how teenage girls are affected in the media


In summary,the stereotypes that are used to represent teenage girls within the media are generally over used and untrue but can still affect teenage girls in the real world majorly.  The stereotypes that are most commonly used among the representation of teenage girls are their overall physical appearance to match their personality and social standards, much like Regina George or Tina Belcher who are very different in their personalities which I believe has affected their physical appearance due to the representation of teenage girls in the media.  The stereotypes used to portray different girls within the media, whether it be in a film, a TV show or a magazine can majorly affect teenage girls as they can become insecure with themselves, doubting their social status and wondering if anyone actually likes them or if they are maintaining societies expectations for woman’s beauty standards as well as their body being skinny enough.  So many insecurities come from the media, and can affect girls both mentally and physically, both of which can still remain with them in the future.  Around 90% of people with anorexia are female’s and this can start at as young as the age of eight.  The media is able to easily reach anyone of any age and is able to affect how they think through the representations of different groups and individuals with in society.  Stereotypes are affecting us directly and those around us, and can seriously affect our way of thinking.  We may begin to view others differently and see ourselves differently due to how the stereotypes that may apply to us are represented in the media.  Things like this have seriously affected our world both past and present because of how stereotypes have been represented in different types of media, whether it be on TV, on the internet, in magazines and news papers it all reaches us and affects us in some way.  I have been able to see the major affects that the media have had on teenage girls due to how we have been represented in the media for so many years and I can now recognize the misrepresentations and over used stereotypes easily.


Seventeen Magazine

Seventeen Magazine is a fashion/beauty/advice magazine which is read by teenage girls all across the globe.  The magazine is made in America and is mainly read by 10-17 year old girls and it reaches over 12 million readers every month.  It was first published so it could inspire teenage girls to become ‘model workers and citizens’.  But shortly after this the magazine became much more romantic and more of a fashion magazine but it was still “promoting self-confidence in young women”.

In Seventeen Magazine teenage girls are represented as always being tall and skinny with nice hair, perfect skin and professionally done makeup.  However this is a misrepresentation of teenage girls completely as teenage girls do not all look like the models and celebrities used on the covers and in the articles of Seventeen Magazine.


From most of the magazine covers I have seen, just by searching ‘Seventeen Magazine’ and viewing the images, I was able to notice that the magazine had a particular theme going on which was mainly how to make your body look “better” and how to look much nicer with their “amazing beauty tips”.  This is advertised on the magazine by fraise’s like “get your best body now!” and “get your hottest body!” and of course they have a skinny, pretty girl on the cover so teenage girls can think that if they follow seventeen magazines steps to getting their “best bikini body” they may also look like these pretty models and celebrities on the covers of the magazines.  Also their beauty tips on how to look better for a particular season, event or just everyday are generally advertised on their magazines just as much as the articles on how to get a better body.  These beauty tips are usually to do with makeup, hair and how to have better skin.  You can see articles like this in almost every single issue of Seventeen Magazine, and of course you can see articles like this in many other magazines that are directed towards the audience of teenage girls.


In this particular issue of Seventeen Magazine we can see in very large, bold letters “Get An Insane Body, It’s Hard, But You’ll Look Hot!” which is something we can see on most issues of a Seventeen Magazine.  However in very small text just above this statement, we can see how the actress and model Troian Bellisario was struggling with an eating disorder which almost ruined her life.  In the article Torian stated that she would not eat as a punishment if she didn’t do that well in school that day, this is an example of how girls can be affected by the media so terribly.  They are told they must have the perfect body, that they must be smart and do well in school, that they must maintain societies idea of beauty while still being healthy and happy.  Seventeen Magazine is promoting Torain’s story in order for teenage girls to see that everyone goes through what they may be going through and use her as an example of how you can recover from things like eating disorder’s or mental health issues.  However by putting “Get An Insane Body” right next to the caption about Torian, but putting it in bolder letters and making it much more eye-catching seems as though the magazine is making loosing weight and having a good body before the consequences that over working and starving your body can have on you both mentally and physically.  According to around 90% of American’s with eating disorders are female and around 5% of teenage girls are suffering from anorexia today.  This shows how much teenage girls can be affected by just being insecure with their bodies, and many of the reasons of their insecurities can come from magazines like Seventeen Magazine which are constantly saying how important it is to lose weight and are promoting weight loss in nearly every single issue of their magazine, and because their audience is mainly girls aged 10-17 every girl could be affected by what this magazine is saying as Anorexia can start with girls as young as eight years old and can affect them for the rest of their lives.


