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.
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.
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.
Our teenage youth.