Presentation Title

Adolescence: Fact or Fiction?

Date

4-29-2020

Description

Before the 1800s, adolescence did not exist, and before 1940, no studies had been done on it. My research seeks to see how it is presented in different media and what it is like for adolescents in real life. Media often portrays adolescents as mini adults--they are equipped to solve the world's problems, but can't live on their own and are not allowed to vote. From books like The Duff to shows like Sex Education and Friday Night Lights, teens (who are in the midst of adolescence) are often portrayed as caregivers to adults in their lives. They and the world around them ask a great deal of them--so what does that message send to adolescents in the real world? How does this dynamic play out in real people's lives? For someone like Jeannette Walls, it meant educating herself enough so that she could go to Barnard on scholarship and escape her nomadic childhood, as she recounts in her memoir The Glass Castle. For many teens today, it means working a job, playing a sport, and excelling in academics to get into a good college to ensure their bright future. But it all comes at a cost. Anxiety and mood disorders have been on the rise for the past few decades, which indicates to me a need to restructure the societal pressures and expectations of adolescence.

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Apr 29th, 12:00 AM

Adolescence: Fact or Fiction?

Before the 1800s, adolescence did not exist, and before 1940, no studies had been done on it. My research seeks to see how it is presented in different media and what it is like for adolescents in real life. Media often portrays adolescents as mini adults--they are equipped to solve the world's problems, but can't live on their own and are not allowed to vote. From books like The Duff to shows like Sex Education and Friday Night Lights, teens (who are in the midst of adolescence) are often portrayed as caregivers to adults in their lives. They and the world around them ask a great deal of them--so what does that message send to adolescents in the real world? How does this dynamic play out in real people's lives? For someone like Jeannette Walls, it meant educating herself enough so that she could go to Barnard on scholarship and escape her nomadic childhood, as she recounts in her memoir The Glass Castle. For many teens today, it means working a job, playing a sport, and excelling in academics to get into a good college to ensure their bright future. But it all comes at a cost. Anxiety and mood disorders have been on the rise for the past few decades, which indicates to me a need to restructure the societal pressures and expectations of adolescence.