in life can be acquired with money. If you can afford a Harley Davidson motorbike you get everything you wanted. Also in this
commercial we can see the feminine body as a tool or item. The biker gets the body of the girl as a reward because he has bought the right choice motorbike, a Harley Davidson. These commercials were only a tiny fraction of ads circulating in different media using sexuality to diminish the human body, emotions or values to a state that they are less important than owning things. Most people would believe that these ads are harmless and they only entertain. As we have looked at the meaning and value judgment they convey I strongly disagree with this assumption. If we look at people (usually young children) without, or with a developing value system, sitting in front of the television, bombarded by commercials like these, we really have to contemplate the possible effect it might cause.
3. Hollywood and depression
Hollywood has been synonymous with the movie industry, stardom and glamour for a long time. Many people want to move there and make their success as movie actors, directors and stars. The values Hollywood and its movies are associated with, have had (and still have) great impact on the majority of our planet¶s population. In this section I will focus on the values that are presented in Hollywood movies, and observe the way they influence teenagers, their behavior, their taste and actions. One of the most viewed genres among teenagers today is the so called chick flicks. Chick flick is a slang term for films designed for mainly female audiences. They are heavy with emotion and usually contain relationship based themes (Lang). I believe these chick flicks project such values to the highly receptive teens that are false and therefore are able to create a break from reality in the viewers. I also believe that the excessive display of perfect life, involving rich, beautiful, carefree teenagers combined with a happy ending where the two most perfect people fall in love, have the power to create depression on the long run among less privileged viewers (and honestly, who lives a perfect life?). Most of these young people watching all the perfection and happiness involved in these movies might start comparing their less fortunate lives with the movies evoking feelings of envy and sadness. One of the most recent crazes that went through the teenage world was High School Musical (Barsocchini). The movie was so successful that altogether three successive movies came out and enormous amounts of commercial and school merchandise, pen-drives, jewelry, clothing and many other things were produced and sold all over the world. In fact the series of movies made such profit to Disney (290 million viewers in 30 countries) that it is shooting a Chinese version, suited for the culture of the people living there (EST.hu). It was a fairly obvious step on Disney¶s part if we look at the number of possible audience and the
possibility of sold merchandise connected to this. With this move the world known company goes on spreading the values that most American and European teenagers are well familiar with. The question might arise ± What is the problem with movies like this? How can they possibly be linked to childhood and teenage depression? To address these questions let us look at the plot and characters of High School Musical and some other similar chick flick movies. The movie starts with a beautiful winter night scene. It is New Year¶s Eve, the snow is falling and everything is peaceful and calm. There is a house among the mountains where people are getting ready to celebrate. Gabriella Montez, one of the protagonists is reading a book when her mother takes it from her to encourage her to go to the party downstairs. Troy Bolton, the other protagonists is practicing basketball with his father, who is also his coach at school. When his mother comes in they have to stop the practice to also go to the party. At the children¶s party there is a karaoke contest. The two main characters are just lingering around when the spotlight stops on them, inviting them to the stage to sing a duet. As they are standing on the stage, both very uncomfortable and scared the music starts and Troy starts singing the song µStart of something new¶ uncertainly but in a clear voice. Gabriella doesn¶t want to sing, she just stands there paralyzed, when Troy starts walking off the stage. At this time Gabriella begins singing, Troy turns around mesmerized and they sing the beautiful , love song as two professional singers working together for a long time. By the end of the song they seem to have fallen in love with each other. During the song all the people begin to party and enjoy the show, unlike before. The boring party is turned into a breathtaking concert show that everybody enjoys only because of these two people. When they finish the song they walk outside and stand in front of the house. We can hear the people counting down from the inside, fireworks are launched, there is slow romantic music and Gabriella and Troy are staring at each other. They almost kiss but suddenly both of them start making
stupid excuses why they have to leave. They change phone numbers then Gabriella enters the house and Troy stays outside. This opening scene of the movie has everything that a perfect romantic scene has to offer. Everything is perfect, everything is beautiful. There is no bad language, no violence, no sexuality or any other offensive behavior. What can possibly be the problem with this? I believe if we look at only this small scene we can already find some implications that can be disturbing to young adolescents even if they do not notice it on the conscious level. If we dissect the scene and look at the details closely, these anomalies can be revealed. If an average young boy or girl watches this scene, he or she longs to have something similar happen to him or her. Everybody wants to have a perfect life (or at least perfect moments), but we know it is impossible because of this imperfect world of imperfect people. When people see perfection (especially those who are not cognitively fully developed) they long for it and also partially associate themselves with the person living through that moment of perfection. When this option of a perfect moment is linked with certain personal traits, a real problem can occur. The viewer might associate the possibility of that perfect moment with having those given traits. In this example of High School Musical¶s opening scene we can see a perfect scene when two beautiful young people fall in love with each other. Now let us look at what did these two youngsters need to become involved in this perfect moment. First of all both of them had a family with sufficient funding and sociability so they could have gone out to this log house to celebrate New Year¶s Eve. For a child who spends this time at home, because the family can not afford to travel, or the parents do not like to go out, can be quite saddening because going out to a place full of similar people was the first condition in this given scene. The second condition was actually linked to a certain personal trait. They both had great voice, and a hidden ability to perform a song on stage as a choreographed performance. Those who have tried performing in front of people know that
