Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been

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“Where are you going, Where have you been:” The Media’s effect on youth In this 1966 short story written by Joyce Carol Oates, fifteen-year-old Connie is a self-absorbed teenager who spends her time fantasizing about romance and searching for attention from men. While out with a suitor, a strange man promises her, "I'm gonna get you, baby" (2). Connie doesn't think much of the incident until one day while alone at home; the man comes to “get” her. The assailant, Arnold Friend, is kind at first then progressively becomes aggressive and violent towards her. Though at first she enjoys Arnold’s attention, once his demands become sexual and violent, her confidence diminishes. While Connie attempts to evade Arnold’s commands, she becomes powerless against the man and eventually follows him to “go for a ride” (3). While “Where are you going, Where have you been,” appears to simply be a tragic story about the abduction and rape of a young girl, it is more importantly a statement of the time on the over-sexualization in the media.

From the time period the story was written, the 1960’s, we know that society as a whole was exploding with counter-culture and rebellion. In response to the Vietnam War, for the first time in history, music rapidly became highly influential and that of a sexual nature. This first wave of over-sexualized media is what influenced Connie and millions of the time to exploit their sexuality. The youth of the time period are commonly thought of as being extremely responsive to the world around them. With music being more suggestive than in the past and young people being more expressive and experimental, Connie grew up in a drastically changing world complete with the need to be sexual and to really stand out in order to be noticed. Media became more widespread and important in the 60’s than it had ever been before. When the TV and radio weren’t focusing on the war efforts in Vietnam, they showed the youth’s protest, and push to “Make Love, Not...
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