The development of the ‘teenager’ Looking at wider contextsCase Study : Rebel Without A Cause (1955, Ray)
Origins of youth cultureSome critics would argue that because all youth cultures areconstructed around patterns of consumption, including music, its consumptionproponents are in fact just manufactured and manipulated audiencesand, like any other media audience, delivered to advertisers.However, media representations of contemporary youth cultures areusually content with broad generalisations and stereotyping ratherthan acknowledging the subtle differences between groups.It is a feature of group identity that recognition of subtle signs of similarityand difference creates a restricted code where only those closelyengaged can recognise the meanings.
Origins of youth cultureClassic film representations of youth andyouth culture include :The Wild One (Lazlo Benedek, 1953)Marlon Brando’s classic outlaw biker filmwas blamed for the destruction ofcinemas and teenage violence.It was frequently banned in its day.
Origins of youth culture Classic film representations of youth and youth culture include : Rebel Without A Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955) –James Dean’s famous film about a rebellious teenager. This film, together with East of Eden (Eila Kazan, 1956) and hisearly death in a road crash, led to Dean becoming a mythic figure for youth.
Origins of youth culture Classic film representations of youth and youth culture include : Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969) – featured the strapline ‘A man went looking for America and couldn’t find it anywhere…’ probably because most of this classic hippy road movie is seen through a cannabis-induced fog.
Origins of youth culture Classic film representations of youth and youth culture include :A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971) – a futuristicurban dystopia featuring violence, violent sex and cultgangs dominating the streets. It was withdrawn in the UK streetsby Kubrick himself, who was shocked by so-called ‘copycatviolence’ involving scenes from the film. film
Origins of youth cultureClassic film representations of youth and youth culture include :Romper Stomper (Geoffrey Wright, 1992) – a classic skinhead film.
Origins of youth culture Classic film representations of youth and youth culture include :Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001) – a strange and moody film, principally about the alienation of youth in a world of moral contradictions.
Origins of youth culture Classic film representations of youth and youth culture include : Sweet Sixteen (Ken Loach, 2002) – the title of this film is ironic, as it follows the tragic life of a Scottish boy who, inspite his best efforts to improve his life, is drawn into crime and ultimately murder just as he reaches the age of 16.
Origins of youth cultureClassic film representations of youth and youth culture include :This Is England (Shane Meadows, 2006) – a representation of 1980s skinhead gang culture. Set in 1983 in a world of New Romantics, mods and skinheads, the film centres on 12-year-old Shaun (based on the director himself). It deals with masculinity, race and violence, with a background of working-class life, mass unemployment and xenophobia.
Origins of youth cultureIt would be useful for your case studies to look at some of these films from different decades, and analyse how and why the representations of teenagers has changed and developed.
Origins of Youth Culture Film How has the Why has the representation of representation of teenagers changed? teenagers changed?The Wild One (1953)Easy Rider (1969)A clockwork Orange (1971)Romper Stomper (1992)This is England (2006)
The development of the ‘teenager’ Growing up prior to World War II, teenagers were expected to take life seriously. Males were expected to join the military or go out and get a job in order to help bring in money for their family or to take care of their future family. Females were taught how to take care of the household and prepare themselves to be a dutiful wife and take care of children. Marriage and preparing for a family, more than education or a career, was seen as a definite in the lives of teenagers. Also, teens had very little economic freedom, independence, and input into decision making prior to WWII.
The development of the ‘teenager’ However, in the 1950’s, expectations changed for the teenager. The economy started booming and families experienced a great deal of economic power, freedom and independence. This was the era that ‘created’ the teenager. teenager Until the 1950s people moved from childhood to adulthood, but the introduction of mass public education and greater general prosperity delayed the necessity for children to work and many enjoyed a longer leisured period into adolescence. Teenagers where more inclined and encouraged to attend college, find a skill, and seek a successful career. Their parents had more than likely gone through the depression and a number of wars, and now wanted something more for their children.
The development of the ‘teenager’ The newly found independence of teenagers would often result in conflictwith parents. Before the 1950’s, teenagers listened to the music of their parents, but when rock and roll came on the scene teens swarmed to it. This clash between parents and teens became known as the generation gap. The rise of rock n’ roll only served to widen this gap between the old and young, young dividing those who looked back to pre-war values, and those who wished to lookforward to a new American world. Americans had a newfound optimism about theirfuture – a world in which automated technology and the good old American values of ‘enterprise’ and ‘risk-taking’ helped them achieve unheard levels of wealth and luxury.
