Teen Conformity

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We teenagers walk around with smiles across our faces, appearing plastic, fake, and phony. Throughout society I see young adults molded into products of what outer forces bestow upon us. With no individuality nor independence we forget our true selves and allow others to form our personalities. As a teenager I understand peer, parental and media pressures as reoccurring obstacles in day-to-day life, pressures which are potentially the largest threats to our generation.


Parents constantly instill religious beliefs into their children, disregarding their teen’s individuality and ability to think independently. Various shows on television considerably display this concept. For instance, TLC’s reality TV series “19 Kids and Counting” (this name changes each nine months), exposes the reality of life within an identically religious family. Michelle and Jim Bob, the seemingly hard-working mother and father, parent 19 children, who let’s just say are a couple buns short of a Big Mac when subjected to thinking exclusively. These 10 young boys and nine females each received names starting with the letter J. This may just be a coincidence, or it may be an odd, cult-like religious phenomenon. Not only are their initials identical, but their religious beliefs also thoroughly imitate those of their parents. Each parental unit and misinformed youngin’ is conservatively Christian and holds strong beliefs on issues such as homeschooling. They refrain from watching television, socializing with people outside their religion, or surfing the internet. These notions allow Jim Bob and Michelle complete power and control over their offspring’s beliefs, forbidding their children proper individuality and impairing their ability to reap knowledge of numerous other religions. The eldest Duggar son, Josh, expressed in an interview his hopes of becoming a father to myriad offspring, not a choice he made, but a family value instilled into him from birth. Sadly, the Duggar’s are two of countless American parents who disallow their children religious freedom and brainwash them into thinking identically.


Children learn the power of persuasion from their parents, and later adopt it as a way to dominate their peers. With our manipulated religious views comes our peers’ idyllic notions swaying the reality of love. Teenagers consistently seek out loving partnerships, because our coequals display it as an amazingly majestic concept. Girls and boys throughout high school are under the impression that true love entails sex and believe both are easy to come by. For example, after frequently expressing my infatuation for my past boyfriend to my old best friend, she found herself seeking the same assurance. Longing for the same harmony, she had sex with a boy, who soon left her with not only a broken heart, but also the continuous responsibility of a child. With both our relationships ended, and our friendship strained, her succumbing to peer pressure left her with a child and a minimum wage job. I, being the nonconformist, refused to follow the crowd. With the ability to form my own opinions, I rest in blithe assurance, not worrying about what my peers may think. I watch my school friends willingly endure unfaithful relationships for the sake of confidence and conformity. With no knowledge of true love, many teenagers mimic their friends “loving” relationships, associating the term “single” with adversity and freakishness.


Our views aren’t only swayed by intruding pressure from our parents and peers, but also by media persuasion. Think of the last time you read a tabloid magazine, or watched a show considered to be “reality TV”. What type of people did you see? The famous community continuously receives various amounts of plastic surgery in their hopes of transforming into beauty, a determination that young adults see and attempt to mimic. Comparatively, a young female attending my high school desperately strives to reach the media’s version of perfection. With flowing platinum blonde hair, thick orange make-up, four-inch heels and always matching scant outfits she walks around questioning whether she’s perfected the Barbie appearance. Literally, everyday she asks if she looks like the unrealistic plastic play toy. She's lost her sense of self. Once a girl always promoting boyish fun, she now hides behind a mask of unattainable perfection. Society teaches that anything less than flawlessness is unacceptable. This leads to low self-esteem and bleak comparisons with those who fit the mold. That said, my Barbie friend is to be pitied. With her outer appearance being what most girls strive for, her feelings of incompetence prevent her from receiving any satisfaction. However, she isn’t alone; many teens join her in attempts to become like the enhanced celebrities seen on television.
From birth teens are subjected to the beliefs of their parents, the coercion of peers, and the propaganda of the media. We are taught that stepping outside the boundaries set by these factors will cause turmoil and rejection. I have described the harshest influences on our teenage lives, which manipulate our sense of independence. If parents, peers and the media practice acceptance and encourage individuality, we will be more equipped to live truthful, self-reliant lives.





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Luce' said...
Aug. 16, 2015 at 2:02 am
Try not to judge people because of their way of living, if you don't directly know a person or situation you believe what the media tells you about them, which I guess is a sense of conformity in its self. I love that you value individuality and being you, however I feel sometimes that having friends who are similar to you and then liking the same things as them is often mistaken as conformity but really is just a part of what friendship is.
 
Samantha said...
Jul. 3, 2011 at 11:09 pm
Very good. :)
 
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