Gossip Girl: The Commercialization and Corruption of our youth

Nicole Fasciano

Hey Merrimack readers, this is your one and only source into the scandalous lives of our youth to date, well not so scandalous but you get the point. Gossip Girl is one of television and Netflix bingers most beloved show of all time. The show’s influential display of its upper east side cast, and the lifestyle of Manhattan’s elite not only shows the many side`s of the glorious rich, but also captivates and persuades the minds of youthful viewers. Growing up in a time where money is seemingly the be all and end all of an adolescents life, we try to fit in and conform to those around us. But where did this new standard for teenagers get set in place? The standard that possessing materialistic things and having our bodies covered head to toe in wealthy brands is the new norm for the average 16 year old. Well, I would say this new trend is encouraged by Gossip Girl.

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The show’s ability to exhibit luxury items in almost every episode, and put a hyper focus on having the most expensive items without a second thought, is translated through the lead characters of Blair and Serena. Blair herself addresses that her mother always told her, “Fashion knows not of comfort. All that matters is the face you show the world.” This line is a reference to the common phrase, “Pain is beauty.” Despite the fact that this was said, doesn’t this ideology go against what we have tried to teach young girls and boys about self image? Sadly, I find that with the show’s ongoing emphasis that the rich lifestyle is the better lifestyle, it is causing viewers to seek nothing less than the standards of Manhattan’s elite.

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Nowadays, with the help of social media influences and Instagram famous accounts, brands are not only able to promote and sell their high end materials right through the app, but are also able to show what it’s like to wear the clothes, while also creating an association in viewers minds that if you wear/buy the clothes on Insta famous individuals, then you’ll be famous too! Seemingly enough, that is not the reality of the situation. What is reality though is that the promotional strategies of these high end brands are to target young kids and teens throughout the entire day. From seeing it on their phones, to promotional ads on T.V it has become a never ending visual reinforcement that having such items will surely give you the lifestyle displayed through the media.

In corroboration, our societies ever growing problem revolving around body image and self acceptance is only getting worse due to the constant need to fit in and be apart of the up and coming trends that are being displayed through the media and their influencers. Whether this may be from shows like Gossip Girl, or famous accounts on Instagram, these influential mediums are reciprocating messages to teens that one must be skinny, blonde and blue eyed to be accepted. An article posted by the commonly known skincare line of Dove, writer Jess Weiner, Dove Global Self-Esteem Expert, writes on the current body image issue and how social media is the problem. Social media and body image – Dove Self-Esteem Project. Weiner emphasizes how social media has truly created a strong platform for our youth to develop disordered thoughts and actions about self body image which results in poor self esteem overall.

All things aside, I love Gossip Girl and praise the many dramatical plots and twists that it brings to the table. I truly do not have a bad thing to say about the show because it’s constantly drawing me back in for more binge worthy times. Nevertheless, I believe that the show has had one of the biggest impacts on teenagers to date. Whether it was intentional by the producers or not. I believe that the show has commercialized and corrupted my generation, and potentially those to come, in relation to body image and feeling the constant necessity to fit in, only while wearing the best brands. As blatant as that statement may be, for me it’s the truth. The way in which I have seen those around me strive for materialistic things and nothing less has made me question things we learned early on in life. Despite the fact that beauty is from within, and although that may be true, in the eyes of a 16 year old girl, it is what you present to the world that matters.

Xoxo,

Our teenage youth.

 

5 thoughts on “Gossip Girl: The Commercialization and Corruption of our youth

  1. What is interesting to think about is the fact that this show is not necessarily new. It came out many years ago and left the air a while back. But even though this show aired a while ago the themes they had shown are still relevant, one might say even more relevant now. I remember when I used to watch this show live, it would only be one friend and me who could talk about the show because no one else watched it. I agree with what you said about how this has become very popular and people turn to Netflix to binge watch it. It seems like one of Netflix’s top teen shows and everyone I ask for recommendations mentions this show. I wonder if the trends of appearances, money, clothes, and, lavish lifestyles have not changed when take a look at “Gossip Girl” and compare it today or if they have actually increased since then? You could watch this show today and it is still relevant, I wonder if in a couple of years it will still be as relevant. The only way you could notice that we are in a different time is the cell phones shown and the background music playing in the episodes.

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  2. Michaela Pounds-
    I myself have binge watched seasons of Gossip Girl throughout high school and always enjoyed the drama on the show along with the relationship and love between Chuck and Blair. I think part of the reason why this show is so popular is because most people do not live the lifestyle that the show exhibits. Most people cannot afford to go to a wealthy New York City private school and to have expensive maids and butlers in their homes. Most children do not have a father who is as rich as Bart Bass. So while I do think that viewers of this show may be attracted to it for its glamrous lifestyle, I do not think the show has a large influence on young girls because most young girls simply can’t afford to live the way the characters do, and the show is mostly a fantasy world to many people. There are some real elements on this show though, many people do not have great relationships with their parents and deal with problems with their significant others, but in circumstances much different than Gossip Girl.

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  3. Meaghan Hudson- In High School I was a binge watcher of Gossip Girl and always somewhat idolized their lives because of how much luxury the teens had in their life. I think that it is super interesting how you connected that to people’s lives today because I do agree so much with how social media has people trying to beef up their lives or at least make it look like so. I feel like there has been such a recent influx in those social media influencers that you pointed out about and also (especially with girls) this need to post everything on social media for likes and to make them look like they are living this lavish lifestyle. In reading your blog post it definitely made me think about this idea in watching Gossip Girl as well. Its funny how in watching the show everyone wishes they were like those girls at Constance school but now it appears that more and more girls are trying their best to catch up to that kind of lifestyle. Overall, I thought your writing was really good and made me definitely think about this in watching Gossip Girl.

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  4. Chantalle Dumont-

    Also watching Gossip Girl from start to finish, I fully agree with your post. The cast of Gossip Girl live in a glamorous and fashionable lifestyle. Living in the Upper East Side, the culture is snobby and it’s extremely important to fit in. They focus is on always looking good. This show attracts many teenagers and when they see a show that is only representing the drama and high end life style, they are going to think that this is the lifestyle they need as well. I think the show is a great drama and the high end lifestyle is definitely emphasized.

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  5. Nicole Bruso

    I remember walking into class one day dressed nicely and a classmate told me I looked like I came “straight out of Gossip Girl.” I hadn’t seen the show and ask her what that had meant. She told me that the characters on that show were always nicely dressed. I appreciated her compliment, but in the back of my head I felt that maybe I should dress in the same manner every day. Just simple comments and what society promotes towards us can affect the way we present ourselves. Brands have constantly targeted young teens in their ad campaigns in order to get them to buy their clothes. While I don’t mind brands promoting fashion, I do mind when society pressures people into having a certain body type. People are constantly pressured into being “skinny,” “thick,” or “curvy.” Rather than promoting “ideal” body types, society should be promoting healthy lifestyles. While clothing is can be fun, having a constant concern for one’s own body type is not. Seeing the fashion on Gossip Girl can be fun to watch, but I hope they do not belittle anyone who does not “fit the standards” of society.

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