Has anyone noticed teens aged between middle school and high school somehow look a lot more mature than our generation did? I remember wearing Sketchers and graphic tees, and I worked the middle part like it was my signature look (it was indeed not). Now these kids are rocking the fades, curling their hair, wearing makeup I can’t afford and dressing to make themselves appear older.
Is this healthy? Now that kids watch TV when they’re born, raising children on media can be a dangerous influence to kids’ minds, both boys and girls. If adults are insecure about their bodies after seeing the perfect body of Jennifer Lawrence or Ryan Gosling, consider how the youth must feel.
According to an article in “The Guardian,” a 14-year-old is sometimes mistaken as an 18-year-old. Her mother says, “It worries me that people, particularly men or older boys, expect them to act as old as they look.”
Her mother’s concerns aren’t unfounded. This problem can pose a danger to girls. Historically, girls were considered brides at fourteen, but it’s a different age now. In the 1900s, girls’ purity and innocence was protected at all costs, but now that modern girls and women can openly express their sexuality, what does it mean for girls’ bodies?
No one blames girls for the way they dress and the attention they bring to themselves. This isn’t the issue we’re wanting to address. Girls have complete autonomy over their bodies and their appearance, and never should girls or women feel unsafe because of the clothes they wear. Rather, let’s focus on what the media portrays as the ideal woman.
In the same article by “The Guardian,” the 14-year-old daughter admitted she does “feel pressure to look older.” This form of media pressure inadvertently makes teens feel like the peak of all beauty is to look like they’re in their 20s, so teens try to make themselves appear older to fulfill social expectations of beauty.
I know I tried and failed to look older than I was, but some of these teens are succeeding. Not only do their bodies look older, but how do they perceive their sexuality, and who would they allow themselves to explore with? For adolescents to seek sexual partners in adults, or vice versa, are equally as dangerous.
Maturity and sexuality should be had together, explored together among peers and realized on an equal level of mentality and physicality. If media fails to accurately represent adolescents, then adolescents aren’t going to fill their beauty, at the age they are, is enough. Perhaps the shows and movies depicting teens with adult actors should cease this practice of false representation. This false representation not only threatens adolescents’ bodies, but it endangers self-confidence and self-worth. It’s important for the youth to maintain both qualities as they come of age.