The affect that the messages in Seventeen Magazine have can affect girls majorly.  The idea that Seventeen Magazine says that girls must never get tagged in the same outfit twice and how they are constantly sporting weight loss ideas, how to get clear skin and how to have nice hair on their front covers along with a pretty photoshopped celebrity that many teen girls are going to look up to can make teenage girls think that in order to be just like the girl on the cover they have to follow seventeen magazines advice.  However this has a majorly negative affect on teen girls well-being which I have stated earlier.  They may over work their bodies and not eat enough food and this can result in teen girls being extremely sick due to the media constantly sharing weight loss ideas and saying things like “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, as well as celebrities endorsing weight loss products and websites telling women just how important it is to be skinny.  The pressures of society are always shown widely throughout the media and this has been affecting teen girls for years.  We are exposed to the ideas of women always having to maintain their beauty standards and thin figures from a very young age mainly through different types of media, including children’s movie’s and tv shows, books and many other sources of media.  From a young age girls are expected to be able to carry out these things and because no one will ever look as perfect as a photoshopped celebrity on the cover of a magazine, teen girls will often become insecure and then act upon these insecurities, trying to become societies idea of ‘perfect’.  Over half the population of 13 year old girls in America are insecure with their bodies, and by the age of 17 almost 80% of girls in America will be insecure with their body, this just proves that as we become older and become more exposed to different types of media we become more affected of the stereotypes and the representations shown within the media.

Seventeen magazine is the perfect example of how the media affects teenage girls both mentally and physically.  As a magazine full of only pictures and a few words this magazine has a huge impact on the well-being of millions of teenage girls as young as ten years old, and can show the negative affect that the media has on young girls.  Seventeen magazine mainly affects girls through always sporting titles about how to lose weight, how to have nice hair and skin and how to keep your makeup and clothes always look nice on their covers and in their magazine, which can make many girls very insecure if they cannot achieve what this magazine is saying they must do, and from their insecurities they can try to ‘improve’ themselves, but damage themselves mentally and physically in the process.

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Bob’s Burgers

How Teenage Girls Are Represented In The Media

The cartoon show ‘Bob’s Burgers’ is a show that includes many stereotypes of different people and individuals, however the stereotypes facing one of the main characters; Tina Belcher are some of the most typical.  Tina Belcher is a thirteen-year-old girl with a black bob cut, a fringe and thick glasses.  She is given typical stereotypes which all match her appearance, her gender, and her age, all of which are seen regularly throughout the show.

The representations of teenage girls vary within this show, but they are all very obvious stereotypes that are used widely throughout the media.  Two clear examples are the characters Tammy (Right) and Tina (Left).  Tammy is obviously represented as the popular girl and has many of the stereotypes that popular girls are thought to have, as well as just the stereotypes that teenage girls have in general.  Tammy has blonde hair, makeup and expensive and pink clothing, which seems to be the popular girl image coming through (much like the character of Regina George in Mean Girls).  She is constantly on her phone, which seems to be a stereotype that teenage girls are given in general.  She also constantly pressures Tina into doing things, like trying to get Tina to change her image or getting Tina to do things just so Tammy can be benefited.  Tina’s character is much different to Tammy’s however; she is represented as the ‘nerdy’ and ‘awkward’ character, this can be seen just by her appearance.  Her glasses alone stand for the typical ‘nerd’ stereotype and this can easily be a misrepresentation as not everyone with glasses is a ‘nerd’.  But besides this, Tina is always the one being pressured and occasionally bullied; this is an extremely common representation of the popular girl using her power to bully those who are not so popular or powerful.



Tina’s appearance is the typical ‘nerd’ look, she has thick glasses because of her poor eyesight, a bob cut and her outfit always consists of a skirt, shirt, sneakers and knee socks.  Although she is not thought to be the smartest character, she is given a very awkward personality and struggles socially; this is always shown throughout the show, as she is generally unable to respond to simple questions or situations around most people. Generally characters with the ‘nerdy’ appearance like Tina are represented as awkward, this can be seen in the film ‘High School Musical’ through the character of Kelsi and in the TV show ‘Awkward’ through the character of Jenna.  Because her appearance and personality seem to be so closely linked together much like how appearances and personalities generally are within the media, girls who look like Tina may view themselves like Tina, a girl who does not really fit in and is seen as being unpopular and not very well liked among her pairs.  This can have a serious affect on teenage girls self-esteem as the thought that people don’t actually like them that much could seriously hurt them emotionally and damage their self-esteem quite a lot.  However it is not just this cartoon that will affect them, it is the overall representation of girls that look like Tina within the media which will make the stereotype much more powerful and much more affective.

