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.

AsherJ SILVER said...
on Mar. 13 2010 at 5:12 pm
AsherJ SILVER, Parker, Colorado
6 articles 2 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
“You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
~Dr. Seuss

I totally agree with izzieartist, the fact that shows on Disney and Nick have human kids acting (not cartoons) make it seem real to them. Example in Suite Life of Zack and Cody they constantly disobey/ed their mom and one day my brother disobeyed my mom and said a comment saying that "Zack and Cody did it too."

TheJust ELITE said...
on Mar. 9 2010 at 7:40 pm
TheJust ELITE, Ellenton, Florida
254 articles 202 photos 945 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I feel that a hero is somebody who will stand up for their values and what they believe in and that can take any form. People that have values and have thought them through rather than those who just do what they’re told."-Skandar Keynes

"When it’

I completely agree with your article, but I have to say, Fabulous is just a fun song and the point of the movie is to think of others instead of yourself. It shows how self absorbed Sharpay is and how she changes through the movie. But I definitely completely agree on how our youth is changing.

on Mar. 8 2010 at 9:12 pm
naturelover123 BRONZE, San Francisco, California
2 articles 0 photos 50 comments
Kids need to be carefree and like themselves for who they are. It seems like the media is telling them to grow up too fast these days and making them worry too much about looking hot.

Vanessa C. said...
on Mar. 4 2010 at 8:08 pm
Oh please! Like you weren't obsessed with some show as a kid. Most kids are like that. I was obsessed with Rugrats and God knows that wasn't too educational. But I didn't grow up to be a brat like Angelica. My parents taught me better. Plus you're acting as though HSM doesn't have any type of morals. The last time I checked those movies have all been about coming together to accomplish a common goal and being true to your who you are. You can't take one part of a movie and blow it up into this horrible thing without looking at the whole context of it. That popular girl in the movie was acting so arrogant and bratty but later we see that acting that way doesn't get you the things that matter most. Like honest friends. I can agree with how shows like Big Bear in the Blue House can be helpful to a child growing up but t.v. is can only do so much . I think we should be more concerned about kids actually going outside to play and experience life lessons on their own. And yes the "dive in" underwear were ridiculously inappropriate but no kid would know what that even means! Just because they sold underwear like that doesn't make the kids obsessed. It just makes the Disney corporation obsessed with making as much money as they can and making the hype level be high for the movie. Yes Disney shows are stupid but saying kids are getting brainwashed by them is even more stupid. Looking back I watched plenty of stupid shows but it's apart of childhood. But I think it's up to parents to teach their kids right from wrong, like mine did.

on Mar. 3 2010 at 10:38 pm
NightBella BRONZE, Sunland, California
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
I sit in the light to make the dark a little darker.

What about them getting obsessed? Which all kids really have become crazed with HSM, and Hannah Montana. I mean really, HSM underwear? Saying "dive in"? Can't get more obsessed than that. What ever happened to Bear in the Big Blue House and I know everyone hates it now, but I learned a lot from Barney and Out of the Box. Kids have been brainwashed by disney channel's stupid shows that don't teach anything. All about being cool and fashionable and falling in love.

Vanessa C. said...
on Mar. 2 2010 at 5:16 pm
I'm not trashing the article I just disagree with the fact that by watching Hannah Montana or any other Disney program that someone's kid won't be able to discern the difference between real life and t.v. Why is it so surprising that kids understand that cartoons aren't real? Most kids learn that from a early age from picture books. So why wouldn't they know a sitcom isn't real? I think the real problem is that people are so afraid of traumatizing their kids mind they get too overprotective of harmless things. You have to give kids credit.

Annirae BRONZE said...
on Mar. 1 2010 at 8:21 pm
Annirae BRONZE, Shoreline, Washington
1 article 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
-Oscar Wilde

I think you did a really awesome job stating your opinion while still staying cool, calm, and collected and not throwing all the blame on one person or at one thing. I totally agree with you, although this has been happening for ages.

on Mar. 1 2010 at 5:57 pm
Lost-In-Life GOLD, Whitby, Other
11 articles 0 photos 299 comments

Favorite Quote:
It's never to late, if it weren't for the last minute many things would never get done!

Oh... I wish I were a kid. I am a young teen so it's close, but it's not the same as being the young innocent carefree child I used to be. However when you tell kids things like that about enjoying your childhood, by being a child they scoff. This makes me sad. Wonderful article.

on Mar. 1 2010 at 3:47 pm
NightBella BRONZE, Sunland, California
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
I sit in the light to make the dark a little darker.

