As we near our discussion of adolescents, one of the major components that stood out the most during this semester was the practice of communication. It’s not just about parents communicating with their child, but its how these teenagers are communicating with each other. So often we hear about bullying, sexting, and just off the wall things that teenagers are doing now and the messages, physical and social, are shaping the culture that they are growing up in.
In Gender and Globalization: Super Girls, Gangstas, Freeters, and Xenomaniacs : Gender and Modernity in Global Youth Cultures, there is a section in chapter one that talks about how teen boys and girls communicate with each other using their mobile phones. The chapter talks about how they send each other “bips” which would be our form of text messages. Face-to-face conversation seems to still be the most popular form of communication for teenagers, especially girls, as of 2012.
We know now that texting, video chatting, and social media are the most preferred way of communication of teenagers in 2015. But what the chapter references is the relationship that is formed or are expected to be formed when these bips or messages are sent to someone of the opposite sex. These youth were under the wrong impression from a sociological perspective.
What the chapter showed is a very hegemonic masculine outlook of the way relationships and communication should be formed between two people. The guy isn’t supposed to bip first but if he receives a bip he his expected to reply. In their society and much like ours if the guy makes the first move either the girl loves it and thinks he is the best thing in the world or the women would reject him and his friends would make fun of him or tell him he doesn’t have what it takes.
It seems as though everyone has this idea that no one can be just friends I society. There is always a push for some type of sexual advance between boy and girl that cell phones have created. The cell phone is used as a tool to help shape relationships, especially when a boy is to send a bip or text.
The example that they use is the scenario in low income Jamaica. The men are using the phones to gain women and the women are using the phones to gain favors from the men. The men feel that they have an advantage over the women because it is socially acceptable or celebrated for those who have a cell phone. It is a status thing for them. The author goes on to say that cell phones in a way give men the idea that they are in control over women.
When we think about how cell phones are used today, even in our generation, a lot of individuals abuse the device. The youth will get so immersed in the phone that they lose sense of what a real face-to-face conversation is like. With media like twitter, instagram, and even the adlibbing apps, both males and females are able to express what they think they want to be involved in. in other words, there are so many posts on the internet of what beauty is supposed to be and what guys should look for in a girl, that its seems to be mistaken about what a real relationship is all about.
I would agree that the cell phone generation has a lot to learn. The freedom that comes with having a phone is what trips everyone up. Yes, the youth of today and even the people in Jamaica all have this expectation of what to do with a phone. The girl is to accept that call or text, and the guy gains credibility by holding a conversation or making advances towards a girl. But as I mentioned before, its never about being just friends anymore. Everything has to be a reason and everything is always about sexual interactions as explained in the chapter.
Until reading this chapter I didn’t realize how much we sexualize everything we do. And I’m not just talking about the physical actions. It’s the idea of gender divide between women and men and what each are supposed to do in our society. Both men and women are criticized for their actions but I believe that men have it harder because they don’t want to seem soft. They put on a front and either don’t text, or take a while replying because they don’t want to seem anxious to talk to a girl. If they make the first move then the intentions are negative in some eyes.
Most importantly, we have to realize that in our society, and I think this goes for the world too, we cannot move forward in trying to change this idea of communication unless we understand that communication is way more than a text or a phone call. It’s physical, mental, and emotion communication that we have to teach the teenagers. But adults have a hard time with doing that so there will be some issues when trying to explain that to a younger generation.