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Female’s- especially those in their teen years- are seen as boy crazed, flirty and always looking for a relationship among many other things.  Tina is represented as all of these, because despite her awkward personality it seems as though she manages to flirt with most of the boys she encounters in her own unique ways. Her various crushes are mentioned in many different episodes and how much she obsesses over various boys that she has encountered.  This can be shown with how much she talks about them to her family or different people at school who aren’t necessarily considered as her friends.  We can also see her obsessions with boys through her ‘friend fictions’, which is much like fan fictions (something teen girls are also associated with through stereotypes).  She has many different crushes throughout the show, and generally likes more than one boy at a time.  This clearly represents the stereotype about how all girls, no matter how ‘awkward’ they are considered to be, are boy crazed and flirty.  This can make teenage girls believe that if they do not have a crush or are not flirting with a boy that they like then they are doing something wrong and in order to be a ‘normal’ teenager they must have romantic feelings for boys.  Teenage girls obsessions with boys can be seen in almost any show or film that involves teenage girls such as the Nickelodeon show ‘iCarly’ and the Disney film ‘High School Musical’.


Tina is a thirteen-year-old girl, so she has only just entered her teen years. However she is given many stereotypes because of her age, like her obsession with boy bands (and just boys), her hobbies, and her interests. Even her room is quite the stereotypical teenage girl room cluttered with posters of boy bands and animals, and it is usually quite messy.  We even see her go through a faze of being a ‘typical’ teenager where she has an ‘attitude’.  This is bought on by peer pressure, something that is also strongly related to being a teenager.  She begins to use makeup, styles her hair and even starts to act different in the stereotypical way that teenage girls are seen to act throughout different types of Media (but mainly through Movies and TV shows).  Although this is not what Tina is usually like, this still shows us how teenage girls are strongly connected to the stereotypes of peer pressure, makeup and having an ‘attitude’ just because we are in our teen years.  Tina’s character clearly shows the stereotypes that come with being a teenage girl, and this can affect teenage girls into thinking that these stereotypes are true, and that no matter what you may look like being a teenager comes with things like having an attitude and liking makeup and boy bands and liking boys which may not necessarily be true for every teenage girl.


The stereotypes that are used to create the character of Tina Belcher can have an affect on many teenage girls.  Not only will it change their views to think that girls that appear the same as Tina are awkward and nerdy, but also the girls that may have similar appearances to Tina may begin to doubt themselves and may begin to think that they have the same personality and social status as Tina just because of how they look.  But besides how her appearance will affect other teenage girls, the stereotypes that go along with her age and gender include being boy crazed and obsessive over different topics.  This can affect teen girls because they may think that they have to like boys and have crushes on them in order to be the “normal” teenage girl, because Tina isn’t the only female character within the media who is seen as being boy crazy.  Teenage girls may also think its normal to be obsessive over things, like Tina is with boy bands, horses and zombies.  Although most teenage girls aren’t so obsessed with zombies, they can be obsessed with other things such as makeup, clothes and other things that is “normal” for teen girls to be obsessed with.

In conclusion even this simplistic cartoon can portray very well known stereotypes that all have to do with one’s appearance, gender and age. The stereotypes are very obvious as they are some of the most used stereotypes towards teenage girls that include being ‘awkward’, ‘boy crazy’ and how we are strongly connected to the topic of peer pressure and our personalities.  This can affect teenage girls by making them think that particular appearances like Tina’s have specific attitudes, mainly due to stereotypes.  Teen girls can also be influenced to think that because of their age and gender they are supposed to do, think and like certain things such as boys and boy bands.

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Regina George

Regina George

In the film ‘Mean Girls’ directed by Mark Waters, stereotypes are often shown throughout the film, especially the stereotypes surrounding teenage girls. The stereotypes often show teenage girls to be self-obsessed, manipulative, self-conscious and boy crazy.  One of the main characters, Regina George, is the stereotype of every popular girl and this is shown regularly throughout the film.  Her appearance, personality and social status all feature the main stereotypes, which surround teenage girls.

