Society assignment essay help on: Change in American society
The change in any society is important, thus a society always remains in flux with respect to time and the prevailing scenario. The people who inhabit within a social set up determine the collective nature of that particular location and the behaviour. The focus of this essay is the youth in America; it can be related to the concept of ‘melting pot’ which stands for the multicultural America. The identity of the Americans is seen as something that marks the important features of the American society. The American identity and the consequent ideology can be highlighted by the access which the people have to media like television and the radio. The mixture of the identities is there post 20th century and such combinations have affected the popular culture in America. As brought by the playwright, Israel Zangwill “Understand that America is God’s Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming!……..God is making the American.” This symbolise that how the diversity in a place has led to the cultural interactions, and such cultural inter-mingling has paved the way for free flow of the thoughts and the formation of the ideologies among the Americans (Culture Blogger: Gossip Girls 2011). The thought processes get entirely affected by the advent of the new cultures and the ideologies along with it. Similarly in America the identities of the people and the related cultural perspective have been changing in a dynamic fashion.The significant point is that people have a fair idea about the cultural changes which they have been undergoing and how has that been affecting their lifestyle also. They remain informed because of the wealth of resources which they have around them which they can easily access through the social media. The culture is something which is made by the people for the fellow people. The essay is about the ideological perspective which all the youth population of America has acquired after actually being influenced by the audio-visual representation of the teenage life. Teenage is that part of the life where there are many liberal aspects related to life style of the youth. Gossip Girls is a television series that depicts the lifestyle of the young Americans living in New York, the teenagers are from the privileged families in their high school years. Serena is the one stylish teen girl who have had many relationships through the school years, making it a controversial part, her best friend Blair and the other characters like Chuck Bass, Nate and Dan. The lifestyle of these characters is highly metropolitan and fashionable (Jarrahi, E 2012). The series has been favourite of the youngsters, it has been appreciated and the reasons for which it is liked so much is either that it is the sole reality that how the culture of the young Americans actually is or because it feeds to the motives of the young Americans that how should they have been adapting to life. The serial is all about the relationships, the trends of the relationships, the love conditions and the sexual representation. The title of the series itself breaks the code that it is ‘girl’ centred and Gossip Girl is connotative of the fantasy and the naughtiness that is implied generally in the behaviour of the teenage girls. The girls are flirtatious and involved in a many sexual relationships and followed by the boy like Dan who is ambitious and Chuck who is a pure womanizer. The television in a way has been commanding the way women should look and that what comes latest in town and they should have it. New York itself becomes an icon of the city which never goes off to sleep it has been wondering through the nights and is all awake with its youthfulness.The male gaze is also one of the concepts in literature which can be studied with regard to the portrayal of the female characters. The gaze of the men is such and is in fact conditioned according to the portrayal of the female characters. The dress up of the females, the body language and the language use by the females describes the degree of the exploitation which men can do to woman’s body. In gossip girl also, the characters played by the leads Serena and Blair are depicted as the ideal young women in the contemporary America. The representation is purely sexual in its tone and thus has the related representational quality. It is the desire, which feeds to the imagination of both the young men and the women, the ‘desire’ is to be like the one. The series is popular among the culture of the young Americans as this is in intersection with the values and the beliefs which they form of themselves and of the society (Zhou, M and Lee, J 2004). The culture in the country is something which is being formed by the media and therefore has also been expressed by it in its own terms, it is not only the perceptions and the ideologies of the American which is being affected, but to the other countries also. The outsider countries thus can relate to such representational media and trust what is being showed to them onscreen.The portrayal of the characters in the series is abstract and is superficial and that now also defines the nature of the American youth. They have almost kept up with this trend and have been strongly affected by the ways of the media. Media has been playing its role cleverly in defining as what is perfect, what is well in shape, what is trendy and acceptable, and thus it has no relation to the real life stories of the youngsters. The identities which these youngsters form in the real life are the actual reflections of the characters which they see in the virtual set up. The values which today’s American youth forms is not the one which has been traditionally inculcated in them but the ones which they have formed on the basis of the personal choice. These values guide their ideologies and the behaviour. This series is also doing the same task, it sets certain values for them to choose from, and some are related to the represent trends and some to the sexual choices. The information which is generally present in these shows related to sex has been forming a different opinion about sex for the American Youth. The literary scholars and the media thinkers are of the view that media instead should indulge in providing the sex education programmes to the youth instead of feeding to the fantasy of then youth through the negative portrayal of sex. Thus there is a need to form a cognitive framework under which the thinking process should be guided, and that there is a need to realise that the youngsters should not be influenced by the media in terms of making the decisions. The reality which the characters have