Teenage Representation

Traditional  teenage gender roles are become more blurred as society changes and Ideology moves on.  The traditional stereotype of the teenage boy was one of the rebel, the teenage thug and gangster which as highlighted in the film Cosh boy in 1953.  This was the first film to be given a X certificate  and was based on a true story.  This film was set up with the hegemonic ideology that boys were criminals and a surge on society and that this lay in the lack of parental control, this is highlighted by the scrolling text at the beginning. The film deals with Roy who produces connotations of a gangster, even the way he speaks is intertextual to James Cagey films.  The is shown in numerous close ups to show his bully boy tactics.  This can be contrast with the Observers report in the year 2000 on the Damiolia Taylor murder where boys were again being represented as gangsters, the article produces connotations of the teenage boys being feral, roaming in packs as if they were animals. So although the historical context of both these representations are different the stereotype stays the same, there fore going against Tessa Perkins theory of stereotypes change as audiences become bored and ideology changes.

Interestingly though when comparing the representations of girls to boys the roles have become blurred and the stereotype of the girl has defiantly changed.  This could be linked to the pluralist approach where society feeds the media, therefore the stereotypes which arte seen in society are used by the media in their texts. Unlike the hegemonic ideology which creates the representation and then injects it, ~ (hypodermic approach in to the audience.

There was a stark contrast historical in Cosh Boy, the girl, Rene was represented as the stereotypical naive girl, we first see her at a dance at the youth club, the audience are presented with a young girl dressed in White, reinforcing and creating connotations of a virginal character.  When she is alone with Roy, we camera close up shot is done in soft focus to create connotations of femininity and innocence.  This works in binary oppositions to Roy, as we see the bully and the victim.

However the representations of girls have changed greatly more so that boys. Long gone are the representations of the naive fresh young thing, and they are now being represented as teenage boys were and still are, although  you do get countertyped representations of boys, as seen in texts such as Hollyoaks and Buffy. One of the reasons for this change is feminism in the 1960’s and Post feminism which in some ways could be seen as a back lash against feminism.

Thirteen highlights the similarities between boys and girls.  Thirteen was co written by Nikki Reed who pays Evie, an independent production which is clearly seen through the type of camera work which is used and the non linear narrative.  The social context is the gritty realism which America lives under, the idea of social identity, consumerism and fitting in.  It is created partly as a dig at the advertisers who push young girls in to conforming with what they see as being in ‘the in crowd’,  it is about the allure of being popular at what ever expense.  We see a similar representation to the idea of the male rebel, Tracey is shown to take drugs, have sex and self harm herself.  She fights against her mothers rules and believes she is old enough to do what see wants to.  We see binary oppositions between the second shot where she is seen as being a child to the grown up Tracey wears tight clothes and lots of make up.  She steals from shops she disobeys her mother, she turns to drugs all creating the connotations of the rebellious teenager.  Although the audience in the 1990’s may think this representation is a countertype and therefore different to the male representation we have now become desensitised to the representations the audience have seen them too many times and therefore through the culmination theory they become stereotypes.  Tracey becomes the stereotypical representation of how boys have been and still are represented.

The similarities and differences of these representations of genders have to be grounded in a few things the first being ideology, and the way that society changes and our social values change.  Also a huge influence in the representation of girls and more dominant representations happening is the concept of feminism and post feminism.  Also there is a blurring of representations as I believe there are hybrid representations which have occurred, where we are now seeing a mixture of countertypes and stereotypes within the representations in the media.

A finally, the Institution and the mediation is very important.  If the institution want the audience to take a preferred meaning from the text, they will be bias in there representation and therefore their mediation will be set up through selection, organising and focusing so they try to get there dominant meaning across, good example is Cosh Boy. And finally, finally the genre of the text has a huge influence on the representation, for example the stereotypical representation of Kevin in Kevin’s guide to being a teenager, creates an archetypical character, this is exaggerated due to they genre being a comedy


One Response to Teenage Representation

  1. you're wrong says:


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