The Media's Dirty Little Secrets: Media, Advertising, Teenagers, And Sexuality

1498 words - 6 pages

The media plays an increasing role in any young person’s life, but it is especially important to teens in their high school years. Research has demonstrated that teenagers “voice concerns and attitudes that echo themes common in media messages, and that they behave in ways that reflect media content” (Feldman 245). The concern is that the sexually suggestive media is the reason for the increase of sexual activity among high school teens. The media messages that are known to increase a teenagers’ sexual behavior come from all different angles, such as sexually explicit music lyrics to the “sex sells” philosophy of countless main stream commercials.
“Teens typically spend about 6 to 8 hours of their time awake [each day] with some type of media” (Overmier 1) and out of that time, they spend from 2 to 4 hours watching television programs. Two to four hours of their time seems like nothing compared to all the other time in the day, so how much harm could their favorite television shows do? “Sexually related talk and behavior occurs from eight to ten times per hour in prime-time programming” (Brown, Steele, and Walsh-Childers 60) and that is without counting all those sexually suggestive commercials during the breaks.
In January 2000, when the Mercedes Benz company was advertising to sell their new E-Class 4Matic car model, their commercial did not show the television viewers any of the innovative features of the car. Instead, Mercedes displayed a woman beginning to have sex with her lover as she told him that she was not expecting her husband in such horrible weather, and then showing her husband driving in the terrible weather to his mistress’s house. In a recent study, a teen named Arizona said that high schoolers let themselves be sold by movie previews during commercial breaks that “just take a good clip out of the movie that someone is having sex and stretch it” (Brown, Steele, and Walsh-Childers 234) to seduce teenagers into watching the film.
Teenagers claim that they learn a lot of information from the movies they watch, especially since those films help teens experience new situations, travel to foreign places, and present issues that are important to them. The downside is that there is an increase of movies depicting sexual activity at an early age as a common act. So why the concern of sex appeal in movies, if they are only movies? The hit film Juno went as far as showing teenage pregnancy as not only bearable but attractive, so as the “reviews of Juno appeared, [that] very same week the newspaper headlines announced [the first] rise in the teenage birth rate ... in a decade and a half” (Hulbert).
There are other movies that even goes as far as idolizing sexual relations, such as the teen favorite Mean Girls, which takes the viewer into the life of the typical popular high school girl clique. The film not only has sexual related content in practically every scene, but the music used in the movie is sexually suggestive as...

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