Dawn Suwanie Tan
Media Power and Ethics
The lives of Manhattan’s teenage elite creates a paradigm for female teenagers to follow (Lancel Joseph, 2013) One of CW Television Network’s hit television series of six seasons, Gossip Girl has created an image of the ideal life for the current Generation Y. Wealth, fame and power; three things mankind has sought after from generation to generation. A life of luxury is a closet full of chic designer wear, a garage with an Audi and other such material wealth. Fame is being part of the elite society and setting trends with that fame. Power is the knowledge that you can influence others as well as get anything you want with that power.
Films and television dramas mostly targeting the teenage audience increasingly shows us the stereotyping that is present in schools and sometimes, though exaggerated, is very close to home. It reinforces the cliques that we see today in high schools and colleges. Films like The Breakfast Club (1985), Clueless (1995) and Mean Girls (2004), always portray a consistent image of high schools and the preps and jocks with all their wealth, fame and power are always the people everyone wants to be or at least, be a part of that clique. They practically control the world; their world that is.
We dream about being just like these trust fund kids with everything in the world at their fingertips. It is an ideal life that young teenage girls, especially, fall prey to and moulds their minds and shapes what is going on in colleges and schools all over the world. The Show
It is a glittering showcase of upper class Manhattan. The privileged prep school teens on Manhattan's Upper East Side first learn that Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) is back, from her self-imposed exile to boarding school, the way they learn all the important news in their lives -- from the blog of the all-knowing albeit ultra-secretive Gossip Girl. No one knows Gossip Girl's identity, but everyone in this exclusive and complicated vicious circle relies on her website and text messages for the latest scoop. Even Serena's closest friend, Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) is surprised to find her back in town.
Serena and Blair’s friendship have always been extremely competitive and Blair used to live in the notorious party girl Serena’s shadow. Serena was also a threat to her relationship with Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford), of a power family in the Upper East Side. These two girls come from reputable families and basically rule the social scene.
The entire society lives for gossip and scandal -- along with fashion, shopping at Bloomingdales and Tiffany and attending over-the-top parties in Manhattan's trendiest hot spots. Alcohol, drugs, sex and basically being filthy rich is their world and this is a world you have to be born into, full of wealth, power, and people like Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) of renowned Bass Industries. A friend of Nate's since childhood, Chuck leads a reckless life, and constantly pushes Nate to explore his dark side. Gossip Girl keeps track of the shifting friendships, power struggles, jealousies and turmoil in this wealthy and complex world. The Impact
Fancy parties, elite society, gorgeous houses and endless bank accounts, this is very much what grabbed my attention in Gossip Girl. As a teenager, I myself am mesmerized by the world of the Upper East Side and it influences the way I view New York and the way I assume high school is supposed to be. The cultivation theory suggests that television gives us an alternate reality that the world we live in is a perception similar to what we watch on television. Gossip Girl is a world of prestige and social status playing a crucial part of life. It touches on what everyone wants; wealth, power and fame, giving teenagers a look into that world. It creates a sort of ‘fantasy world’ that we want to live in and strive to reach. It...
References: Douglas Main, LiveScience Staff Writer | July 09, 2013 08:49pm ET
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