Kids These Days: A Visual Comparison

Canadian_High_Schoolers

Webgirl

Average_Adolescents

Wealthy_Teens

Everygirl

Supernatural

Further Reading: 

So Sexy, So Soon

How Fantasy Becomes Reality: Seeing Through Media Influence

Pornified: How Pornography is Damaging Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families

3 responses to “Kids These Days: A Visual Comparison

  1. My Aunt Eileen could have posted this in 1996, swapping the 1996 photos for 1966. Those shorts on that girl in the leather jacket? Those wouldn’t fly with my Aunt Eileen. Even with the leggings the shape of her legs, halfway up her thighs, is in plain view. Scandalous. I don’t harbor any illusions about the kind of kid I was, the kind of kids my friends were, in the 90s and early 00s. We were, compared to kids before us, more provocative in our dress and looser in our interactions. Skirts got shorter, leggings as pants briefly became a ‘thing,’ and young men everywhere exposed their undergarments as a fashion statement. Nobody I knew matched up to the 90210 ‘kids,’ who were still very provocative for their time. If you want to make a point about the continued (not just recently began once you finished adolescence) sexualization of marketing to teenagers, you’re going to need to start way, way, WAY earlier than 1991.

    • Styles have been getting more and less revealing since Eve tore down that first fig leaf (and Clarissa had a much racier ensemble in the opening credits, with a midriff top and heeled boots.) I did not really assert any point at all, just presented some visual information that related to sociological texts. The kids I sub at the local high school often wear much more than the kids at my early 00s high school did. What is more interesting to me is that the kids from the 90s and early aughts shows look like people I might actually have known. Real kids and teenagers (except for the middle-aged high schoolers of 90210.) The “kids” on similar shows now are adults wearing cocktail dresses and stripper heels to school, with their insanely polished cut-and-dye jobs, dental engineering, and designer duds. The kids just ten to twenty years ago were a somewhat relateable, attainable picture. Contrast that with the Photoshopping and fashion week ensemble on Victoria Justice. The industry standard for teens these days looks like no high school kid I’ve ever seen, and I see plenty of real-life teens on a daily basis. I didn’t go back further than the nineties because I was thinking about the images of young women I saw as a child versus the ones my nieces have been/are being presented with. I included shows that I watched with characters I held up as role models when I was as young as five years old, as well as including popular characters who my peers emulated in middle and high school.

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