The development of the ‘teenager’ Media attention on teenage behaviour became an early moral panic. Rock and roll music was seen as encouraging sexual promiscuity and therefore threatening mainstream society. Protecting and controlling the young has always been an obsession of adult society, and the media found easy targets and plenty of material for sensational journalism concerning the growth of the ‘sex, drugs and rock and roll’ culture and the many stars and celebrities it produced.
The development of the ‘teenager’The media played on these emotions and often portrayed teenagers as juvenile delinquents. Look at the following educational films made in the 1950s, to educate young people about their lifestyles.
The ‘teenager’ and the media – 1950s Developments in British radio were faltering. Restrictedby limits on ‘needle time’ (time permitted for the broadcast of recorded music) and official distrust of the ‘Americanizing’ influences of rock n’ roll, it was only with the launch of ‘pirate’ stations in the early 1960s thatBritish radio began broadcasting programmes specifically geared to a ‘teen’ audience.”(Extract from ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’ : post-war media representations of youth.’ Osgerby Cited in ‘The Media:An Introduction. Brigss&Cobley. 2002. Pearson)
Rebel Without A Cause (1955) Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 film directed by Nicholas Ray that tells the story of a rebellious teenager played by James Dean, who comes to a town, meets a girl, disobeys his parents, and defies the local high school bullies. It was an attempt to portray the moral decay of American youth, critique parental style, and exploit the differences between generations. In 1990, Rebel Without a Cause was added to the preserved films of the United States Library of Congresss National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." The film had its opening on 27 October 1955, almost one month after James Deans fatal car crash.
Rebel Without A Cause (1955)Carry out an analysis into the representations of youth in this film, payingparticular attention to the contextual background to the film. Think about the following areas: •How are teenagers represented in this film? Look at the issues explored through each of the main characters : Jim Stark / Judy / Plato •From whose point of view is the film told and how does this affect the representations in the film and the value message underpinning it?•How has this film been affected by the historical and social context of the time it was created?
Rebel Without A Cause (1955) •In what ways are the fears about the ‘teenager’ explored in the film? •How is the idea of the ‘generation gap’ explored in the film?•How are parents represented in this film? How might this be affected by social and cultural contexts of the time?•Do you think there are any similarities in the representation of teens in this film to more contemporary texts that you have studied?•"Stewart had condensed all the action of the film into a twenty-four-hour timeframe because he believed that one day is an eternity to teenagers. It was his intention to tell the story of a generation coming of age in one night" (Hyams and Hyams 192). Discuss.
Rebel Without A Cause (1955)- DiscussionCharacter Analysis :Jim: The angry victim and the result. At 17 he is filled with confusion abouthis role in life. Because of his "nowhere" father, he does not know how tobe a man. Because of his wounding mother, he anticipates destruction inall women. And yet he wants to find a girl who will be willing to receive histenderness.Jims Father: Frank is an uptight man who has never been able to havefun.Jims Mother: Tense and immature, she has never found the husband shemarried. Upset by the presence of her mother-in-law, mated with anineffectual and joyless man, she takes out her disappointment on him andon her son.
Rebel Without A Cause (1955)Character Analysis :Judy: The victim and the result. At 16, she is in a panic of frustrationregarding her father--needing his love and suffering when it is denied. Thisforces her to invite the attention of other men in order to punish him.Judys Father: A junior partner in a law firm. Boyish, attractive anddebonair. Because he is frightened by the adolescence of his daughter,Judy, his only recourse is to criticize her.Judys Mother: Self-centered and frightened by the coming of middle-age.She feels that Judys blossoming youth is threatening her wifely position asthe desirable object of the husbands attentions.
Rebel Without A Cause (1955)Character Analysis :Plato: Son of a divided family--an absent father and a travelling mother--hefeels himself the target of desertion. At 15 he wants to find a substitutefamily for himself so that he need no longer feel cold, and especially afriend who will supply the fatherly protection and warmth he needs andcannot find.Buzz: A sado-masochistic boy of 17 who acts out aggressively his idea ofwhat a man should be in order to hide his real sensitivities and needs. Hewas probably rejected by both parents and must constantly court danger inorder to achieve any sense of prestige or personal worth.The Kids: All searching for recognition in the only way available to them;all suffering from unfulfilled hungers at home; all creating an outside worldof chaos in order to bear the chaos they feel inside. They are soldiers insearch of an enemy.
