In many children’s TV shows the female characters have ridiculously long hair. I remember growing up feeling envious of many Disney star’s beautiful, voluptuous hair. I’d wonder why I was cursed with dry and frizzy curls that grew out rather than down. As I grew older I learned that a majority of celebrities obtained super long hair by having a professional stylist and extensions. Essentially, I learned that it was all an illusion.
Having super long hair isn’t the problem. The problem is that we have adults with perfect hair and fully formed bodies playing teenagers on television. There are millions of kids, generally 12 and under, watching shows with adults playing teens. Kids compare themselves to these adults thinking that’s how they should look. Big Time Rush, a kid’s show on Nickelodeon, has the four main characters played by guys in their twenties. The characters on the show claim to be sixteen. That a huge physical maturity gap. As a result, children are growing up thinking that by the time they are sixteen they should have the physique of a twenty-one year old.
There are many factors of low self esteem in adolescents, but this age gap exhibited in TV shows certainly doesn’t help. I don’t want girls feeling pressured to conform to stereotypical femininity and I don’t want boys feeling insecure because their masculinity doesn’t match up to what the media displays as “normal”. Older teens and adults may understand that what is presented on TV is fake, but younger kids have a harder time noticing the difference. TV studios should hire more realistic actors for their shows targeted at younger audiences, but more importantly parents should talk to their kids about telling the difference between the fiction displayed on television and reality.