So Long, Wonder Years | Teen Ink

So Long, Wonder Years MAG

February 25, 2009
By Denise Leland BRONZE, Spokane, Washington
Denise Leland BRONZE, Spokane, Washington
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

“I want fabulous, that is my simple request. All things fabulous, bigger and better and best. Fetch me my Jimmy Choo flip-flops. Where is my pink Prada tote? I need my Tiffany hair band. And then I can go for a float.”

I can’t tell you how many times I have witnessed a live karaoke version of this “High School Musical 2” song performed by the three little girls I babysit. It took only one of their shows for me to realize what the media is doing to the youth of our nation. The first few lyrics are already teaching young girls to ­demand a perfect life and boss whoever is nearest to “fetch” their materialistic fashion products.

And it’s not just these girls who have been sucked into the brainwashing wave – it’s our little sisters, cousins, nieces, and neighbors too. Everywhere I go I see little girls dressed in super low-riding shorts, perfectly matching sparkly Hannah Montana belly shirts that bring out their glittery blue eye ­shadow. And with this I shed a tear and bid adieu to what we used to know as childhood, for it seems to me that the media in America today is causing adolescents, specifically females, to grow up much too fast and in the wrong way.

There are many “role models” for girls today who perhaps aren’t doing such a great job. One of the little girls I babysit is a big fan of a Disney star. She even dressed up as her for Halloween. I can imagine this 10-year-old, and many others, wanting to decorate her school binder with pictures and searching for her in Google Images. Terrifying but true: the very first picture that comes up is of this star in her underwear. This isn’t just one bad egg in the carton; in the next one she’s actually nude though thankfully blacked out in the appropriate (or should I say ­inappropriate) areas, and multiple pictures follow of the same variety. I’m really glad that young people are dressing like that for Halloween. Trick-or-treat, Grandma, the times are a-changing!

This is truly saddening because these celebrity role models actually do make an impression on our youth. A study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that 40 percent of 9- and 10-year-old girls were trying to lose weight. Research into Saturday morning toy commercials noted that 50 percent of those aimed at girls spoke about physical attractiveness. But it’s not just these stars and commercials that are setting bad examples. Disney released “High School Musical” underwear for little girls with the words “Dive In” printed on the front. There is no way Disney could manufacture those without someone saying, “Hey, maybe people won’t think we mean dive into the swimming pool …” I think Walt just flipped over in his grave.

I’m not saying that we should lock up the children and throw away all ­televisions and computers. It’s healthy to see what the real world is like through the media to a certain extent. Some parents who shelter their children go too far at times, in my opinion. An online article ­reported that in one scene of Hannah Montana’s 3-D concert movie, she wasn’t wearing a seat belt. The article goes on to say that 65 percent of 13- to 15-year-olds killed in auto accidents in 2006 weren’t wearing seat belts. The blame for that cannot be placed on Hannah Montana; that’s going overboard, even if she did slip up.

Our world is quickly changing, and it may seem impossible to make an impact if you aren’t involved in the media, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Parents and other positive adult influences can really make a difference by talking to young people and ­letting them know that they are beautiful just the way they are. Show them a couple of Dove commercials to boost morale and pop in an episode of “Ed, Edd n Eddy” or “Recess” to show them that they can still be a kid and be themselves.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and think about what helped shape us. That’s why next time I babysit those singing and dancing girls, I’m going to bring along an Elton John CD to show them what music really is, and a copy of “Peter Pan,” who taught us to never grow up. If you know a young lady who is influenced by this type of media, step up and show her what manners, humility, and a little bit of fashion decency really look like. I can only hope that someday if I have a daughter, she’ll think Jimmy Choo is a type of bubble gum.

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This article has 194 comments.

on Dec. 25 2009 at 1:03 pm
toxic.monkey SILVER, Tashkent, Other
6 articles 0 photos 210 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Homo homini lupus"

i agree with you so much. i find it sad that kids hurry to become "older". childhood passes so why not enjoy it?? and anyway, aging is first of all mental, rather than behavioral and physical as percieved by these kids.

