As long as magazines popularize stereotypes, one cannot speak about building a healthy and strong society, where people can freely express themselves. This is something one can learn from analysis of effects and stereotypes present in magazines for young adults. Through the research, I have learned a lot about stereotyping in magazines and their effects on young people. I have realized that many magazines emphasize the stereotypes on purpose, in order to make young people act in a certain way. This way, teenagers will be all alike, and it will be easier to work with such an audience. Nevertheless, such an approach is not right, since people should be able to express their uniqueness from the young age, and magazines have to help them in such a task.
Magazines are usually gender-stereotyped, which can be seen with the research provided. This emphasis on gender affects young adults greatly, since from the very young age they learn the main stereotypes and expectations for people who represent different genders. Stereotypes are usually rather primitive. For example, the main emphasis of gender stereotypes in magazines for girls is on beauty and sexual appeal. One can confidently claim that it is not enough in the modern world. A girl is not a Barbie doll that has to look in a certain way, in order to attract people’s attention. A young girl has to develop her intellect and interpersonal skills, in order to be successful. Hence, in society nowadays a woman starting from a teenage girl can be anything she wants to be as long as she is willing to put an effort into it.
The same is with boys and their portrayal in the magazines. Boys who read the magazines for teenagers get a sense of what a real man should be. They are often imposed to masculine stereotypes which tell that “real men” should be emotionless and careless. Such stereotypes also dictate wrong perspectives on girls, and boys who believe these ideas and, consequently, often behave in a wrong way. Nevertheless, just like with girls’ example, masculinity should not be the main idea among teenage boys. They have to understand that behavior cannot be determined by mere stereotypes, and that boys do not necessarily have to look like those on the covers of magazines. Boys have to be able to see beyond the stereotypes and act according to their personalities, instead of following magazines’ guidelines.
Research has shown that magazines affect teenagers greatly by creating certain expectations and behavior clichés which teenagers follow. Thus, magazines’ effects are mostly connected with determining behavior of young people. They act in the way magazines encourage them to act, and since this behavior is often stereotyped, teenagers may lose their unique personalities and confidence. Nevertheless, research has also shown that not all of the effects magazines have on teenagers are negative. Magazines are also an important part of the socialization process, since young people learn about relations and interpersonal communication through them as well. Hence, magazines can be also used as helpers because teenagers may find interesting and valuable information in them, which they may not be able to find anywhere else. Psychologists work with teenage magazines, and young readers can ask them questions which concern them.
Research has allowed me to draw certain implications for the “real world”, since it has explained a lot about the reasons for young people acting the way they do. As it was mentioned before, teenagers were often acting stereotypically because they were following magazines’ guidelines. The strange thing about modern society is the ambiguity of it. Although young girls are encouraged to act the way they want, they are also exposed to many expectations and stereotypes, which are mirrored in the magazines. Hence, one can say that magazines are the mirrors of the modern society. They show the ideas which are widespread in the society, and they popularize them even more, making them even more common and leaving no room for an alternative. One can say that because of that teenagers are exposed to double pressure. They feel like they have to follow the stereotypes in the magazines, but they also feel that they have to break free and pursue their uniqueness. Hence, young people are often struggling to find the best options for themselves, but they are not always able to. “Real world” implications mean that young people become products of the content found in teenage magazines, and that is something that has a lasting effect on the future, since young people evolve, depending on this content.
These implications and overall analysis show that this topic can be further explored, since there are many dimensions to it. The topic one may be the most interested in, is the analysis of the ways in which magazines’ negative effects can be reduced. It should be combined with analysis of how magazines should produce more positive influence. For example, it is important to research how magazines’ content has to be changed, in order to affect teenagers in a different way. This topic needs to be further explored in order to see what is missing in the writing found in the teenage magazines. The reasons for magazines having such a big influence should also be analyzed. All of these avenues can be combined into one topic, since they intersect a lot. This is something I would be interested in researching further because I believe that this topic has a big practical meaning, and can be used in future societal studies .I would like to research ways in which the current situation can be changed, in order to develop a practical plan for such a change.
Teenagers as a future of the nation are a promising generation, which should be able to grow and develop the way they want without feeling pressured or obliged to act against their personalities. Hence, magazines for teenage people have to take these things into consideration. They have to focus on encouraging young people to express themselves and explore their talents instead of being stuck up on routine and stereotypical behavior. That is why it is important to further research magazines, their effects, and ways to change them. There is nothing wrong with reading teenage magazines, learning and relating to the content; but, at the same time, the content should be helping teenagers evolve, not stick to the standards.
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