Comprehensive Theoretical Analysis
University Southern California
Adolescence is probably the hardest stage of development anyone will every experience. It is a time of growth that is the most crucial in defining who one will be as they get older. Adolescence is the age things begin to change emotionally and physically. It is already difficult enough without life's complications of peer pressure, unexpected disappointments, and finding out the ones we look up to end up letting us down the most. Peer pressure tends to have more of an effect on children with low self-esteem. If a child feels compelled to fit in, the teen may do things that go against his or her beliefs simply to be part of the group.
Peer pressure can lead to experimentation with drugs and alcohol, sex, skipping school, and various high-risk behaviors. Adolescent decision making is likely to be influenced by the goal of achieving positive relations with group members. According to Godbold research indicates that adolescents often turn to their peers for behavioral direction when making decisions about alcohol use, and adolescents over estimate the number of their peers who consume alcohol.
In the movie Thirteen Tracy lives with her mother, Melanie, and older brother. Tracy and her mother had a good relationship and Tracy never got in trouble. Her parents divorced years ago which resulted in a poor relationship with her father. Tracy's mother, Melanie has difficulty financially working as a hair stylist however always made sure her children had what they needed. Tracy's mother provides inadequate supervision and has a history of alcohol or drug dependence. Melanie also had a live in boyfriend whom also struggled with drug addiction which caused a strain in Tracy and her relationship.
Thirteen-year-old Tracy Freeland was a straight A student who writes poetry. But Tracy longs to be popular and well-respected at her Los Angeles middle school. She is teased about her clothes by more popular girls. Although her mother struggles financially she takes Tracy to buy a few new clothing items from a discount vendor in a van. Thus clothed and much to her delight, Tracy is invited by Evie, the most popular girl at her school, to go shopping in Hollywood. Although Evie gives her a disconnected telephone number, likely as a mean middle school joke or ploy, Tracy takes the bus to Hollywood anyway. She finds Evie and a friend, only to learn that to them, "shopping" means shoplifting.
Tracy, too, begins to flaunt the porno fashion signifiers of a 21st-century trash princess: hip-huggers slung down to the pelvic bone, eye glitter, navel ring, tongue ring. Within days, she has made herself over, yet her baby-hooker-of-the-mall regalia is, in a sense, the least of her transformations.
Tracy doesn't just look different. She adopts a new attitude of tossed-off cruelty, a spiteful hauteur that cuts down everyone in her path. She becomes a proud new specimen of a consumer culture that turns girls into viper, and the essence of the change isn't just her desire to be sexy or dangerous or at the molten center of the in crowd. It's to be separate from the innocent friends she casts off like yesterday's fashions.
Tracy had a hard time fitting in until she stole money from an unsuspecting lady to impress the most popular girl in school. Tracy was a naive doll playing, artistic young girl before she met Evie. Evie introduced Tracy to a world of sex, drugs, alcohol and self mutilation. Evie lived with her aunt Brooke whom provided her no supervision or adequate level of care. Evie is extremely manipulative and self serving. She embodied many antisocial characteristics which Tracy eventually took on herself and became best friends. Tracy did whatever Evie wanted to win her approval without any thought of negative consequences. Evie moves into the Freeland house and the two girls go into a downward spiral of hard drugs,...
References: Bronfenbrenner, U. (1989). Ecological systems theory. Annals of Child Development, 6, 187-24
Berzoff, J, Melano, L, & Hertz, P
Godbold, L.C., & Pfau, M. (2000). Conferring Resistance to Peer. Communication Research, 27(4), 411-437.
Greene, R. (2008). Human behavior theory & social work practice. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Aldine De Gruyter.
Zimmerman, M.A., & Perkins, D.D. (1995). Empowerment theory, research, and application. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(5), 596-579.
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