one of the key components of a successful show is massive rehearsing. Troy and Gabriella were almost literally pushed on stage, both scared to death, never have sung in front of everybody, and yet they create a show like no one else before. Viewers might associate this with enormous talent that linked these two people together. If we look at this part of the conditions of the perfect romantic moment, we can easily imagine what amount of longing and pressure this puts on a viewer with no or little musical talent, let alone those with much worse looks, and much more difficult social situations. They see that the people in the movie can not only sing flawlessly, but they are also beautiful, happy and perfect in every way . Therefore the viewer might conclude if s/he does not possess these same qualities the chances for attaining similar contentment are also slim. After the opening scene a week has passed and we can see how Troy arrives at school on a school bus. At the bus stop half of the school is there to greet him. Obviously he is one of the most important and popular students in the school. Later he turns out to be the best baseball player in the school, just like his father used to be (who is the school basketball coach by the way). These facts also suggest to the viewer that you have to be extremely popular to enjoy privileges like Troy did. It is also necessary to have good genes ± obviously it is not a coincidence that both Troy and his father were number one playmakers in their teams. Usually everybody has something he or she is talented in. Some people are moderately talented in multiple disciplines. On the other hand I believe it is highly unlikely that someone is a number one sportsman and turns out to be a number one musical talent as well. Even if it is possible, the majority of the people are not like this. As I have mentioned earlier when we are watching a movie or a show, we tend to identify ourselves with one of the characters, usually the protagonist. In this case we would identify with Troy. We would like to be like him, for he seems happy and seems to have everything. He is popular, successful, is about to have a beautiful girlfriend, etc. The downside of this is that we associate his success with his
multiple talents. If we are not thin and good looking, if we can not play professional basketball and sing like a star, we can not be similar to him, therefore we can not have those perfect, happy moments as he does. Troy also commits several mistakes during the movie. He lies to his best friends, he betrays his about-to-be girlfriend and he does not dare to reveal his true personality. Some of these mistakes are indeed fairly serious, although he gets away with them with no problem. The viewer might ask whether it was because of his good looks, or his popularity, or maybe his multiple talents. Should the answer be any of them they do not give a good example to young viewers, who might believe (and fact can prove it does happen) that if they are good looking and popular they can do as they wish and they will not be punished for their actions. Another problematic aspect in the movie is the way friends are portrayed. These friends are extremely loyal supporters of the two main characters. Whatever happens they are always supporting Troy and Gabriella. It could be understood in the case of Troy, because it is possible to have real friends who would do virtually anything for each other, but it gets a little more complicated in the case of Gabriella. She only go transferred to the t school a couple of weeks ago. She is a very smart girl who got elected into a competition, but at the same time she is supposed to be at the theater auditioning for the school musical. Her new friends sabotage the competition in order to allow her the chance to take part in the audition. She barely knows these people, yet they are willing to do something this serious for her. This notion has the implication that if you are a beautiful girl with a nice voice and you are hanging out with the most popular kid in school, then you will have lifelong best friends in no time. And when the viewer tries this, and it does not work for some obvious reasons, she will not understand what she did wrong, when she followed a model that has to work, because she has seen it working multiple times (in movies). Another movie quite similar to High School Musical is Camp Rock (Gist and Hicks). It was released in 2008 starring the members of the famous band Jonas Brothers. On the night
nd of the premiere 8.9 million viewers watched Camp Rock launching it 2 right after High
School Musical 2. The movie is about an aspiring young musician, Mitchie Torres who wants to become a professional singer. In order to achieve her dream, she would like to attend the best music camp ever, Camp Rock. Unfortunately Mitchie¶s family can not afford the fee of the camp so she throws a fit. Eventually her mother, who works in catering and owns her own business figures out a way to have her daughter attend Camp Rock. She takes on the catering of the camp allowing Mitchie to accompany her as help. Mitchie is embarrassed by her mom¶s presence at the campsite and tries to deny any connection with her. She meets lots of new people including the spoiled, egoistic rock star Shane Gray played by Joe Jonas, the singer of Jonas Brothers. One day Shane hears Mitchie sing and falls in love with her voice, without seeing her face. He goes on a mission of finding the girl he loves. In the mean time he also meets Mitchie in person and they become best friends, not knowing that she is the girl he was looking for until the end of the movie. There are some difficulties and twists, just like in any other chick flick, but in the end Mitchie and Shane find each other and join each other in eternal love and happiness. All the other singers, including the smug diva Tess Tyler who is the daughter of a world famous singer stand behind the couple, willing to sing as background. In this movie we can see almost exactly the same motives as I have mentioned in connection with High School Musical. The main character, Mitchie is a beautiful young girl with a wonderful clear voice. She is nice and would never hurt anybody. She has real friends and values important things in her life, such as family, friends and honesty. Her voice seems enough to make the young, handsome and extremely famous rock star, Shane fall in love with her. In this movie again, perfection, love and happiness are associated with each other as forming a sacred triumvirate. Having a good voice, prefect looks and talent are certainly nice things to have, but making children and teenagers believe that they are essential for a happy life are stretches that should not be sold as truth.
