The age of preadolescence and adolescence, with the inherent fragility in the transition from one period top another, becomes central in Erik Erikson, for whom the difficulty of forming and identity, which crystallizes in the adolescent period, is considered the basis of a whole series of social and political personal (Erikson, 1950: 264) and the negotiated balance between the pressures of the unconscious and those of the external world during the adolescent period will condition the identity equilibrium of the future adult (Connell, 2002). The issue is even further complicated when we choose to combine the concept of identity with the specific "gender" characterization. According to Stoller (1968) the progressive construction of the personality as a whole revolves around feeling male or female. To understand, therefore, gender identity, we cannot avoid studying the continuous intertwining of other "identities" related to race, generation, class, etc. (Bottomley, 1992). All this leads to a conception of identity as a "plurality" determined biologically, socially, culturally, and temporally. Now we attempt to add to this plurality of identities which condition and play a role in the identity of a subject the quality of relationship in society as mediated, among others, by the narratives proposed by shared media texts. Teenagers would store many behavioral media models in memory and retrieve it later in real life situations (Chan, 2014: 5). To investigate these topics, one of the research units of the GEMMA Observatory, Gender and Media Matter of the Department of Communication and Social Research of Sapienza University of Rome, previously did in the study of gender representations in television entertainment (Gavrila in Buonanno, 2014), which focused on the effect of media on the construction of the gender identity of adolescents. A dual perspective was chosen: on the one hand the study investigated the self-narration of adolescents through four focus groups with girls (10-14 years) living in Rome, and on the other, an interview with the parents of the these adolescents about their children’s media behaviors, possible identification strategies with the characters of the star system, expectations for the future, possible conditioning imposed on the children. Especially in interpreting the results of the firs part of the investigation, it was decided to follow a scheme already used by Kara Chan (2014), comparing the size of the expectations and their project for the future ("What girls would like to be or would not like to be") with that of being and daily practices ("What girls would like or would not like to do"). The dominant dimension in this phase of life, guided by aspirations and objectives increasingly cultivated by media fruition, is that of identification with the physical models, lifestyles and behavior of current celebrities. Aspects related to personality, skills and vocation (talent), physical appearance, manners/ odes of behavior and relationships, healthy or dangerous lifestyles are often mirrored in the reference media texts for adolescents involved in the survey In fact, the adolescents have mentioned numerous Italian television wellness reality shows in which the protagonists are subjected to immense physical and psychological pressures to lose weight. The formats come, in most cases, from abroad, above all the United States and Great Britain, and have success with the public. These dimensions all flow into the transition to adulthood, into the so-called erotic capital which is still incipient in the attitudes of adolescents and their relationship of identification and imitation of celebrities. Therefore, to this arsenal of symbolic behaviors that boys and girls externalize and recognize in the television scene, a dimension that is anything but residual, proof of the centrality assumed by the external aspect, crystallized in the theories on the existence of an erotic capital, is added: «A mix as undefinable as fundamental of beauty, sex appeal, the ability to present oneself, and interpersonal skills: a mixture of physical and social attractions making some men and some women companions and agreeable colleagues, generally welcome to all members of society to which they belong, and in particular to the opposite sex "(Hakim, 2011: 3). One aspect to highlight is that the girls interviewed show a substantial unawareness about the real repercussions of the media and celebrities in their lives, as factor in the construction of their identities. It is a datum that must be filtered in the light of an age in which the predisposition to self-reflexivity, the ability to give voice to emotions, and the ability to make connections between media contents, aspirations and self-perception, are still fairly immatures. Especially the focus groups with adolescents illustrate the imaginative aspirations and ambitions that are presented through allusions and evocative references typical of developing identities and which, most probably, will acquire a better-defined shape and structure once these identities reach that extra awareness that only time and interaction with the institutions as school and family can help to build.

Adolescenti. Il prisma dei generi tra media system e rivolta contro le istituzioni / Gavrila, Mihaela. - (2020), pp. 130-156.

