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Generation 411

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Yazmin G. of Manhattan receives friend requests on MySpace from all over New York and New Jersey. She is fifteen years old and a Sophmore in High School. Her 'about me' on her MySpace page is eye-catching only because words are replaced by pictures. Even if it had any words at all, people would still click straight to her photo albums. She's sure to receive pages and pages of comments shortly after posting a new picture. Most of her photos show her belly piercing, extra skin, and of course some back. The photo she posted in mid-February is typical: skinny jeans, a top ending above the stomach, displaying belly-button piercing.

Yazmin says she feels good about herself, but apparently her MySpace activity is most of the reason for that. 'If I like the picture I want to share it with the world,' she says about her revealing MySpace photos. 'I'm very photogenic. I like the attention and being a tease.' She seems unconcerned about the fact that younger kids look up to her, no matter how bad a role model she is. 'I party and bug out.' she admits. 'What teenager doesn't? Everyone has a bad side to them no matter what.'

Yazmin is just one of many teens who are influencing younger kids in a negative way, from how they dress to their attitude and behavior. Young girls get the idea that by taking pictures that reveal most of the skin they've got on them, then they will attract attention, and that the attention will be a good thing. They don't realize that they are looking like stereotypes. A dean at a High School in Manhattan, Danilo M. said, 'It depends on his or her values. I'm sure everyone has been raised in a positive way, but there's always a bad one who chooses to follow bad influences.'

It's not only with MySpace photos that teenagers are sending messages about what they're like, to each other, to their teachers and bosses and other adults, and, most importantly, to younger kids. They also send these messages by the way they dress. Jeans are a big problem. Females buy them a size smaller than they wear so their jeans hug their bodies even more. Males go to one of two extremes. Half of them buy their jeans too tight and in skinny jean style, where molds of 'packages' are visible towards the front. The other half buy a size bigger, so everything is much looser and baggier, often exposing their underwear. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, a reporter for MTV questioned Barack Obama about how young men wear their pants. 'Brothers should pull up their pants,' Obama said, according to The New York Times. 'You're walking by your mother, your grandmother, and your underwear is showing. What's wrong with that? Come on.'

Teenagers are dressing in ways that are very different from how their parents dressed. Virginia S., a fifty-two year-old lunch aide at a Public School in Manhattan, says more about the difference. 'Young girls are more developed, exposing more cleavage. Most pieces of clothing are tight and uncomfortable.' Today, for females tops that reveal enough to sun-tan are considered perfect for school. Males wear tees that fit like night gowns and get them more girls than a rose.

Most teenagers are unware they're role models for kids, but they are. Even though Yazmin doesn't think about it, her younger cousin thinks of her as somebody to imitate. 'I look up to her,' Yazmin's nine-year-old cousin, Valerie O. admits. 'I like how she dresses.'

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This article has 9 comments. Post your own now!

Artgirl1999 said...
Jan. 30, 2013 at 9:06 am
Great writing! And all you guys out there, I do not find super skinny jeans or super baggy ones attractive!
DifferentTeen said...
Nov. 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm
Okay I get the point of "we shouldn't judge people by their clothes". But honestly? That's a person’s first impression of you. I hate the way girls my age dress, I really do. I'll admit, I do like to wear a tight skirt here and there, but I dress it up with a nice shirt (one of which does not show too much skin). I like to look nice, because I care about my appearance. I don't like looking sloppy. Sloppy includes wearing clothes that make you look like a "tra... (more »)
WojoLPU said...
Mar. 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm
While I agrre (largely) with what you are saying, I would like to ask that you do not generalize the rest of us. It is a popular trent to dress as a "g" or "skater punk" or sexually out here where I am too, but that doesn't mean that it those are the only styles that exist.
AMP1 said...
Dec. 22, 2010 at 7:27 pm
Dude stop being such a prude. I don't dress reveling and I don't find it nessasary to judge people If they do wear reveling shirts or choose to wear baggy pants or whatever. It's called freedom of expression. I get to choose how I present myself .Shouldn't others to? Honestly I don't care how my freinds dress I have freinds that are guys and wear skinny jeans and baggy jeans and I also have freinds who are girls and wear tight clouthes and loose clouthes.And I didn't care how older kids dressed ... (more »)
Skidmore said...
Apr. 24, 2010 at 9:03 pm
Thats BULL my jeans are neither super tight nor baggy.  baggy and tight jeans are stupid, you can barely run in either.  maybe its because i don't live in a city that makes me choose my clotheing wisely.  I wieght train, so i like to show off my muscle. i wear nice fitting jeans , shorts, tight and nice fitting t-shirts.  I don't wear skateing shoes because i don't skate and they are bad for walking and running.  You can not say that half wear baggy and half tight jeans,... (more »)
green_eggs said...
Oct. 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm
great article and i do think that kids nowadays don't dress to represent their upbringing. I also do think that they do give off negative influences to kids younger than them and i wish for the now popular styles of underwear glamour to fade away like the 80's afros. i hope to see more of your articles. Keep writing strong!!!
stupidpeoplelie said...
Mar. 28, 2009 at 10:49 am
I really like your article. People definitely need to hear this and I totally agree with you. Also, I think teenagers will get more respect from others if they dress modestly and will feel better about themselves. Thanks for writing.
BlueRain replied...
Dec. 31, 2011 at 8:35 am
While I do agree with you in that dressing a certain way gains you more respect, I don't think we should base our respect of people only off how they dress. I'm pretty sure girls can get distracted by how guys dress, so why isn't the guy's wardrobe being criticized more? Because girls can control it. Most girls are not as outward about their "preferences" as guys. Usually they're taught from little toddlers to be "the big man", "get the girls", while girls are brought up to shy away from this be... (more »)
beanz1123 said...
Mar. 27, 2009 at 12:41 am
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