Regina George’s appearance often features lots of short, tight, pink (and expensive) clothing as well as jewellery and other expensive accessories.  But besides the typical ‘popular girl’ clothing, she also has long blonde hair, which is the usual go-to hair colour of any stereotypical popular girl. She has a tall but skinny frame (also a very typical physical stereotype of any popular teenage girl) and clear, ‘perfect’ skin without any acne in sight.  Her two best friends Gretchen and Karen are also very similar in their physical appearances to Regina’s (apart from the fact that Gretchen has brown hair). This is a very obvious stereotype that is used in many other films and TV shows besides Mean Girls, such as the movie ‘High School Musical’ or the TV show ‘Glee’.  This makes Regina and her friends come off as being very materialistic as expensive clothing and accessories seem to be the only thing that is okay for them to wear.  They have different times in the week to wear different things, like how they can only wear their hair in a ponytail once a week or how on Wednesdays they have to wear pink.  Because of how Regina and her friends are represented in this film it only confirms the stereotype of how teenage girls are seen as being materialistic and how it is an overused stereotype that is supposed to describe the behaviour of a teenage girl.  In most cases this stereotype is not true, but it can affect teenage girls into thinking that the only way to be “cool” or “popular” is to have nice expensive things and nothing but the best.  This means girls may spend more money on clothing and if they are not able to do that, they may become insecure and think that just because they aren’t wearing the newest and most expensive clothing that they aren’t going to be good enough or accepted.  This can have a major affect on a teenage girls self-esteem.  According to around 62% of girls feel “insecure or not sure of themselves”.  Although this does not mean that not having the right clothes is making them insecure, on the same site it was also mentioned that “71% of girls with low self-esteem feel their appearance does not measure up, including not feelings pretty enough, thin enough or stylish or trendy enough”.  This clearly states that within that 71% of girls, a majority of them will feel insecure purely because they don’t have the right clothes and feel as though this is bringing their overall appearance down.  This insecurity has probably been brought on partly because of the media and how teenage girls are represented as being so materialistic and obsessed with their clothing.


Regina’s personality is also the stereotypical ‘popular girl’ personality, which is generally extremely manipulative, boy crazy, self-absorbed and self-conscious she is among many other negative characteristics.  We can easily see how manipulative and boy crazy Regina is in the scene at the Halloween party where she tells Cady that she is going to try get Aaron Samuels to like Cady.  However she doesn’t do this at all, instead she tricks Aaron into liking her and tells Cady that it wasn’t her fault that Aaron had feelings for her.  We can also see how self-absorbed she is as she is often looking at herself in the mirror and perfecting her appearance, but at the same time we can see how self-conscious she is as well, an example of this is when she, Gretchen and Karen are standing in front of a mirror, critiquing their own appearances, we can also see how self-conscious she is when she goes on about how badly she needs to lose weight, although she is already very skinny.  All of these characteristics Regina possesses is extremely stereotypical of the popular teenage girl, and is commonly shown in the media.  This has a negative affect on teenage girls as when they see someone who is skinny and pretty like Regina looking at herself and saying how she needs to lose weight and how nothing about her appearance is good enough, they may start to do the same thing to themselves and take a negative course of action by trying to lose weight or by trying to make themselves look like societies idea of perfect, but in the process of this they may become more insecure or more unhappy with themselves because just like Regina George, they will always find something to be insecure and unhappy with when it comes to how they look.

The social status of Regina is extremely popular, when we are first introduced to ‘the plastics’, which is Regina and her friend’s, Damien states, “they’re teen royalty” and that “if North Shore was Us Weekly they would always be on the cover”.  He also refers to Regina as “The Queen Bee” among much other gossip about Regina and the rest of the plastics.  She is known as being the most popular girl at her high school; North Shore High.  She is supposedly adored and admired by her pairs, but throughout the film you begin to see that she is not so much admired, but she is more feared by them as her pairs feel threatened by her and know not to get in her way.  This is often the representation of the “popular girl” within the media, as they are generally only popular due to people being afraid and intimidated by them and it is not because people actually like them that much.  This stereotype can be seen in many Disney films and Disney shows such as the TV show ‘Hannah Montana’ where the two popular girls aren’t really liked by the rest of the school but still have a very powerful status.  It can also be seen in the recent Disney film ‘Zapped’ where the popular girl is extremely bossy and mean, and is only ‘liked’ because people are afraid of her.  This can affect teenage girls because they might think that the only way to be popular is to be powerful, and is to be mean and intimidating when it comes to socialising with their pairs, this means that teenage girls can change their attitudes completely just so they can be the popular girl like Regina George and this can have a major negative affect on them and the people around them.