In 2009 the movie version of the famous series Hannah Montana was released (Berendsen és Poryes). Both the series and the movie is about a most famous pop star who lives a double life constantly changing between the famous Hannah Montana and the Tennessee farm girl Miley Stewart. According to the story, Hannah is extremely famous and she can get anything she wants. We can see this from the µshoe-fight¶ she performs in a store with supermodel, Tyra Banks. When Tyra asks Hannah whether she knows who she is, Hannah quickly replies: ³No, but I know that you know who I am.´ Also when she needs a private jet, she gets it immediately. From these captions we can easily identify her status as a celebrity. On the other hand, in her other life she is a little girl, Miley Stewart from a small town in Tennessee. She does all the farm chores, when she is at her grandma¶s, she talks with a Tennessee farmer accent, etc. Her background and double lives suggest that everyone can become a superstar, coming from any background. I believe this movie also gives false hope to people who are considering pursuing a career in Hollywood or the music industry. But it presents a false reality also to just ordinary kids, who believe the tale that you can be a celeb overnight. It is also important what Hannah¶s PR manager tells the journalist who is about to ruin Hannah¶s career by exposing her double identity. The journalist has two small daughters who adore Hannah beyond belief. The PR manager points out to him, that if he sends the photo of Hannah¶s true identity to his boss, then the hopes of millions of girls will shatter. If we look at this scene and the meaning behind her message, we have to realize that it does work like this in real life as well. People consider pop stars to be almost god-like and they somehow seem to depend on them. I believe this dependency is a learnt habit and is mostly because of the overwhelming media pressure on our everyday life. At the end of the movie Miley succeeds in living her double life gaining the best of both of them. As Miley the country girl, she starts a real (perfect) relationship with the handsome and down to earth boy who has always been in love with her. As Hannah she gets to continue her glamorous and
famous star life, with the possibility to disappear and live normally without the harassment of paparazzi and journalists any time she wants to. Movies like this make becoming famous look extremely easy and possible from all kind of backgrounds to all who have a single talent (singing in this case). All the movies I have listed are fairly new and deal with singing one way or the other. I chose these because they were some of the most influential teenage movies of the past couple of years. Showing musical talent in teenage movies seems to be a great tendency nowadays. Also this theme seems to sell as well. But the idea of teenage movies creating the ideal of perfection is not new at all. A while ago two young girls were in the middle of teenage star spotlight. Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen created countless movies about themselves and were widely popular among young adolescents and children. One of their famous movies is Getting There from 2002 (Swerdlick). The movie is about seven high school kids who take an adventurous journey from their home San Francisco to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. During their trip there are many problems, such as getting a flat tire, having their car stolen, getting on the wrong flight, then bus. Eventually they arrive to Salt Lake City and figure out that the whole fun was in the trip itself, and being together, and not in being at the Olympic Games. On its own it is a very nice and catching story with high moral values, such as promoting team work, friendship and never giving up. This one movie is not an exception from the list of movies that are capable of adding to possible teenage depression. In the beginning we see two 16 year old girls with fresh driver¶s licenses celebrating their birthdays. For their birthday present they get a fire red Ford Mustang convertible from their parents in mint condition with a license plate saying SWEET 16. Six months later they are allowed to drive from their San Francisco home to Salt Lake City with no parental supervision, only with their friends. As I have mentioned there are multiple hardships during the journey, but they can easily conquer them because they seem to have an
unlimited supply of money. When their car gets stolen they claim it is no problem because they can fly instead. Then they start flying around almost recklessly, not checking their destinations. They take a taxi cab home from San Diego. After they got home second time without succeeding in getting to their destination they decide to take a Grey Hound bus, for there is no available flight. When half of the group gets on the wrong bus after going for lunch at a bus stop they get to a place they call the capital of nowhere. There is only a worndown diner and an old gas station at the town. It resembles a ghost town in the middle of the desert. When they go into the diner they find a girl around their age playing the piano. She is very happy to see people her age around and offers them to take them to Las Vegas where the others (who stayed on the good bus) are waiting. She drives a very old crappy truck which breaks down halfway through the road. After this incident it turns out that her father owns virtually all the orange farms in the vicinity and owns a private jet and would love to take the group to Salt Lake City. When they finally arrive they try out everything and end up tubing and riding snowmobiles together. As I have mentioned the whole concept of promoting friendship and having fun together is very nice, although the manifestation of it shown is extremely limited to well to do people. If an average teenager watches the movie, whose parents do not own a private jet, or are not even able to buy them a car or let them go for a long holiday with their friends spending as much money as they want, then they will believe that this kind of friendship and fun is only possible for others, who can afford it. By showing all the material things and connecting them with the fun that all sixteen year olds are supposedly entitled to, exclude a huge majority of the population. What might those kids feel who do not have the financial background to go for such a trip, or buy a snowboard, or simply go to an amusement park. After watching movies like this (and all of the Olsen teenage movies are full of glamour and financial freedom) teenagers will more and more believe that having fun and real enjoyable