Its plenty wrong for kids to sit in front of the TV period! I don't think you should be saying thats its fine to watch High School Musical and Hannah Montana and saying its stupid for kids to watch cartoons. Kids today surprisingly understand that a cartoon isn't real, but they think that Miley Cyrus's life is real. I really think you should give this article some more thought before you trash it down.

on Feb. 7 2010 at 7:36 pm
VitaminC BRONZE, Fort Worth, Texas
1 article 0 photos 4 comments
I think your wrong in saying that Disney Channel stars are influencing how fast children are growing up. I mean really? Just because girls like to sing "High School Musical 2" songs about having fabulous things doesn't necessarily mean they're going to grow up to be bratty tyrants expecting things. Honestly its up to someone's parents to teach them fact from fiction. What's so wrong with girls having a little girly fun. Besides there's plenty wrong with sitting your kid in front of sponge bob all day.

billydee22ny said...
on Feb. 7 2010 at 3:36 pm
billydee22ny, Middletown, Maryland
0 articles 6 photos 21 comments
everything that you said is 100% true. thank you so much for putting this out there for people to read.

on Feb. 7 2010 at 1:42 pm
Lucky.Deviant SILVER, Park City, Utah
6 articles 6 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We all know the people that walk the halls, we all know their in this fight to be the best in life with us, so why to we snare at them, glare, and pass them by without even a friendly smile that says; I'm here for you, we'll be alright." -Myself

This generation is fogetting their childhood. it's making me sad to think about what they'll say if someone asks them what the best part of their childhood was....

on Feb. 7 2010 at 11:42 am
spinningskies BRONZE, Snohomish, Washington
1 article 5 photos 9 comments
I AGREE WITH YOU! If Walt Disney saw what Disney had become, he would cry.

on Feb. 7 2010 at 9:00 am
lilmissravenclaw SILVER, Warrenton, Virginia
5 articles 0 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas. -Marie Curie

Well, are you old enough to know not to act like that? little girls are getting the impression that they are real life princesses and they can grow up and go on diets at a young age. This world is really changing, and if Walt Disney was still around, we would have more stuffed animals and movies, and less "Dive in" underwear. Good job writing the article!

on Jan. 25 2010 at 6:43 pm
lily1411 BRONZE, Fargo, North Dakota
2 articles 0 photos 69 comments

Favorite Quote:
Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it.

--Benjamin Franklin

You don't know how many of my friends (and me!) agree with all of what you just said.

ftsk... said...
on Jan. 23 2010 at 2:53 pm
ftsk..., Newport Beach, California
0 articles 0 photos 18 comments
I agree. everything has changed. When I was little I watched shows like spongebob,cat and dog...and movies like the fox and the hound but now I see kids watching family guy,south park. I have towo brothers one is seven and the other is ten and since they began to watch those shows they started saying all of these bad words that I'm not even allowed to say and when I hear them I just shake my head and feel disgusted. But I guess it's not really their fault it's their parents fault they're the ones who let them watch those shows. anyway nice article!!

on Jan. 20 2010 at 6:00 pm
alwayssunshine PLATINUM, Charlotte, North Carolina
24 articles 5 photos 147 comments
Moving article! Excellent job. You're so right. It's not like when I was younger and people were into Disney princesses, now it's all hip hop and rock stars. Why is it that little kids are pressured to grow up?

on Jan. 16 2010 at 10:11 pm
dragonbiscuits SILVER, Near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
7 articles 1 photo 53 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You cannot acheive peace with violence" -several people

Okay, I agree with this article. But, Brooke V., there is a difference between a pole dancer and a hippie. I think it is pretty obvious what a pole dancer stands for, and that is not what hippies were all about. Sure, they were/are for free sex and tend to use drugs, but they are also for peace and happiness, and were not ones to dress a certain way to be sexy . So get your facts straight.

on Jan. 16 2010 at 8:17 pm
this is totaly true , i have a 5 year old sister and im wondering whats gonna happen to her When shes gets into her teens and and then she goes off and dose something she will regret like get pregnate or some thing WAY worse !

on Jan. 16 2010 at 4:14 am
xAllegria BRONZE, Singapore, Other
1 article 2 photos 112 comments

Favorite Quote:
Ça fait tellement du bien d’aimer les gens qu’on aime, que ça finit par faire mal. Je sais pas comment on survit a ça. Non franchement, je sais pas. LOL (laughing out loud) ®, Lola.

Ah, the good ole days when Mickey was our role model... :D