Representation of Youth in Media Today Essay

The traditional teenage gender roles are becoming slightly more blurred today as society changes and the dominant ideology moves on. The traditional stereotype of the teenage boy was one of the rebel, the teenage thug and gangster trouble maker and even though society has changed this stereotype is still the one predominately presented in the media today. This is the stereotype that is highlighted in Kidulthood.

The music that is used in the film falls in to the grime, rap and hip-hop genre and is produced by urban artists such as ‘Dizzee Rascal’, ’Lethal Bizzle’, and ‘Shystie’.

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This demonstrates the stereotypical music that teenagers must listen to. It is also used to attract the target audience of teenagers, possible those who experience similar situations as the characters.

The language in Kidulthood is predominately inner city London slang. The dialect is said to contain many elements from the languages of Jamaica and West Africa.

The clothing worn by the characters in the film is commonly worn in inner city London by teenagers and consists of baggy clothing, hooded jackets and jumpers, caps, trainers and chains.

This stereotypes the image of teenagers today into this visual image.

The settings in the film reflect the reality of inner city life with the scenes set in council estates, shopping centres, in dark alleys, on public transport and at house parties. Much of the action takes place on the streets and may give the text authenticity and believability for the audience.

The film deals with stereotypical typical teenage, for the most part teenagers living in inner city London, issues including drugs, sex, violence, and poverty. The film deals with drugs as there is dealing and drug using illustrated throughout the film. There are many violent scenes in the film, in one scene a character (Trife) is forced by his uncle to torture a man who forgot to pay him by giving him a Glasgow (or Chelsea) Smile. The most violent scene is at the end of the film where there is a fight between to boys (Sam and Trife) and a baseball bat is involved, later a knife is introduced to the fight from another character (Mooney) and then a gun from another character (Lenny). A straight blow to the stomach from the baseball bat results in the death of one of the characters (Trfie).

The scenes of such violence, scenes that involve deadly weapons and scenes that involve drugs provide a stereotype of teenagers, primarily teenage boys being dangerous and being aggressive criminals. Poverty is represented and demonstrated in this text through the settings and the need to steal and deal drugs for money. This is a stereotypically representation of the not so glamorous side of West London, and the issues which are taking place. Sex is an issue that occurs in quite a few scenes. The film shows sex as a moderately large part of the teenage life and even shows underage sex. A further issue that arises in the film is teenage pregnancy as one of the characters discovers she has fallen pregnant, un-planned. Through this the film explores issues that are common and frowned upon in the real world of today. Again stereotyping teenagers to all have sex, that most are young and that teenage pregnancy is a problem occurring.

Kidulthood also represents black youths whom are often represented in the media through negative stereotyping as troublesome and the most involved in gangs and violence. The film portrays this stereotype but also offers other characters that go against the common stereotype and do not conform to the typical stereotypical manner of the other characters. .

The primary target audience for the film would seem to be teenagers and young people living in urban areas, who will predominately be most able to relate to the content of the text. The secondary audience may be those who are able to change things in society in order to tackle issues raised in the film. This may be those with power in society such as those in the government. The social groups of the audiences of Kidulthood could be ‘Explorers’ due to their interest in, and ability to affect social change. Also ‘Social Climbers’ as they may view some of the activities depicted, such as drug taking, drug dealing as inspirational aspirations and connected to a self-indulgent, pleasure-seeking and wealthy lifestyle.

Class is a significant part of Kidulthood. There is conflict between the working and middle classes. The film begins with a middle-class schoolgirl being bullied by working-class pupils. Because of this there is a ruling class ideology, as the working-class are represented as having the power. Another instance of representing class in the film is when black males Trife and Mooney along with friends Jay are falsely accused of stealing by a white security guard. This shows the ‘white ruling class’ is seen as having the power and also shows a black stereotype of being most likely criminals as they are falsely acused.

Skins – British teen drama TV series that premiered on E4 on 25 January 2007

Skins follows a group of teenage characters through the two years of sixth form (or college). After the two years (two series) the group and cast are entirely replaced. The programme is heavily made up of stereotypes and uses audience’s knowledge of them to build the charterers in skins as some of the representations are relatively superficial. The representations of youth in Skins are exaggerated. The groups of teenage friends always have extreme and differing personalities that often illustrated as exaggerated characteristics. The programme deals with lots of stereotypical and amplified issues and character types… The controversial plotline explores issues including dysfunctional families, personality and eating disorders, substance abuse, sexuality, teenage pregnancy, mental illness and death.

Also maybe they reinforce the hegemonic ideology in society about teenagers.

Exaggerated representations
Differing personalities
– overdosing on drugs
-Sex – with a teacher
-parties all the time
– hit by a bus
-alcohol abuse

•-middle class teenagers  •negative in the way they are shown with drugs, alcohol and more interested in relationships and sex than education or work Unrealistically perfect world where the most unlikely of events happen to the most improbable bunch of kids. In the show there was a frequent use of slang and colloquial language by the teenagers in the school. They dressed very youthfully in colourful outfits and the girls tended to have vibrant and flamboyant make up. The boys dressed rather casually whilst the girls wore quite dressy fashionable clothing.

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