Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rebels vs. Angels

This isn't one of my fun posts. I've wanted to say this ever since I began blogging but I couldn't find the right words. This paragraphs in blue are from an Independent article posted back in 2009.

The portrayal of teenage boys as "yobs" in the media has made the boys wary of other teenagers, according to new research.

Figures show more than half of the stories about teenage boys in national and regional newspapers in the past year (4,374 out of 8,629) were about crime. The word most commonly used to describe them was "yobs" (591 times), followed by "thugs" (254 times), "sick" (119 times) and "feral" (96 times).
Other terms often used included "hoodie", "louts", "heartless", "evil" "frightening", "scum", "monsters", "inhuman" and "threatening".
Evil. Scum. Inhuman. Monsters. When we see those words describing anyone else-an ethnic minority, a religious group, a political organization-we cry afoul. We know these groups are being scapegoated, poor them. But youth is such a broad category. Every human being who lives past the age of twelve falls into it. And if you pass that mark, you can no longer call teenagers us. But it's not quite a them either. 
So it's thatThat time of life. That's the problem with society. That's what's wrong with teenagers these days. 
The research – commissioned by Women in Journalism – showed the best chance a teenager had of receiving sympathetic coverage was if they died.
"We found some news coverage where teen boys were described in glowing terms – 'model student', 'angel', 'altar boy' or 'every mother's perfect son'," the research concluded, "but sadly these were reserved for teenage boys who met a violent and untimely death."
At the same time a survey of nearly 1,000 teenage boys found 85 per cent believed newspapers portray them in a bad light.
The only good teenager is a dead one, or at least a sweet little honors student with cancer. Honors student. Every mother's perfect son. We're viewed through the eyes of adults. You can be a school shooter or an Eagle Scout. Take your pick.
But wait! You've seen other articles, right? The ones about high school football games. I can't slam those as negative. 
"Stories about sport and entertainment, which might have balanced other negative coverage, also took a critical line. Only 16 per cent of stories about teens and entertainment were positive: only 24 per cent about teens and sport were positive."
The research found that – for all the coverage of teenage issues – the boys' voices themselves were rarely heard in newspapers. Fewer than one in 10 articles about young people actually quoted young people or included their perspectives in the debate.
Articles about education cite lawmakers, teachers, principals, and voters. But not the students themselves. Even the Sick Teen articles quote parents and doctors. 
Fiona Bawden, the WiJ committee member who presented the research at the British Library, said: "When a photo of a group of perfectly ordinary lads standing around wearing hooded tops has become visual shorthand for urban menace, or even the breakdown of society, it's clear teenage boys have a serious image problem."

 It's true. I have no behind-the-clipboard statistics to back it up, but I know it because I see it every day in high school. I've heard my own friends echo these feelings. We know we're inferior. You've done your job, media. Now feel free to shut up.
It's not just Britain and it's not just the boys. It's all of us, all of us, today, yesterday, and forever.

Go here for the full article.

No comments:

Post a Comment