friendship are connected to money and services one can buy. When we look at the teenage generations of today, we can see this tendency manifest, as more and more of them consider shopping and spending money as a normal µhang-out¶ activity. Those who have the financial background because of well to do parents are more happy because they can afford hanging out with their friends in expensive malls and other amusement facilities, but those who come from poor or not well to do families miss out on this opportunity. This might cause them to feel left out and therefore unsatisfied with themselves and their lives, which can lead to depression in the long run. Another reason I believe Hollywood is responsible for causing depression is because of the treatment of stars. Some of the most famous movie actors are treated almost as gods who are way above ordinary everyday people. Most of us have dreamt of pursuing a career as a movie actor, director or other celebrity. Our perception of these people is usually one sided, seeing only the glamorous and easy life of popular people. We see the fame, the money, the glamour and the beauty of these stars and associate these with a perfect life. Unfortunately their lives are only perfect in front of the cameras and on the red carpet. We often hear of stars getting nervous breakdowns, families falling apart, as well as there are countless scandals about divorce, drug abuse and violence among these celebrities. We do not usually see all the hard work that is behind a movie or other production, and the sacrifices actors and directors have to make to live their stunning lives. People who were never part of a long-span production can not imagine the emptiness one feels after the end of it and the emotional strain actors have to conquer. Then why do we believe that the lives of stars are all about laughter and smiles? I guess Hollywood can give us an answer to this question. If we open a magazine or turn on the TV on a commercial channel to watch the news, or MTV we are flooded with information about celebrities. We can see what clothes they wear, what kind of cars they drive, we get an insight to their homes and we tend to believe that with all this information
we receive the full picture of what it is like to be a star. Especially at a younger, more innocent age and in a world where money and power seems to rule the world and our lives, it is really hard not to want to be a Hollywood star. I believe this outrageously positive picture of these people (and their almost godlike presentation through media) also helps in developing depression in young adolescents. The number one aim of teenagers is to fit in and be in the center of attention (or be µcool¶). They see the images of stars through different media and make them their role models in many different ways. There are not many teenage boys and girls who do not have a famous role model or a crush on one of the stars. There would be no problem with this if these role models showed real values for teenagers (although some of them really do!). But with so many artificially created celebrities, who are not much more than a mere shell or display of the imagination of a designer it is not at way that should be followed by the youth. Depression itself comes from the core of the µmade¶ celebrity, from the fact that they are created. Big companies such as Disney spend an enormous amount of money on creating a very appealing image of some of their actors (most recently Zac Efron and Miley Cyrus) because if they sell that image they can sell truckloads of connected merchandise. After all it is a very profitable business. Now the problem happens when the young teenager tries to mimic the famous star, thinking that he is famous because of the way he looks and acts. Unfortunately this usually leads nowhere, because the everyday teenager does not have the money and the marketing staff behind him to make him succeed. When he realizes that he failed in his quest he might fall into the trap of self hatred (he did everything right so there must be a problem with the raw material ± the self) which might lead to different forms of depression. Hollywood and big media companies are using these techniques of marketing because movie is a huge business and indeed it can be very profitable. The more people they can
µbrainwash¶ with the created stars and images, the more people they can attract to the cinemas and to stores where they will buy the connected merchandise. If we just look around in some of the supermarkets or other stores we will find multitudes of merchandise dedicated to a certain movie or character. We can buy High School Musical school items, bags, clothes, even kitchen appliances. As I have mentioned this is a very effective method of selling a product, although marketing professionals and company owners should be more aware of the possible damage they might create with this µbrainwashing¶. The target audience (children and teenagers) are in a constant psychological development, therefore they are very fragile and can be changed easily. If there is not enough parental support and guidance, then this overwhelming flow of impulse from the movies can cause long term problems in their lives.