BUT this article is amazing :D

on Dec. 25 2009 at 12:11 pm
...irie... BRONZE, Which I Left In The Mnts, Utah
2 articles 0 photos 48 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Some look at things that are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?" -George Bernard Shaw

Really great article! If we all took a stand and showed the media people sex ,violence,and drugs are NOT what teenagers and kids want to hear about,maybe they'd stop. If we buy into this crap it will never change. We have to stick to our morals and hope it gets into the minds of our future generations just as the article said. Whoever thinks kids out there just want sex and superficial things are wrong, but at the same time they are manipulating them to think that's what they want..... What happened to strong morals and causes that aren't just about doing something good to get publicity...?? I say we take a stand and show them that's not who we as this generation are!! Teen Ink is shwoing we do have things we care about. We are deeper than that. We are kids and we have opinions, don't let the younger generations buy into that! hahaha impowering huh? Keep writing:)

on Dec. 19 2009 at 11:19 pm
when i was 10 years old i played basketball, thought boys had cudies and watched scooby doo. the most reckless thing i did in this direction was beg my mom for a pair of jeans with holes in the knees [and i never got them, now i understand why she didnt let me dress like that] yesterday, i saw a 9 year old girl texting on her ipod touch about her "Boyfriend"? and they say Hannah Montana is a good show for girls. absolutely not!

cotig writes said...
on Dec. 17 2009 at 8:16 am
very nicely done. i think many people our age would disagree with you. you've got to defend yourself on all counts.

on Dec. 11 2009 at 3:47 pm
swim4ever SILVER, Carol Stream, Illinois
9 articles 0 photos 60 comments

Favorite Quote:
"you can throw in the towel or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your face"
"no one ever drown in their own sweat"

I am 14 i dont wear makeup i dont have a cell phone i have an ipod and a laptop I bought them with my hard earnned money my mom still will not let me go to the mall to hang with my friends im not allowed to have a boyfriend(i dont always follow that rule though) my shirts have to come 3inches below the top of my jeans i cant have holes in my jeans if my parents ever saw any thing falling out of my shirt i would get killed and to think ten year olds wear under wear that say dive in on them thats sick

wichmann94 said...
on Dec. 8 2009 at 9:03 pm
wichmann94, Manhattan, Kansas
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
Nice Article! The only thing is that Tisdale was sposed to be placing a "spoiled" girl, in real life I've seen her and she seems fairly sweet. I think certain celebrites handle the fame differently. (hence Demi Lovato compared to Lindsay Lohan.) Either way I felt this article was very well worded :)

on Dec. 8 2009 at 5:29 pm
Emily555 BRONZE, Virginia, Minnesota
1 article 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
Winners practice until they get it right. Champions practice until they can't get it wrong.

I cannot say in words how much I agree in this. In music, TV and movies so many negative ideas are going out for teen agers and young kids to see. If some one took a random kids ipod and looked at all the songs, I bet a good majority of the songs would be about violence, sex , or drugs and alcohol. It is totally sick what media is putting into kids' heads nowadays. Some of the shows on kids TV channels I can't watch because they completely disgust me, and kids are getting the message that this type of ... behavior... is good. I love the old Disney and movies, like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, but I absolutely hate this new stuff thats coming out on Disney Channel, like High School Musical, as this article suggested. Thank you for bringing up the issue, Denise.

on Dec. 3 2009 at 7:40 pm
Hisa-Ai PLATINUM, Rockford, Illinois
24 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
Even the bravest of soldiers recognizes a battle he cannot win.

I totally agree with you, TV these days is really bad. My school newspaper printed an article on how the younger generation is being negatively influenced by what's being aired compared to what us older kids grew-up with.

Like, my EIGHT YEAR OLD brother watches things like South Park, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, American Dad, Futurama, and other inappropriate things that I was never allowed to watch at his age. And as a result, he says things that I would've gotten into trouble for saying if I would have said them when I was his age, even NOW I still get in trouble for saying certain words.

But still, the parents ARE partially to blame, they can control what their kids are exposed to while in the home.

I don't mean to point any fingers, all I'm saying is that there's blame all around for the younger generations' actions and behavior. We could all step it up to help them, like, maybe make them watch old VIDEO TAPES of all the awesome cartoons we grew up on, for starters...

on Dec. 3 2009 at 7:10 pm
Banana_Dragon BRONZE, Aurora, Colorado
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"Knowledge is the only instrument of production that is not subject to diminishing returns."

-J.M. Clark

W.B. kids was the greatest. Freakazoid, Animaniacs, and Earthworm Jim where my favorite shows. My parents video taped some episodes and I even drag them out sometimes too. I totally agree with you. Kids are meant to be kids, not mini adults.

on Dec. 3 2009 at 3:45 pm
ReadingFanatic SILVER, St. Louis, Missouri
6 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Nobody important? Blimey, that’s amazing. Do you know, in nine hundred years of time and space I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important before.”

