Sunday, September 6, 2009

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

As I read through the various writings, my mind wandered back to the magazines I used to read when I was a teenager: Teen, Seventeen, Tiger Beat, and YM. Whether the publications were released monthly, bi-weekly or weekly, I faithfully flipped those pages searching for clues about boys, sex, and makeup. (And the occasional sexy poster of my favorite celebrity which I would add to my already overcrowded bedroom walls!) Those magazines claimed to know all the answers to the questions my friends and I had about our seemingly incessantly impossible and confusing lives.

Well, my life isn't any less confusing now, although I am quite a bit older; and the scary thing is, there are grown up versions of those same magazines available should I be interested in their advice. In fact, all but one of the same magazines I read as a teen are available to young adolescents today. If the same types of articles are being written, and the same issues are being addressed, then does this not mean that in spite of the expected differences among girls, not much has changed?

I ask, because there seems to be a lot of talk about how girls today are extremely promiscuous and overly aggressive and increasingly rebellious, and let's not forget...queer. I realize I may be oversimplifying the entire issue, but I have to ask, is it possible that maybe all these differences among us are just that? Differences?

Granted, as a Sociologist, I know there is a lot more to it. I do want to study and understand the differences; however, I want to go beyond that. I want to help people. Unfortunately, as simple as that statement sounds, it is not easily accomplished. We are at the mercy of policies, procedures, and patriarchal systems which are unaware or not in sync with the needs of women.

Although I believe we need to continue addressing the many issues that separate us, I also think that it is important for us to forge new paths. It is time for us to define for ourselves what beauty, success, and power look like. Each one of us, individually, needs to overthrow the media's hold on our lives. We need to reject their standards, and ask ourselves what we believe.
If we don't do this, nothing will change. If we continue to buy into their ideals, we will continue to feed the vicious cycle.

Personally, I believe we should seize every opportunity we can to change the standards the media wants to foster upon us. While I am on that subject, let me say that I was irritated Katie's quote in the Queer girls and Popular Culture book. Granted, I am a heterosexual female, but still, I wanted to slap the crap out of her and tell her to be herself. She does not need popular culture to help shape her identity - regardless of her sexual orientation. In my opinion, she has it better than everyone else! She can make her own decisions without being influenced by what she is supposed to look like, or act like, or be like.

Hmm...maybe I'll move out to the countryside.....


Kailannie said...

I was one to always keep my nose buried in each of those magazines you listed. As teenagers we think of these publications as the key to all of our problems. They always contained the answers to all of our questions. I'm glad we've come to our senses! :)

Gia Bella said...

I am too, Kailannie...although sometimes I wish a magical solution to our problems really DID exist in one of those glossy, trendy magazines! ;)
Have a fun weekend!