4. Haute Couture and anorexia
In today¶s world of information we can get access to virtually anything in various forms. Haute couture or fashion (the word haute couture comes from French meaning high sewing) is one of the matters we are highly exposed to. At any news agents¶ we can find a multitude of different magazines or booklets denoted to fashion. When we walk around on the streets we face countless advertising boards using fashion, or when we look at the windowpanes of boutiques or shops fashion looks back on us. We are all bombarded by pictures of skeleton skinny models staring at us, promoting slimness, the official perception of worth. Even though some of the fashion-experts claim it has nothing to do with it, many others (including myself) firmly believe that fashion is closely related to one of the most famous eating disorders, anorexia. In this section of my paper I would like to show some fashion campaigns and shows as well as some facts that can provide us a link between the world of fashion and anorexia. Quite recently, in 2006 the sudden death of two young models shocked the fashion world. Louisel Ramos from Uruguay and Ana Carolina Reston from Brazil were killed by a mental disorder, anorexia (Ana Carolina Reston - Guardian). Both of the girls were tall and weighed like nothing. Ana Carolina had a body mass of mere 88 pounds for her 5 feet 8 inches height. This jolt of abrupt death started a line of discussions and also some actions. CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) called for a meeting to discuss the question of anorexia in the fashion industry and to initiate certain changes in legislation that might decrease or eventually stop the spread of this deadly disease. In fact anorexia is considered to be the most deadly of all the mental disorders with its mortality rate of 5-20% (Anorexia nervosa - Wikipedia). One of the initiatives at the meeting was the initiation of a BMI ban. They intended to ban models from the runway under 18.5 BMI. BMI or Body Mass
Index is a measurement invented by a Belgian scientist, used to easily estimate the healthy body mass of a person based on his or her height. It is calculated the way that the person¶s body weight in kilograms in divided by the square of his or her height in meters (Body mass index - Wikipedia). According to this measurement a normal healthy body would have a BMI value of between 18.5 and 24.9. Under 18.5 a person would be underweight, and under 16.5 he or she would be severely underweight. As a reference a 5 feet 8 inches tall girl with a BMI of the lower limit 18.5 would have a body mass of 125 pounds. Here we can see that Ana Carolina¶s 88 pounds for this height was far away from the lower limit of still normal. In the end CFDA did not go as far as to put this ban in effect. As a spokesperson said, CFDA believes in awareness and education and not policing. They however banned the use of any models under the age of 16, required fashion designers and companies to have healthy snacks available backstage during runway shows; and to provide adequate education about anorexia and other health related problems that models are exposed to more than outsiders. In Europe things turned out slightly differently. After the death of the two young model girls, Madrid immediately banned models under BMI 18 from the runway, and Milan followed right after. According to the NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) in the US 5 to 10 million girls and around 1 million boys develop some kind of eating disorder after puberty (NEDA). Looking at this layer of society, these numbers are extremely large. But why are there so many people thinking they are fat? Can there be a connection between this and the boneskinny girls used in the fashion industry? It was a long time ago when fat and curvy was idolized. After the liberation of the body looking good and toned became very important. People slowly developed a disgust for fat. Fat became ugly and unwanted, almost like cancer. Perception of worth changed totally around. The message got clearer and clearer, you are worth as much as your body, and if your body is not perfectly shaped than it is a shame on you. Even famous people like Ella
Fitzgerald or Pavarotti get low approval rating in the modern era. When we look at fashion magazines or advertisements featuring different model we see unbelievably skinny, almost skeletal bodies. Models wear size zero or double zero clothes, in which no one else can fit in. The standards they create and show to the world through magazines, fashion shows and other media, are impossible to follow. The trend is that people follow the lead of models (they are famous and beautiful ± and all over the place), and models follow supermodels (they are the best in the industry, so if models want to become the best they have to learn from the very best). Supermodel is a vaguely defined category. Usually the best known, most famous models get this designation, who have long term contract with some of the biggest fashion companies. As Claudia Schiffer said ³In order to become a supermodel one must be on all the covers all over the world at the same time so that people can recognize the girls ´ (Supermodels and Fashion Models) But as I have mentioned, there is no clear designation, some models are just being called supermodels at some point of their career. But it is a fact that these models do have a lot of impact on other models and therefore on the general public as well. One of the most famous supermodels is Kate Moss. She has created herself a name in the fashion industry through various scandals involving cocaine and her anorexia, as well as being the second most well paid supermodel following Gisele Bündchen. She is one of the most widely recognized models and she is also an icon many people try to follow. When we look at her it is obvious that she has a serious weight problem. She looks extremely skinny, which is far from being normal. She has confessed that her diet consists of only lettuce and green tea to maintain her double zero size. She also claimed that she is perfectly healthy and that she naturally has a super-thin body. I guess the fact that she is on a lettuce-green tee diet contradicts this fact. The real problem with her is not only her size but the fact that she takes pride in it as well. She went as far as calling herself µRexy¶, a name forged from the words anorexic and sexy. She even went one step further and named µrexy¶ as the must-have look.