Because of the stereotypes used to create the character of Regina George, many teen girls will be affected.  They will begin to believe the stereotype and some will even begin to become the stereotype, which could be a major issue.  They may begin to dress like Regina George, wearing tight, short clothing and making sure to show a lot of skin, along with making sure their makeup and hair is always perfect like Regina’s.  Teenage girls may also be influenced to become more like Regina in their personalities, acting meaner and becoming manipulative to gain more ‘power’ or popularity like how Regina does, or becoming obsessed with the idea of having a boyfriend or having casual hook-ups much like Regina.  But things could become even more serious as they could begin to become insecure with their bodies and overall appearance when they see how much Regina and her friend’s reticule themselves on a regular basis.  This can have serious affects on young teenage girls as insecurities already play a major role in almost every teenage girls life, whether it’s about their clothing, their body, acne, etc. This can have a major impact on a young girls mental well-being as well as their physical well-being as when they see how Regina and her friends act they may decide that the only way to be popular is to be just like them in every way possible.

The ‘popular girl’ stereotypes are easily seen within the media and are well represented in the film ‘Mean Girls’.  It is easily seen that the ‘popular girl’ always possesses the same physical appearance, personality and social status which are usually highly exaggerated within the media due to stereotypes.  Because of the stereotypes shown widely across the media, and specifically those shown in the film ‘Mean Girls’ by Regina George and her friends, teenage girls will instantly connect the stereotypes to popularity and may start becoming the stereotype, which can have a major affect on a young person’s life.

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What are stereotypes?

What are stereotypes?

We use stereotypes everyday, and most of the time we do not realise we are doing this.  We make a generalisation of a group of people or an individual mainly due to their physical appearance and will view them as their stereotype/stereotypes, even if the stereotype may not be true.  I will be covering the questions of, what are stereotypes, how does our own personal use of stereotypes in everyday life affect us and the people around us and where stereotypes are most commonly found.

Stereotypes are how a particular individual or a group of people are seen through the eyes of society due to broad generalisations that are often seen in the media. People are generally stereotyped because of their physical appearance such as hair colour or skin colour, but are also often stereotyped due to their culture/religion (such as Jewish people and Muslim people).  People can also be stereotyped on how they dress, their accents and many other aspects of their personality and physical appearance. Stereotypes can be either positive or negative, however most stereotypes have negative affects on people as they can often be seen as something they aren’t, such as how blonde’s are given the stereotype of being dumb and Asian’s are given the stereotype of being smart.

Our personal use of stereotypes can affect us in everyday life and the people around us without us being aware.  We can use stereotypes when first meeting people as we will take in their physical appearance and view them as their stereotype no matter what that may be.  In some cases stereotypes that we apply to people may be true, but often enough they are not and this can majorly affect any potential relationships we may have with someone as we will judge them before we even get to know them, and although most of the time we do not realise we are doing this and may not see the affect that it has on us and those around us, stereotypes still play a major roll in our everyday lives.

Stereotypes are generally seen within the media, especially in Movies and TV shows.  Because stereotypes are so often conveyed in the media and it is so easy to be exposed to the media we often see and hear stereotypes everyday, and we usually do not recognise this. Racist, sexist and ageist comments are usually seen in the media and this can easily affect our own way of thinking which greatly affects our views on different groups and individuals within society.  Besides Movies and TV shows we can also be introduced to stereotypes through the news, books, articles, magazines and any other source of media as stereotypes can be conveyed in any way, shape or form.

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Stereotypes are pretty much just the representation of an individual or a group of people based on their appearance.  According to Google, representation means many different things, like someone acting on behalf of someone else.  However, in the case of stereotypes representation means “the description or portrayal of someone or something in a particular way”.  This pretty much means that based on someone’s appearance or personality (description) they portray themselves in a particular way that may or may not be true, which just means we view them as a particular stereotype.  For example, if you saw someone with blonde hair you may automatically think of the dumb blonde stereotype, and this is a stereotype, which is generally untrue.

We use stereotypes in our everyday lives even though we don’t realise we are doing so, we use them to generalise individuals and groups of people based on how they look and because of their personalities, we generally use stereotypes because of how often we are exposed to them within different aspects of modern day media.

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