Thursday, May 1, 2014

Make the Gossip Stop!

          Many controversies have been made over the past few years about the TV series called Gossip Girl, which is based off of the book series. Gossip girl first started airing in 2007 leading their teenage audience to be involved in watching a highly sexual show with underage drinking, partying, and even getting into scandals in and out of school. Gossip Girl’s episodes are encouraging their main characters to act older than their actual screen age and being involved in a type of lateral surveillance that is pushing their characters to grow up at a younger age. Gossip Girl not only promotes sex, alcohol, and constantly breaking rules, but also most importantly enforces their audience to act more mature and in a sense, grow up faster.             

Gossip Girl is about a group of American teens that go through high school together in the Upper East Side of New York. The school they go to is very ritzy and known to have their cliques and problems among their students. The show mainly focuses on Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf who are the “queen bee’s” of their school. Blair has her own posse and seems to wrap every single person around her finger, or at least tries to. On the other hand, Serena is trying to get out of her old habits of partying, getting into trouble, and hooking up with random people. Throughout the shows seasons, Blair and Serena have a consistent rocky relationship yet seem to be best friends. The two get into scandals with each other and backstab others along the way.  There was a website that talked about the shows reviews and it said, “Suicide, eating disorders, rape, infidelity, casual sex, and more are all part of the story, but they're rarely addressed in constructive or realistic ways.”
 In each episode of Gossip Girl the cast is always dressed very label-obsessed wearing designer clothes and each person acts materialistic, having the latest and greatest brands. The actual show itself is very unrealistic compared to the normal high school student. Unlike Gossip Girl, normal teenagers are wearing clothes from American Eagle instead of Fendi or Michael Kors.  In the show they are wearing ties almost everyday, high-end brands, and being driven around town in a limo is seen as normal for the teens in Gossip Girl.

Not only does this show displays to their teenage audience that the rich life is something great and a priviledge to have, but they are always promoting to act ten years older than you really are. The language that each character uses is very advanced and not your average high schooler. You wouldn’t hear high schoolers talking about the social event that they are going to attend and then going to a red carpet appearance after. It’s just not what you would hear, ever. The actors in Gossip Girl talk in a sophisticated way and also their appearance seems older than they really are.
The main objective that I’ve realized is how Gossip Girl has a huge lateral surveillance, which justifies a reason for why the viewers comprehend growing up faster. From the article by Mark Andrejevic he writes about lateral surveillance, risk, and governance that is brought up to our attention in the media and in everyday life. He stated that lateral surveillance means, “Lateral surveillance is peer monitoring arguing that in a climate of perceived risk and savvy skepticism individuals are increasingly adopting practices associated with marketing and law enforcement to gain information about friends, family members, and prospective love interests.” This in fact is true in terms of Gossip Girl and the young viewers of the show. It perceives the motive to be someone who you aren’t and act in a way that the characters are. It’s scary how many young viewers think it’s okay to act this way and become someone that acts five or ten years older then they really are.
In an article by it says how Gossip Girl not only promotes alcohol in their show but also demonstrates scandals and sexuality in between their characters. In the article it says how, “These teens do have sex, some of them do indulge in casual drug use, and our beloved Chuck (Ed Westwick) did ponder date rape in the very first episode.  However, the PTC seems to have a naive view of how innocent real teenagers actually are.  I doubt any impressionable youngsters discovered "OMFG" for the first time by watching the CW, and I'd hope that most kids are raised well enough not to snort coke and have threesomes just because they saw it on TV.” PTC stands for Parent Television Council, their main objective is to look out for the younger viewers and create a more controlled censorship for younger generations on television. Gossip Girl shows a lot of things underage kids should never encounter and it promotes that usage of drugs, alcohol, and the mindset that if somethings bad for you it wont “kill” you.  
            Gossip Girl seems to be getting more parents upset about the way they market their show. Gossip Girl had an ad known as the “OMFG ad” which made parents uproar with outrage after viewing it. In an article I found it said, Gossip Girl got a lot of publicity when they ran their "OMFG" ad campaign to get more kids to watch the show. If you need it spelled out that stands for "Oh my f**king God." All of this may be hilarious to Alloy and Channel One executives since they are making money off this filth, but most parents would be offended by almost everything involved with Gossip Girl.” The show itself upsets parents and viewers for what they are not only promoting during the shows but the ads that are related to the show seem to have a negative effect to their viewers.  
In another article that was talking about how the TV series is problematic for teens that watch or read the books because they have a hard time seeing the difference between real life versus fiction. They feel this could potentially be how life is in the rich Upper East Side and can’t justify the difference. Gossip Girl is also promoting teens to grow up faster than they really need to. The article stated that, “The problem is that many of the girls who read the book are in elementary school and middle school and cannot differentiate reality from fiction, Cohen-Sandler said. When they are older, they can see how the books exaggerate things and also see the consequences of partaking in drugs, sex and gossip.”
After all, Gossip Girl is yes, a fictional series that demonstrates the life of the superficial in the Upper East Side. Yet, viewers  have a hard time relating to such characters and they continue to look up to being either Blair or Serena in actual life. Isn’t the life of the rich and famous what every girl wants? No. Instead of over the top sex scandals or seeing drugs being used on television I think that they should have toned down their drama and incorporated things that the viewers could relate to and understand. Instead of being forced to grow up, we need to learn how to enjoy the life  as it is.

Works Cited (image) (image)

1 comment:

  1. This is a very interesting blog as I was a huge gossip girl fan myself when it was first released. I also read the books when I was in middle school before the show came out when I was in high school and there are many differences between the books and the show (the show being 10 times more extreme). Since I watched the show as a high schooler I never thought much of it but I can see your point that as a middle schooler watching this show would begin to establish high expectations for high school (even though high school is NOTHING like it is for these Gossip Girl characters). I wonder why they decided to place the characters to be in high school rather than in college (where drugs, alcohol, sex, socials, larger vocabulary, etc. are a lot more prevalent)? Overall, good post!


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