There were multiple polls all over the internet discussing her anorexia and what people really thought about it. The shocking result was that many people found her looks totally normal, and commented on her pictures as extremely sexy. Actually we should not be surprised at all. We are bombarded by countless pictures of size zero models on a daily basis. It is not surprising at all that all women (and some men as well) compare themselves with these unrealistic images. We see flawless skin, perfectly beautiful face and a figure that is not far from divine. Nobody can be blamed for wanting to look like these images, especially in a world where look seems to be everything. What most people do not know is that on one hand it is a full-time job to maintain a figure so lean and toned, on the other hand magazines and advertising agencies use sophisticated photo editing software to make all the little flaws disappear and create an image (and the word µimage¶ itself is very important for it is no longer an unbiased representation of a human being) that shows perfection and divine beauty in order to sell the product. There is a huge pressure (mostly) among women to look like these images and therefore they try everything in order to achieve that (unrealistic, almost unachievable) state where they believe they can be happy with themselves. This phenomenon is very real, even though usually it does not happen on the conscious, logical level of thinking. We do not think we want to look like those models, but deep inside we envy them, and believe that we could be so much better and more successful if we did. This pressure is extremely dangerous among teenage girls and boys. By now fashion has moved heavily into the lives of these young adolescents. When 10-15 years ago it was not top priority for a young teenager to look trendy and up-to-date, now it is among the top three most important things, especially at a younger age, where fitting in is utmost important. Looking at these bone-skinny models teenage boys and girls see the only example they should follow. There is a huge pressure on teenagers and fashion adds tremendously to it. Carré Otis supermodel, one of the leading figures of the fight against anorexia openly talked about her anorexic past and
the pressure she used to have as a model. She started modeling very early. By the age of 15 she moved to New York City to model professionally. When she was 18 she moved to Paris and appeared on the cover of Elle, one of the most influential magazines of the time. At this point her career sprang up and she became a very well known and wanted girl in the fashion industry. During her modeling years she developed anorexia. She was also at the height of it at the end of her twenties. She was 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed only 100 pounds. She talked about the huge pressure fashion girls face every day. "The pressure was if I didn't get into that dress size someone else would ± someone else would get the job" ± she explains (Carre Otis - A Supermodel's Journal from Anorexia to Healthy). There is no wonder if everyone wants to be skinny when this is required for them to get the job and a paycheck with it. Most of the models do not have a profession and career outside modeling. If you become a well known face and you want to rely on modeling as the sole source of income than you have to meet the standards to stay in. And the standards are unfortunately set on µrexy¶ as Kate Moss states. By choosing size zero girls to advertise the products media companies also spread standards of beauty. One of the worst enemies is comparing as Carré Otis points out. The moment we're 17 and a size 2 is but five minutes of our lifespan. The media has chosen images to represent us as women that are totally unrealistic. The media highlights the skinniest models, but even these images are photographically altered. It's very confusing for girls trying to develop self-esteem. Picking up a fashion magazine is a trigger for me, so I stay away from them. We need to make our body type the best it can be and get away from comparing - that's a killer. (Carre Otis - A Supermodel's Journal from Anorexia to Healthy) When we are bombarded by images of perfection, when we see slim, desirable bodies whenever we open a fashion magazine or look up on an advertising board, or turn on the TV to look at a fashion show; it is very hard not to compare. We might not do it on a conscious
level but unconsciously it really gets us in the long run. As I have mentioned anorexia is a serious problem among models but fortunately organizations like CFDA are making progress in targeting it. It was quite recently though, that so called Pro-Ana sites started appearing on the internet. These are places where anorexic people can contact each other and get tips or help from their peers on how to become anorexic. They do not see anorexia as a mental illness, but instead as a lifestyle they chose. Luckily there are more and more attempts (even in the world of fashion) to educate people about the dangers of this mental illness and stop its spreading. A couple of days before the Milan fashion week shocking photos appeared on advertising boards all over the city. The Italy based company Flash & Partners (NoLita brand) was behind the campaign featuring Isabelle Caro. The 27 year old Isabelle weighs a mere 73 pounds (31kgs) for her 5 feet 5 inches (1.65m) height, but her weight has gone as low as 55 pounds (25kgs) as well. The French model has been suffering in anorexia nervosa since age 13, as she claims because of her troubled childhood. (Isabelle Caro - Wikipedia) Flash & Partners hired photographer Oliviero Toscani, who became famous because of the Benetton ad scandals he shot. The campaign was created to say no to size zero models and encourage the fashion industry to think more healthily (actionnooz.com). Toscani was widely criticized that his ads are controversial and might add oil to the fire, further accelerating the spread of anorexia but he claimed that the message is clear on the posters: Say NO to anorexia! Fortunately more and more fashion companies join the fight against this disease. In January 2007 Estée Lauder signed an exclusive contract with Hilary Rhonda. The normal sized model (size 4-6) became the face of the company showing the world that one does not need to be skeletal to look good. The famous Victoria¶s Secret, one of the most important cribs for supermodels (Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks both started their career with the company) also helps its girls to lead healthy lives. The models receive multiple trainings helping their career and ex-Victoria¶s models often show up to aid and encourage the younger generation.
