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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