Adolescenti. Il prisma dei generi tra media system e rivolta contro le istituzioni

Gavrila, Mihaela
2020

Abstract

The age of preadolescence and adolescence, with the inherent fragility in the transition from one period top another, becomes central in Erik Erikson, for whom the difficulty of forming and identity, which crystallizes in the adolescent period, is considered the basis of a whole series of social and political personal (Erikson, 1950: 264) and the negotiated balance between the pressures of the unconscious and those of the external world during the adolescent period will condition the identity equilibrium of the future adult (Connell, 2002). The issue is even further complicated when we choose to combine the concept of identity with the specific "gender" characterization. According to Stoller (1968) the progressive construction of the personality as a whole revolves around feeling male or female. To understand, therefore, gender identity, we cannot avoid studying the continuous intertwining of other "identities" related to race, generation, class, etc. (Bottomley, 1992). All this leads to a conception of identity as a "plurality" determined biologically, socially, culturally, and temporally. Now we attempt to add to this plurality of identities which condition and play a role in the identity of a subject the quality of relationship in society as mediated, among others, by the narratives proposed by shared media texts. Teenagers would store many behavioral media models in memory and retrieve it later in real life situations (Chan, 2014: 5). To investigate these topics, one of the research units of the GEMMA Observatory, Gender and Media Matter of the Department of Communication and Social Research of Sapienza University of Rome, previously did in the study of gender representations in television entertainment (Gavrila in Buonanno, 2014), which focused on the effect of media on the construction of the gender identity of adolescents. A dual perspective was chosen: on the one hand the study investigated the self-narration of adolescents through four focus groups with girls (10-14 years) living in Rome, and on the other, an interview with the parents of the these adolescents about their children’s media behaviors, possible identification strategies with the characters of the star system, expectations for the future, possible conditioning imposed on the children. Especially in interpreting the results of the firs part of the investigation, it was decided to follow a scheme already used by Kara Chan (2014), comparing the size of the expectations and their project for the future ("What girls would like to be or would not like to be") with that of being and daily practices ("What girls would like or would not like to do"). The dominant dimension in this phase of life, guided by aspirations and objectives increasingly cultivated by media fruition, is that of identification with the physical models, lifestyles and behavior of current celebrities. Aspects related to personality, skills and vocation (talent), physical appearance, manners/ odes of behavior and relationships, healthy or dangerous lifestyles are often mirrored in the reference media texts for adolescents involved in the survey In fact, the adolescents have mentioned numerous Italian television wellness reality shows in which the protagonists are subjected to immense physical and psychological pressures to lose weight. The formats come, in most cases, from abroad, above all the United States and Great Britain, and have success with the public. These dimensions all flow into the transition to adulthood, into the so-called erotic capital which is still incipient in the attitudes of adolescents and their relationship of identification and imitation of celebrities. Therefore, to this arsenal of symbolic behaviors that boys and girls externalize and recognize in the television scene, a dimension that is anything but residual, proof of the centrality assumed by the external aspect, crystallized in the theories on the existence of an erotic capital, is added: «A mix as undefinable as fundamental of beauty, sex appeal, the ability to present oneself, and interpersonal skills: a mixture of physical and social attractions making some men and some women companions and agreeable colleagues, generally welcome to all members of society to which they belong, and in particular to the opposite sex "(Hakim, 2011: 3). One aspect to highlight is that the girls interviewed show a substantial unawareness about the real repercussions of the media and celebrities in their lives, as factor in the construction of their identities. It is a datum that must be filtered in the light of an age in which the predisposition to self-reflexivity, the ability to give voice to emotions, and the ability to make connections between media contents, aspirations and self-perception, are still fairly immatures. Especially the focus groups with adolescents illustrate the imaginative aspirations and ambitions that are presented through allusions and evocative references typical of developing identities and which, most probably, will acquire a better-defined shape and structure once these identities reach that extra awareness that only time and interaction with the institutions as school and family can help to build.
Genere e Media. Non solo Immagini. Soggetti, politiche rappresentazioni
9788891791016
adolescenti; identità; media; celebrities; istituzioni
02 Pubblicazione su volume::02a Capitolo o Articolo
Adolescenti. Il prisma dei generi tra media system e rivolta contro le istituzioni / Gavrila, Mihaela. - (2020), pp. 130-156.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1366665
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