Advertising and the Affect on Teens and Young Women

I found these videos called Killing Us Softly.  Everyone – old, young, male, female, needs to watch this series and understand advertising’s implications on our teens’ and young women’s self-esteem.

There are 4 videos and I’ve linked them below.  Personally, I’m sick of female objectification.  Everywhere we look, women are turned into nothing more than sexual objects. I cannot go to a movie without seeing T & A.  Heavens, I just watched the Wolf of Wallstreet and I couldn’t get over all the naked women and the way they were treated as if nothing more than whores.  I am irritated by sexual innuendos everywhere we turn, especially from the men who supposedly love us, as well as the use of disgusting words and phrases to describe our body parts.  It irritates me that men feel they are entitled to sex with their wives simply because there is a ring on the finger.  I’m disgusting by men who think ‘No’ means “Yes’.

I can say I grew up with these unrealistic expectations to be classy during the day but become a slut in bed.  All, save for but one man in my life, treated me like I should be a sex slave to them.  Shut up and put out.

This same message is coming across loud and clear in the advertising directed at our teen girls.  Padded bras for 7-year olds?  Yes, they’re out there.  3-year olds wearing makeup for pageants?  High heel shoes for babies?  What in the hell are we teaching our young girls?  Be innocent, demure and sexual and thin as a toothpick.  If you’re not these things, you’re disgusting and fat and no guy will ever like you.

What a horrible, horrible message to send to our young female youth.

I implore you to watch the entire series below and then make your own mind to help our young women empower themselves not with sexuality, but with self-esteem.

Please note, the use of the following media is protected under the Fair Use Clause of the US Copyright Act of 1976 which allows for rebroadcast of copyrighted materials for the purpose of commentary, criticism and education.

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Teen quotes: a list of insight

As part of research for my teen characters, I’ve cruised the internet looking for authentic teen conversations.  I’ve also been guilty of listening to teens at the mall or other public places so I can incorporate authenticity into my writing. Let’s face it.  The teen lingo now is far from what it was when I was growing up (I don’t think kids say, “don’t get your panties in a wad” anymore).

What follows is a list of 20 thoughts, ideas, tidbits of conversations I’ve gathered.  Not only does it serve as great fodder for my novels, but each one offers a unique perspective into the mind of a teen.  What follows may surprise you.

  1. I wish I had a button on my phone that will let me erase messages on other people’s phones that I’ve sent and regret very shortly after.
  2. We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
  3. The only way to make your own pain go away is to focus on the pain of others and one day you’ll wake up and realize that it doesn’t hurt so much.
  4. Mom, Dad, I’ll make you proud of me someday.  I promise.  Just give me some time.
  5. We all have that one person that whenever we get a message from them, we suddenly get that smile on our face and you can’t do anything to stop it.
  6. Teenagers are scared too much now. Why? We get judged for everything! We feel we can’t be ourselves because of what other people will think or say.
  7. Guys! I swear to God, you turn your back and they cheat. When you look at them, they say “I love you”. Don’t they get it? Girls aren’t freaking toys.
  8. My earphones are what set me free from all the bullshit.
  9. I am quite certain that given a nice guitar and a recording contract, I could save the world.
  10. Don’t waste your time on guys who don’t make your tummy tickle.  Stick to those who do.
  11. That moment while you’re secretly texting on your phone and you laugh so loud that the teacher takes your phone away.
  12. It’s funny how your parents say it’s their house but when it needs cleaning, it magically becomes yours.
  13. People say the sky is the limit but there are footprints on the moon.
  14. *low battery* *low battery* *low battery* Well apparently you have a enough battery to remind me about it every 2 seconds!
  15. Maybe all those fashionable clothes, and accessories are over-rated because you can’t pull them off.  You don’t have the swagger. Confidence is the best swag every girl should have.
  16. My mum thinks “LOL” means “Lots Of Love”. She texted me, “Your grandma had just died. LOL” …….
  17. “You’ve changed….” ” I didn’t change!? I just started making better decisions”
  18. I wish cancer got cancer and died…
  19. Math problems, the only place where someone can buy 60 watermelons and no one wonders why….
  20. Crying over a guy?  Nah.  Pick up your head, princess.  Your tiara is falling.

“Y” is for Youth

Ah, the essence of youth.  We are all obsessed with it.  When we were young adults, we wanted to be older.  Now that we’re older, we spend billions of dollars a year to look and feel younger.  We crave our youth and the flexibility in our bodies, the stamina we once had, the carefree ways we enjoyed.

When I was a teen, the world was different, but the problems were still the same as now. We  had the popular girls in school who got pregnant and had abortions.  We had the smokers in the bathrooms and the jocks that had all the girls.  There were evil teachers, fantastic teachers and those that couldn’t teach at all.  We had the jokesters and the druggies, the slackers and the bookworms.  The beautiful and the unattractive.  You were either popular or you weren’t.  Those were the two cliques.  Somehow, we muddled through the heartaches, the disappointments, the dates that went horribly wrong.  We clung to our achievements and moved on to college, jobs, marriages, and families.  Only after years of struggling for financial freedom, moving up in our jobs, placing careers before family, do we sit back and wonder why we didn’t hold onto our youth just a little longer.  Why were we in such a hurry to grow up?

