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Teen films emerged into popular culture, developing into a full-fledged genre since the 1950’s cinematically representing to the world through the crucial and bumpy passage from adolescence to adulthood. Finding its literary equivalent in the bildungsroman, teen movies target not only an exclusive audience of teens but also adults who have had similar coming-of-age experiences. The authors would usually highlight the struggles of a young person in search of their place in the society and in the world. In this genre, one can distinctly trace the development and maturity of characterization from childhood to adulthood, often contending with cruel adversities of life and the challenge of belonging. The unique influence of the teen movie simultaneously impacts and reflects popular culture, while raising consciousness of social issues affecting teens such as self-esteem, suicide, anorexia/bulimia, drugs, and sexually transmitted diseases. At the same time, teen movies tend to glorify resistance to authority, bacchanalian parties, liberated sexuality, and the fight for power among peers.
The rise of this sub-culture has triggered organizations to censor the material shown in order to control the populations of youth which become espouse the values that are projected in the movies. Examining the life of the American teenager, one concludes that the teenage movie often idealizes this coming of age where the teenage protagonist often searches for acceptance with the family and school spheres. As a result of the vast popularity of the teen movie, connected businesses have rushed to capitalize on the advertisement of food, fashion, and music.
An article, “Mean Girls-Realities of Relational Aggression” concentrates on the types of aggression or bullying that teen movies often depict. Among females two types of relational attitudes reign: the proactive and reactive aggression. Features of relational aggression comprise of active exclusion, intimidation, and manipulation while the ulterior motives for this behavior is usually attributed to fear of isolation, power struggle, desire for popularity, and insecurity. Taking place usually in the school environment different stock characters emerge and are classed according to the hierarchy of social power and self-esteem such as the queen, sidekick, gossip, floater, torn bystander, wannabe, and target. These characters strive in one way or another for acceptance to either dominate a group or get along with the crowd.
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