Cross Cultural Comparisons –50/60s Youth as fun’ was a central motif within British youth texts. Cliff Richard’s films of the early 1960s are exemplary. Sprightly musicals The Young Ones (dir. Sidney Furie, 1961) and Summer Holiday (dir. Peter Yates, 1963) are both tales of cheery youngsters liberating themselves from the dull conformity of their work-a-day lives. The young people here are not rebels but responsible and enterprising citizens, the films’ unquestioning sense of freedom and optimism epitomizing the notions of prosperity and dawning social harmony that lay at the heart of dominant political ideologies during the early 1960s.
Cross Cultural Comparisons – 50/60s Related to this critique of youngsters’ cultural preferences has been the stereotyping of young people as a uniquely delinquent generation. This line of argument has often taken sub cultural style as its target. During the early 1950s, for example, these anxieties cohered around the figure of the Teddy Boy. First identified by the media in the working-class neighbourhoods of south London in 1954, the Ted was soon presented as a shockingly new spectre haunting street corners all over the country, his negative image compounded in the sensational press coverage of cinema ‘riots’ that followed screenings of the film Rock Around The Clock in 1956.
Teenagers in the 60’s - Mods By the end of the decade the Ted’s drape suit had been superseded by the chic, Italian-inspired styles of the mods. However, like the Teds before them, the mods’ appearance was oftenpresented by the media as not simply a mode of dress but as a symbol of national decline.This approach reached fever-pitch in press responses to the mod ‘invasions’ of several seaside resorts in 1964, events given front-page prominence by national newspapers who spoke of a ‘day of terror’ in which whole towns had been overrun by a marauding mob ‘hell-bent on destruction’.
Look at these newspaper articles. What do you think might have happened? Why?
Related pieces of crime andMedia presents a distorted Distorted view creates deviance are over reported &view of the level of crime public concern given more prominence than otherwise would have This keeps the issue high on the MORAL PANIC public agenda Police records reinforce The police are more aware The police want something the idea there’s more or sensitive to the problem so done about the problem crime & deviance they discover more crime
My name is StanCohen…whenever you talk aboutmoral panics youmust refer to me and mods and rockers.
Stanley Cohen – Moral PanicsStanley Cohen has termed such occasions of sensationalized mediaalarm ‘moral panics’, a situation in which :“A condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges tobecome defined as a threat to societal values and interests; itsnature presented in a stereotypical fashion by the massmedia.The moral barricades are manned by the editors, bishops, politiciansand other right-thinking people; socially accredited experts pronouncetheir diagnoses and solutions; ways of coping are evolved or (moreoften) resorted to; the condition then disappears, submerges ordeteriorates and becomes more visible (Cohen 1980:9).
Stanley Cohen – Moral Panics In these terms distorted media coverage plays an active role inshaping events. Media attention fans the sparks of an initially trivial incident, creating a self-perpetuating ‘amplification spiral’ which generates phenomena of much greater magnitude and social significance.
Stanley Cohen – Moral Panics Cohen’s case study focused on media representations of the 1960s ‘battles’ between mods and rockers, charting how media intervention gave shape to these groups and crafted them into threatening ‘folk devils’. Moral panic representations often focus on conflict and fighting between different youth groups degenerate behaviour, antisocial practices such as drug taking and sexual promiscuity, and even fashion.
Stanley Cohen – Moral PanicsHippies, Punks, Goths and New Romanticshave all been called degenerate andcriticised by the media in this way. In thiskind of representation, the young are seenas illustrating the moral decline ofsociety as a whole.According to Cohen, youthsubcultures have been subject toprocesses of stigmatization andstereotyping.Ironically, Media intervention gives youthsubcultures not only national exposure butalso a degree of uniformity and definition.
Stanley Cohen – Moral Panics Analysis Task : Look at Cohen’s criteria for creating a moral panic within a newspaper article. Use these points to analyse the newspaper article from 1964.•Title for the article (short, snappy, sensational, lots of alliteration, maybeeven rhymes or play on words).•Focus on acts that are often seen as deviant e.g. sex, drugs, rock and roll•Convey such problem groups as being villains who are possibly trying tothreaten social order•EXAGGERATION – over estimating such features as numbers of peopleand the scale of the damage.•PREDICATION – an inflated account that may give reference to futureevents.•SYMBOLISATION – makes remarks about the dress and style of thedeviants. Visual signs of delinquency e.g. lifestyle, habits etc.
How were young people portrayed during London riots in the summer?
After watching the riots on the TV, what may I thinkabout young people and why?