Although there are some outstanding examples of noticing the health issues connected to fashion, most of the fashion empires claim that modeling and anorexia are two completely separate things. Media mogul Giorgio Armani stated at his London fashion party that fashion does not want skinny girls. "I have never wanted to use girls that are too skinny. I prefer girls that show off my clothes in the best way," said the designer placing the blame on stylists and the media (People.com). Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, founders of the famous company Dolce and Gabbana, also claimed that anorexia is a mental disorder and it has nothing to do with fashion (Timesonline). Honestly, as all mental disease, anorexia needs a trigger to manifest in a patient. I believe that the unrealistic standards set by the fashion industry, as well as the images of beauty forced to us, are good enough triggers to help the spreading of anorexia. If we look back in history, when models were not super-skinny and beauty standards were not based on jeans size, people tended not to develop such mental disorders at this rate. I believe it is extremely important to address this issue because statistics say that anorexia targets people between the ages of 15 and 35, with the onset happening in the teen years (Anorexia nervosa - Wikipedia). This data is not surprising when we look at how fashion conscious today¶s teenagers are. Since they are still in a developing mental stage they do need good guidance in order to be able to distinguish what is good for them from what is not. As I have mentioned earlier anorexia is considered the most life threatening mental disorder with the highest mortality rate. It is of utmost importance to educate the youth about the effects fashion has on them as well as the possible dangers connected to it.
5. Psychological test results
In order to prove that the following statements are valid and these forms of media really do have an impact on teenage mental development as well as value system, I asked a psychologist friend of mine to help me put together a test (appendix ii) to measure whether there is a connection between the image of beauty presented by the media and the way teenagers think of themselves. We also tried to find out what the ideal man and woman would be for these teenagers and what values do they consider important in their lives. It was also important to learn whether these teenagers are content with themselves or how far do they consider themselves away from the ideal. These data would show a good estimate on how happy these young people are in their lives, and what are the things they want to change on themselves to get closer to the image of ideal presented to them through magazines, billboards or shopping panes. My hypothesis is that the ideal image of beauty is the one presented by supermodels (slim, toned, perfectly proportioned body, flawless skin) and the more one teenager is deviated from this perfect image, the worst s/he feels in his or her body. During the test we asked 93 people aged 13 to 18 to fill out the questionnaire. I chose the group from my friends and relatives and sent them the questionnaire via email. Out of the received forms 82 could have been evaluated (the rest of them were not filled out thoroughly). Among these there were 45 girls and 37 boys.
Age group 13 14 15 16 17 18 Total Number of people 14 13 21 13 13 8 82 Percentage 17% 15% 25% 15% 15% 13% 100%
Gender Male Female Total
f 37 45 82
százalék 45,12% 54,88% 100%
Body type Average Slim Slightly overweight Overweight Total
Number of people 32 5 41 4 82
Percentage 39 6,2 50 4,8 100%
According to the data from the test it became visible that in the group where the number of those people who have average body type was higher most of the people found themselves slightly overweight. We have separated the options in the second question into three categories: for the girls: a. Appearance (good-looking, groomed, trendy) b. Sexuality (large breasts, slim waist, long legs) c. Inner characteristics (smart, nice, caring) for the boys: a. Appearance (groomed, trendy, good-looking) b. Sexuality (muscular, tall, seductive) c. Inner characteristics (understanding, provident, caring)
Characteristics Appearance Sexuality Inner characteristics girls 42 29 38 boys 39 35 33 total 81 64 71
As the chart above shows, most of the individuals chose µappearance¶, but µinner characteristics¶ ranked second right after it. We also noticed that there was no real difference between the girls¶ and boys¶ choice. Although it was surprising that µsexuality¶ was chosen by more boys than girls.