I SOOO agree with you. There's a guy in my carpool who's in kindergarten. He listens to stupid songs like Dont trust me and LIKES THEM. He says shut up and words that even I'M not allowed to say. Whats happen to out society? When I was little I watched Authur, Caillo, Blues Clues, and Tom and Jerry. I jknew these were for laughs and didnt grow up to be one. When ever I see something with Hannah Montana I gag. Instead if talking which Jonas Brother is hotter I talk about books, and greek myths. I'M the one always recommending books, and begging to go to the library. Can you see any Hannah Monatana girls doing that? I dont even WEAR designer labels or wear eye shadow. I wear foundation mascara, and lipstick. And thats only sometimes! I say we BAN disney channel. At lest nick has nick joniur, nick, and teen nick. And you can TELL their FICTIONAL!

on Dec. 3 2009 at 3:32 pm
Dandelion PLATINUM, Franklin, Massachusetts
20 articles 8 photos 173 comments
Just don't say in it, "You'll be ugly forever if you don't send this along" or something like that. You'd get in major trouble.

on Dec. 3 2009 at 3:30 pm
Dandelion PLATINUM, Franklin, Massachusetts
20 articles 8 photos 173 comments
I remember when Disney Channel was Mickey Mouse (hence the little mouse ears in the corner of the screen) in the morning and episodes of Lizzie McGuire and Sister, Sister. Dang, I miss old television.

on Dec. 3 2009 at 3:07 pm
ShernayB. DIAMOND, Southfield, Michigan
62 articles 1 photo 881 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Some things will never change"---Tupac

Oh i'll have to agree with you on this.

good job. I like your opinion. My sister is a big fan of Hannah Montana and she acts like a little diva. She always want heels, she thinks she could get everything she wants, and sometimes she talks to me like I'm a dog. But I don't let her get away with it. I realized that she goes to school doing the same exact thing, except the kids there, almost bow down to her feet[figure of speech]. A lot of people think its cute, and funny. But i think its outrageous.

DOLLFACE1000 said...
on Dec. 3 2009 at 10:53 am
I totally agree with what you're saying. "With great power comes great responsibility" Celebrities KNOW that there are kids who look up to them, and they should act accordingly. Some handle it better than others. You don't hear about Selena posing for playboy, or Demi smoking pot, But what about Miley Cyrus, and Lynsey Lohan? Waht about good ol' Brittney Spears? When I was in second grade, I claimed to love Brittney Spears, and I didn't even know who she was! I only liked her because my friends did. I think that people need to guard their mind against what is inappropriate, and be able to discern what inappropriate is. My sister can watch "Sonny with a Chance", but "Hannah Montana" is illegal in our house, not because the show itself is bad, but because we don't want my 7yr. old sister to grow up wanteing to be like Miley Cyrus. Gotta ask, though, wasn't the girl who was singing that song "fabulous" the bad girl in the film? Doesn't matter... Great job on the article. It was well written, and very compelling.

on Dec. 3 2009 at 10:24 am
ManekiNeko SILVER, Cincinnati, Ohio
8 articles 1 photo 39 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and prove it to be true."

my mom wouldn't let me wear make-up until i was 13.

on Dec. 3 2009 at 10:23 am
ManekiNeko SILVER, Cincinnati, Ohio
8 articles 1 photo 39 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and prove it to be true."

i grew up watching innocent cartoons (well, as innocent as you can get) and now disney and nick are airing shows that seriously shouldn't even exist. for example, nick is airing bleach (it's an awesome anime but way too violent for kids.)

on Dec. 3 2009 at 10:20 am
ManekiNeko SILVER, Cincinnati, Ohio
8 articles 1 photo 39 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and prove it to be true."

i agree with the idea of underwear with the words "dive in" is very worrying. i'm utterly disgusted by what disney has turned into.

orange BRONZE said...
on Dec. 3 2009 at 8:55 am
orange BRONZE, Bangkok, Other
1 article 1 photo 2 comments
i actually can see what you are saying! I am quite concerned for our future generation. before you know it, disney will make those "dive in" underwear for 2 year olds.

Emmalee SILVER said...
on Dec. 3 2009 at 7:48 am
Emmalee SILVER, Rayville, Louisiana
9 articles 14 photos 65 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon

Wonderful. :)

on Nov. 28 2009 at 10:47 pm
loveibanez BRONZE, Maumee, Ohio
4 articles 1 photo 63 comments

Favorite Quote:
"When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!" -Ben Franklin

ah! Cudos to you my friend (yah. I probably didn't spell that right!) I completely agree with everything you said. Very true, very true and I wish there were a few more like you in this world who recognize this madness that is turning our next nation's leader's in to the next Miley Cyruss' or Britany Spears'. Very well written. Powerful.