in their own worlds in the television the same is constructed by the youngsters in their real life and this shape the ideas further.The concept of beauty is much debatable in the serial, the girls are shown to have the perfect bodies and the flawless skins, the ‘gossip girls’ have the perfect blonde hair and carry a perfect sense of the fashion. Serena and Blair are portrayed as brand conscious, they belong to the privileged class of the Americans and they can afford all the luxuries. The reality is that the girls are so perfect that they act as the ideal of what a girl should personally be like and that how a girl should look to a boy. The female beauty has been thoroughly defined by class consciousness and so has been the subsequent culture too. The women here have been exploiting the women only, the consciousness of the high class has been evoking misery for the lower class. Once the class gets affected in a society, the direct effect is seen on the cultural nuances down the hierarchy. The conflicts occur within the values of the youth, who wants to be ‘like’ the ones they actually appreciate, and then there occurs the dilemma which remains unresolved (TEWARY, A 2004). The reality of the American youth is that it is far away from the ‘gossip girls’ and in reality it becomes deplorable because then the society realises that it was only a created image. The vision seems blurred and in that only the youngsters designate their lifestyle and thoughts to be a part of the popular culture. The ideologies are set in accordance to what Serena and Blair do, it is only a virtual window if they can make use of the international brands such as Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, and that is what sets the standard for the immature youth and thus popularises itself as a culture and so becomes a matter of disgrace for the average American. This can be said that the television (popular media) is in fact dictating the real culture and imposing hegemony to the real lives of the youngsters through such characters and the lifestyles. The hegemony is such for which one could go to any limit to be a part of that culture which is portrayed in Gossip Girls. The fame and the good fortune which comes with beauty for both the leading girls and the other characters in the series is actually the toughest platform to get through which cannot be attained solely by enhancing the beauty in real life (Connolly, B 2008).The teenage is such that arises a kind of quest in the human being , it is about the curiosity to know about sex, to be a part of the conversation that has lot of sex related information and also that forming relationships with the others would mean having an obvious sexual relationship. In the Gossip Girl series also there are sex scenes in abundance. The series is full off the prior and post conditions due to love relationships and the break ups, the episodes show the teens take up to drugs, they cheat and the curiosity that they have to lose their virginity (Peirce, L 2011). Sex is something which a refreshing activity for the typical American youth and the culture is regulated by the consistent throwing of the parties. The purpose of such parties is basically to have flings and ‘hook-ups’ for a short period of time. The storyline of the series revolves around sex which is something easily accessible and something which is fun and symbolic of being forward than many. The same has been mental set up of many fellow Americans, because such representations of the media actually exaggerates the fact that sex is the basic requirement and is indexical of the coolness in one’s youth time (Ginn, S 2010). This way the ideology of the contemporary youth in America becomes dislocated and thus becomes challenging for their wisdom. It is seen that in the series the girls who were involved in the sexual relationships were involved in sexual activities without any commitment of marriage, and the culture they represented actually got worse because the girls and the boys switched partners quite often. The critique is somewhere ironic in its very sense because it enders Blair to be emotionally suffering when her boyfriend does not arrive and thus it is almost a disheartening make up of the story which idealises that the ones involved in the serious long term relationships had to suffer. The youth who watches the series thus gets prepared in a way that probably if they seriously get into a relationship then they might have to suffer in the end because of the uncertainty it carries along with it. Thus the preference is given to a unique ideology that it is somehow better to get into casual link ups than to fall for some one seriously for a longer period of time (Hinai, M 2011).The hooks up that have been there in the sexual activities. In fact the parties that have been shown are based on the sole purpose of catching flings and if better a casual or the open relationship. In the virtual world it does look cool to the eye and looks stylish but as the same happens in the in reality the same youth gets subjected to the trauma, depression, and escape through the addiction to alcohol or drugs. In the representation of such broken relationships in the series the same is exactly opposite when the girls and the boys move on after the break ups and think about the next suitable partner (Ginn, S 2010). The ideological perspective which the media constructs for today’s youth is entirely different from the one that really is. The ideology is that money, lifestyle, sex and alcohol defines the richness of teenage life in America but actually the case is in fact not so.It can be said that the Gossip Girl series has a solid contribution in constructing the adolescent sexuality, it has registered the values and the beliefs in the minds of the young Americans in a unique and fashionable manner. The unfortunate part is that this age of growing up is so fragile, sensitive and dynamic, the individuals are too raw to read between the lines. The same is what has been shaping up the thought process of the individuals and also has been guiding their ideology towards the other beings around them and designates the scope they create for the love relationships (Kupelian, D 2004). The love affairs for them is all about having fun, attending parties and being physically involved, and the break-ups mean moving on, alcohol, drugs or finding another partner. This way the attitude of the contemporary youth has been shaking the basic morals of living life and ethical restrains which should be there to at least some extent. The culture of the young Americans is solely based on the unreal narrative that has been constructed by the popular media.