Traits needed for success (how many people chose it first place):
Girls Number Boys Number Attractive 4 jókép 3 Trendy 6 sportos 3 Educated 14 képzett 12 Goal oriented 38 céltudatos 22 Self-confident 12 határozott 13 Sexy 8 rámen s 29
Satisfaction Absolutely Most of the time Seldom Absolutely not Number 6 28 33 15 Percentage 8% 34% 40% 18%
Answers to the 7th question: 1. Thinner waist (28) 2. Larger breasts (19) 3. Neater bum (7) 4. Longer legs (3) 5. Richer hair (11) 6. Nose (2) 7. Chin (1) 8. Not answered (9) As we can see from these results most of the people are not really satisfied with their bodies. The level of dissatisfaction is varying but as we can see from the answers to the seventh question the reason behind it can be connected to the perfected images of large breasted, rich, long haired women with thin waist.
Answers to the 8th question (first answers):
Happy 2 34 9 Successful 65 11 0 Beautiful 11 10 0 Rich 4 13 10 Lonely 0 0 57 Satisfied 0 14 6
A B C
All together from the results I have leant that people consider their appearance overly important. These teenagers idolize the bodies of famous models and believe that they have to look like them in order to be successful.
6. Possibl consequences
As I have menti ned earlier sexual content hi hl increased the past couple of decades. Free display of sexual images and easy access of children to these add to the intensity of the traditional effects of becoming an adolescent. The old saying, one desires what he sees, works in this context as well. It is hard for a teenager to not think of sex when all he can see in the media is connected to that. Young boys don¶t have to buy special magazines with sexual content, it is enough to look at some of the posters of brand names, or turn on the TV and watch the majority of the ads running there. When we are bombarded with sexuality wherever we go, we can not be surprised that teenagers, whose main concern is to find their identity and fit in, try to mimic these action s. According to a RAND survey young teenagers who watched more sexual content on television were more likely to initiate sexual intercourse. These adolescents also acted as if they were older. For example a 12 year old with the highest level of exposure behaved like a 14-15 year old with the lowest level. It is also obvious that fashion plays a very important role in the lives of teenagers, which is also reinforced by teenage media such as MTV programs or Hollywood youth movies. It is not surprising when these shows tailored to young audiences give credit to those who lead a fashionable, uni ue and glamorous lifestyle. Shopping malls are packed with 10± 17 year old children dressed and acting like adults. More and more young peope enjoy l shopping and spending as a free -time activity and tend to develop a sort of addiction to this. Those who can not afford spending money on clothing and accessories on a regular basis
often feel left out and blame their unfortunate financial situation for their lack of friendships or µreal¶ social experience. I believe if this tendency goes on, and nothing happens to change the values young people consider important, than the increase of such cases like depression, anorexia or dysfunctional relationships will go on increasing. I believe it is of utmost importance to notice the negative effects consumerism imposes on us, as well as act against them if possible. I believe it is the duty of the older, more experienced generations to educate the youth about the possible threats they face and therefore protect them by giving them the chance to see them. I believe that it is possible to counteract these negative effects if we are open-minded and knowledgeable enough to notice what surrounds us and how it affects us.
Psychological test for teenagers:
Original (Hungarian language) test:
életkor: nem: testfelépítés (karikázd be a megfelel t): 1.,átlagos 2., vékony 3.,molett
1. Mely jelz k jellemzik leginkább az ideális n t? (válassz hármat) csinos gondoskodó divatos okos ápolt vékony derék hosszú láb kedves nagy mell
2. Mi kell ahozz, hogy egy n sikeres legyen? (állítsd fontossági sorrendbe az alábbi szavakat, az 1-es jelenti azt, ami leginkább kell a sikerességhez ,és a 6-os pedig ami legkevésbé) vonzó legyen divatosan öltözködjön képzett legyen céltudatos magabiztos szexi
3.Mely jelz k jellemzik leginkább az ideális férfit?(válassz hármat) ápolt tör d jó megjelenés jókép gondoskodó izmos magas csábító megért
4. Mi szükséges ahhoz, hogy egy férfi sikeres legyen? (állítsd fontossági sorrendbe az alábbi szavakat, az 1-es jelenti azt, ami leginkább kell a sikerességhez,és a 6 -os pedig ami legkevésbé) - jókép -sportos megjelenés -képzett -céltudatos -határozott -rámen s
5.Mennyire vagy elégedett önmagaddal általában? a., teljes mértékben b., legtöbbször elégedett vagyok c., ritkán vagyok elégedett d., egyáltalán nem 6. Fogyókúráztál e már valaha? a., igen, néhányszor b., igen, egyszer c., még soha
7. Ha változtathatnál önmagadon, min tennéd meg ?
8. Rendezd sorrendbe a megadott szavakat 1 -essel jelöld az,amelyik az adott képre a legjellemz bb, 5-össel amelyik legkevésbé!
A boldog sikeres szép gazdag magányos elégedett
B boldog sikeres szép gazdag magányos elégedett
C boldog sikeres szép gazdag magányos elégedett
Works Cited and Consulted
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