In society today the construction of a personal identity can be seen to be somewhat problematic and difficult. Young people are surrounded by influential imagery, especially that of popular media. It is no longer possible for an identity to be constructed merely in a small community and only be influenced by family. Nowadays, arguably everything concerning out lives is seen to be ‘media-saturated’. Therefore, it is obvious that in constructing an identity young people would make use of imagery derived from the popular media. For example, it is becoming increasingly common for young children to have their own television and music systems in their bedrooms whilst also having easy and frequent access to magazines especially aimed at the ‘developing’ child and/or teenager. Such young people would also have a way of accessing the Internet be it at school or sometimes at home. However, it is fair to say that in some instances the freedom of exploring the web could be limited depending on the choice of the parents or teachers. So, if young people have such frequent access and an interest in the media, it is fair to say that their behaviour and their sense of ‘self’ will be influenced to some degree by what they see, read, hear or discover for themselves. Such an influence may include a particular way of behaving or dressing to the kind of music a person chooses to listen to. These are all aspects which go towards constructing a person’s own personal identity. By close investigation into the popular media, and by using two specific examples of a popular teen magazine and a recent ‘teenage’ hit single that got to number 2 in the British charts, I intend to illustrate the various ways in which young people make use of imagery derived from popular media in the construction of their identities.
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