I suppose that is the underlying reason I like to write YA.  It takes me back to a time I should have not been so anxious to leave.  Through writing, I can experience things I never experienced as a teen.  I can pretend to know what it feels like to be popular or pretty.  I wouldn’t trade the bookworm part because I think smart and pretty go really well together.  I could be more of a daredevil, a risk-taker.  I could be a bit rebellious, say “To hell with the world, I’m going to live!”  In writing YA, I can re-write any scenario to alter the tragedies of my youth.  I wouldn’t have to lose my father 2 weeks before my 12th birthday.  I wouldn’t have ‘Danny’ abandon me at the 10th grade dance to make out with and leave with a pretty cheerleader.  I wouldn’t be the ‘four-eyed geek’ of the school.

As a mom, I’ve lived and relived the trials and tribulations of youth with my four kids.  My oldest just graduated college, is a teacher and has a beautiful little girl.   My second will graduate in 2013 with her Master’s in costuming and plans to travel the world.  My third is floundering.  He’s 20.  He hasn’t found his niche’ and high school was a nightmare experience.  But he has a heart of gold and an amazing way of making people laugh and feel good. My fourth is seventeen and is so done with high school.  He has one more year to go.  He wants to join the Air Force and eventually get a job in computers.  He’s a video game junkie and an avid fantasy/dystopian reader who loves the military channel.

Each one of them has had their struggles as young adults and each one will tell you they’re glad it’s over or will be over.  They will each tell you they would never do it again, that being a teen was too hard and there were too many bad memories to outweigh the good ones.  I hope I’m around when they get to be my age and wish, for just a moment, they could go back to a simpler place in time where muscles didn’t ache, stamina was abundant, there was no illness and moms and dads were still around to kiss and hug the boo boo’s away.

To youth…I salute you.  I wish I hadn’t been so anxious to leave you behind.  Thanks for the memories, both good and bad.  They’re all fodder for future books.  Now to just write them all down.

My loving message to teens

As a lot of you know, I’m a Wizard101 fanatic.  I like this game for several reasons: (1) the game centers around a school of wizardry.  Harry Potterish – yes, but the game is quite different.  (2) I have met some really interesting people, both young and old, on this game, two of which turned out to be aspiring authors, and (3) I get to participate in a lot of online discussions with young people and teens (yes, they know I’m a parent).

Late last night I was playing the game when another player joined in a battle I was in.  After we chatted for a while, moving from one level to the next in a dungeon, she said she was a teen, and then decided to tell me she was very, very angry with her mom because her mom snooped in her room and found some pot.   Her mom also went through some other things in her room and took some things away.  She couldn’t get over the fact that her mom was so disrespectful of her privacy and it wasn’t like she was “doing crack or something.”

I offered my ‘ear’ and listened, but gave no advice.  You have to be careful in these online games.  However, it got me thinking after I logged off.  Part of me sympathized with her.  I remember times as a teen feeling angry at my mom for reading my diary and going through my things, especially since I was a ‘good girl’.  I didn’t smoke, drink, sneak out of the house.  I was an honor roll kid, polite, a member of Who’s Who Among American High School Students.  I was a goody two shoes.  In that sense, I could relate to this poor girl’s feelings of betrayal.  There should be a room in a home where kids can go and feel safe, that their things are their things.

But then the mom in me kicked in.  Her mom was probably worried, scared.  She probably noticed a change in her daughter that she couldn’t pin point.  Maybe her mom tried to talk to her and the daughter withdrew.  Maybe there was a horrible relationship there to begin with.  Maybe, mom is just a snoop and wanted to know everything and anything going on in her daughter’s life.

My mom told me once:

“You live in my house. You have no privacy.”

That always stuck with me.  “You live in my house.”  To a teen, that one word ‘my’ can make one feel so isolated, like a visitor in your own home.  I remember thinking then, “I thought this was our home.”  Sad thing is, I’ve said the same thing to my kids, but I digress.

To the young girl online and to all other teens, please listen up.  Parents aren’t perfect.  We make mistakes.  We say things perhaps we shouldn’t say, but there is one thing that holds steady for 99% of us – we love you.  We care about you and what happens to you.  Sometimes we have to rely on our gut instincts, especially if our kids aren’t honest and opening up to us.  Don’t get me wrong.  I totally get it.  I was a teen once, too.  That’s why you as a teen are at such a disadvantage.  You can’t see both sides of the coin.  While it may make you angry that your parents snoop and interfere, try to imagine your life with parents who didn’t care what you did or where you went or who you went with.  Love makes us do some extreme things.  Our only thoughts are to keep you safe.  And while we know we can’t protect you from everything, that doesn’t stop us from trying.

As for the pot:  I’m not going to preach.  I’d be a liar to say I didn’t try it when I got older.  I can’t tell you I didn’t get involved with the wrong crowd in my early 20s.  I can’t say I didn’t do other drugs I wish I hadn’t done.  There was a time in my life I felt so alone, like there was no way out.  A time when I felt no one loved me or needed me.  A time when I wanted to forget…to not feel the pain.

But I was wrong.  Oh, God, how I was wrong.  To all you precious, unique and beautiful teens…you may think pot is okay, but it’s not.  It’s a band aid, sweetheart.  Getting high, whether with drugs or alcohol, is not the answer.  I know.  I’ve been there.  If you can’t talk to your parents about what’s bugging you, find someone you can talk to.  Drugs aren’t the answer.  Believe me.  Someday you’ll meet someone who cares about you and loves you, and someday you will have children of your own.  Someday, you’ll understand what it means to love someone so much that you would lay down your life to protect him or her.  That’s the life of a parent. That’s the pain we live with every day.  We worry. We love.  We care.

Please, don’t be angry for our interfering.  Instead, be thankful you have someone who loves you enough to interfere.  You are blessed more than you know.  I wish you all the best.  (((hugs))).