Media sets poor example for adolescent girls

Far too often, I meet girls who act, or attempt to act, much older than they are. I’m certainly not saying they are too mature or wise because some teenagers simply are more mature than their peers. Rather, it’s the appearance and behavior of some girls that bothers me.
Some wear heavy makeup on an everyday basis or become consumed with partying and drinking. Others dress like they are 40 or always look like they are in a hurry. Many mock music or clothes that might make them look young or only date older guys in an effort to distance themselves from people their age. Granted, not all girls who are like this are trying to act older, but a good number of them are.
Teenage girls are constantly bombarded with messages from the media to look and act older. They see college students and women in their twenties dancing in clubs and drinking at bars, and they yearn for that lifestyle.
In the case of the television show, “Gossip Girl,” it’s not always about college-age students, but has, up until recently, focused on the lives of a group of Upper East Side New York high school students who act like adults, more than they do teenagers. The show essentially glorifies the lives of these characters and creates role models out of them for the many girls who follow the show. Among the main characters, Blair, Serena, and Jenny, are three of the most important female ones. Although these three characters have their flaws, young female viewers can’t help but admire their clothes, their sophistication, and their sense of independence. And, at the beginning of the first season, when Jenny is the new girl, she gets ridiculed for her innocence and youth.
I love watching the show for entertainment, but at the same time I worry that teenage girls who watch it will grow to believe that it is normal for people their age to behave like the characters do. I don’t think that there shouldn’t be any shows like “Gossip Girl,” but it is important that girls view media objectively and not place every celebrity on a pedestal.
Sometimes, it is not so much that girls try to dress and act older, but that they can’t stop dreaming of the day when they will go off to college. That’s when their ideal life will become a reality, the time when they will find the perfect guy, the right friends. It’s a good thing to be excited for college, but it is equally good to enjoy where you are in life at the moment.
By trying to mold yourself into something you’re not, you only end up appearing younger and more vulnerable. Acting like you are 21 won’t make you happier in the long run, and, if you think about it, it isn’t so different from a middle-aged woman dressing like she’s still in college and toting around a copy of Twilight.