Beyond The Acting

Teen sexuality is highly prevalent in today’s mainstream movies . When examined in the article The Effects of Viewing R-rated Movie Scenes That Objectify Women on Perceptions of Date Rape, “Some research suggests that viewing images of women depicted in a degrading manner may have immediate consequences on the way individuals view their environment” (Michael Milburn 5). Females being portrayed in a degrading manner, such as male dominance in films and “barely-there” clothes create a stereotype about teen girls. A stereotype that says it is okay to disregard women’s feelings and even rights in some sense. When teen girls see pictures of women being degraded it becomes normal at some point and almost okay. When teen girls begin to accept the portrayal of them in such a way, then so will the people around them. For example, in the movie Thirteen, the good girl goes bad and falls in with the wrong crowd. She first recognizes that her peers are dressed proactively and notices that the sexual acts they are engaging in are beyond what they should be at the age of thirteen. She then wants to be “cool” and begins accepting these behaviors. Once she accepts these, her peers begin to do the same and treat her as if she is a piece of meat.

When teenagers, girls and boys alike, it seems as though teen boys are the most vulnerable when it comes to accepting and believing these stereotypes to be accurate. Movies create broad stereotypes for some teenage girls and it often can result in confusion about how they should act or wondering why they are not like the girls they see. Also stated in the article, this gives off the idea, “that women’s primary value is for sex” (5). Gender constructions in media, especially in movies easily sway young teens and encourage the stereotypes being constructed.

In the movie Mean Girls, Cady brings the impression of being a sweet innocent transfer student from Africa. By the end of the movie she turns into a “mean girl” due to the influences of the popular, “perfectly” sculpted bodies of her friends and a boy completely change who she was. The girls dressed in mini skirts, heels and showing lots of skin draw attention of peers, setting an example that teens should dress scandalously to be noticed. Casual hookups and people cheating on one another takes up much of the dialogue and conversations had in the movie showing that it is normative in teen culture. The gender construction in this movie tells teen girls they should or should have the desire to look and dress like the girls in this movie in order to be able to attract any guy.

According to the article The Changing Portrayal of Adolescents in the Media Since 1950, “In popular movies, sex is a young person’s game” (Daniel Romer). This statement goes right along with the movie Mean Girls; getting the boy to like both of the main characters as a game while playing against one another. Cady tries so hard to make sure that Aaron catches Regina cheating on him so that she can have Aaron for herself. This all done for the attraction of boy and continues to be the main focus throughout the movie, to make sure that someone gets the guy no matter what the consequences. Morals, beliefs, values seem to be easily ignored and pushed aside.

From Innocent to Mean Girl


The idea of a “double standard” is also looked at when it comes to boys and girls and teen sexuality. It seems as though boys get rewarded and it comes across as a acceptable when a boy sleeps with multiple girls.Whereas, when girls do the exact same thing it is highly frowned upon. A boy getting away with promiscuity is the norm, but when it comes to a girl it is a completely different story. Girls get stereotyped for being “slutty”, while guys get stereotyped for being a “player”, which seems to be a desired stereotype for guys. Not to say that girls should be praised for being frequently sexually active or vice versa, it just goes to show that gender stereotypes and gender construction exist in the teen setting.

Works Cited:

Jamieson, Patrick E., Eian More, Susan S. Lee, Peter Busse, and Daniel Romer. "It
Matters What Young People Watch." The Changing Portrayal of Adolescents in the Media Since 1950. Oxford UP, 2008. Web. 01 Nov. 2010.

Milburn, Michael A., Roxanne Mather, and Sheree D. Conrad. "The Effects of Viewing
R-rated Movie Scenes That Objectify Women on Perceptions of Date Rape." Sex Roles. Vol. 43. Boston, 2000. 5. Chinook University Libraries. University of Colorado at Boulder, 27 Feb. 2001. Web. 01 Nov. 2010. < language=eng&searchpage=simple&searchtype=simple&accountid=ucolo&accountpassword=ucolo&pagelimit=1 0&searchindex=%3ATITLE&searchterm=The+Effects+of+Viewing+R- rated+Movie+Scenes+That+Objectify+Women+on+Perceptions+of+Date+Rape&target=Default&submit.x=0&s ubmit.y=0&submit=Search>.

Photograph. Jessica Valenti. By Jessica Valenti. 2009. Web. 1 Dec. 2010. <’s-a-stud-she’s-a-slut/>.

Allee A.