Media Genres: Genre 03 Teen Films


In what ways do teen films of the 1980s and/or 1990s explore the experiences of generation X? Answer with reference to two or three teen films.


The teen movies are generally those movies which are created to relate with teenager’s life. Teen movies have a genre for the interest of teenagers such as first love, parents’ conflict, and much more. Now days the content that we watch plays a big role in building the personality. We get motivated if we see any sort of motivational and patriotic movie, we want to fall in love after watching the love story in a movie (Bakare & James, 2019). The characters which are shown in the movies impact our lives in various ways.

Characters in the movie influence most of the people to change their own personality as sometimes character’s personalities are so fantasizing for people. We enjoy the content of the movies so much but we never noticed the impact of those movies on ourselves and never got interested in the history of the movies. At early 19th century, movie industry was originated. From there movie industry started to influence the people with the message (Ball, 2019). Movies are the greatest way to provide some social awareness. Even in the history, movies were made not to just entertain the people but also to provide knowledge and social awareness.

Teenagers can be influenced easily by anything in their life. Teenage is the age when a child goes through with many changes such as emotional change and physical change. In this age, the content that teenagers are consuming matters a lot. To shape the teenagers life, there were many teen movies in 1980s and 1990s (Chassiakos & Stager, 2020). In the early times, the actual motive of movies was to provide some message depending upon the situation of the country. During World War I, several governments made the various movies to not to just entertainment but to give the strong message to every resident of the country. During this period there were many movies came like Charlie Chaplin that was a comedy movie and that was made to spread some happiness in between the people.

In the early time each and every movie came with purpose to make everyone learn something (Drushel, 2020). The motive of the movies has always been that people should be entertained with some learning as well. There are many attitudes which are conveyed by the films such as religious, cultural product, race, gender, class and moral values. Earlier the films were also made on the basis of social awareness like women’s right, birth control or race relations and they have undoubtedly made an impact on the society. Many other attitudes were also shown in the films like the role of a woman, nature of war or racial equality. Those characters have made a real effect in the shaping of common assumption.

Generation X which is sometimes shortened as Gen X, were the generation of America who was born in between the mid of 1960s and in the early 1980s. Generation X is the generation which comes between the Millennial and baby boomers. The members of this group used to approach those who were in the middle of their earning and working careers and have the potential to be a peak earner. The generation was on the track to get successful and financially free with their potential (Udofia & Anyim, 2017). The generation wanted to be well prepared for the retirements unlike their parents. The members were not only making themselves successful but also they were searching for those people who have the same potential to achieve and to grow themselves. According to (…), the generation was on the way to become the initial and the first generation that is successful and to be prepared for the retirement.

Some of the major characteristics of Generation X were resourceful, independent and self sufficient. The generation always wanted to be independent on their own by using their own potential (Thompson, 2019). They always strive to do those things which challenged them in a way to do more. The generation was so resourceful; they always wanted to increase the potential of their own individual personalities by increasing and adding the values in their lives. The members never asked for the help from others but only discovered the new things on their own. They were self sufficient as they wanted to do everything on their own (Sonnenberg-Schrank, 2020).

They have discovered many characteristics on the basis of their potential and their personalities which helped them achieving in more in life. Switching gears to the Generation Xers, this is the smallest generation of the four and as a result, we know there will not be enough ‘Gen Xers’ to backfill the traditionalist and ‘Baby Bloomers’ positions. This generation came of the period when the US was in a losing environment: the economy was in a slump, Vietnam and Watergate happened and we saw the domination of the Japanese from an industry standpoint. Consequently, Xers can be cynical and pessimistic about several things, whether it is a basic business decision, discussing political leaders, and most definitely, the economy.

This generation strives to be self-reliant and they value control; not because they are not able to work well with others but they like a sense of autonomy when it comes to work and definitely prefer not to be micromanaged. This generation lived through a great deal of technological changes during their early years. As a result, they are typically very technologically savvy and very open to adapting to technology. This generation saw some of the first computer labs built in their school, they witnessed the evolution of Microsoft and saw the conversion from DOS-based business systems to a window environment (Stern, 2020). This was also one of the first generations to not really see ‘tenure’ as a way to the next level within an organization. They definitely have a higher level of respect for production, intensity as well as knowledge and skills sets over tenure. The experiences that define Generation Xers are Women’s Liberation, terrorist act, Energy crisis, Nuclear Disaster, Fall of Berlin Wall, etc.

The generation had so many good things to inspire but there were several outcomes which came with the generation. Cinemas, from their early days, have a poignant connection with its viewers’ thought process. It won’t be an exaggeration if someone would call Movies as ‘Mirror Views of Society’s Soul’. Movies are the platform to outcast the voices of its makers to a greater number of audiences in an effective manner (Hornor et al., 2020). This could be acted upon as a medium to over-rule the thought process of the targeted audience. Since, the beginning of this Gen Xers was marked after a period when the US government was trying to cut down the Hippie Culture.

The movies of this era a contrast screenplay which on one hand depicts the activities of vagabonded hippies and on the other arm the ideal practices to be done in order to make them “cultured” (Nelson, 2019). As this generation emerged after a lot of wars that incorporated heavy usage of technological arms and gadgets, they happened to be quite open to new technologies and Jargon. This can be marked by scrutinizing the chronology of contemporary Hollywood movies (Schwartz, 2019). A new genre had come in the picture- “Pseudo Sci-fi” that is, Virtual-scientific- fictions- the popular movies under this category were “Weird Science” which aims at fostering healthy relationships and to curb out any relationship-issues. One of the giant names was “Electric Dreams” which inculcated in the insight of automation in the people’s notion which unveiled a great scope of a new paradigm of business with automation tools to aid in our life.

There are many ways such as the consequences of Generation X like increased in the count of divorce cases and hustling for a good life and career which explore the experiences of Generation X. There are many films which were made with the inspiration of Generation X and inspired the teens. There are two major examples of those films and how they have inspired the teens.

1. Reality Bites (1994) –

Reality Bites was released in 1994 and when it came, the media gave some undeniable reasons that this movie has shows the characteristics of Generation X in it and the media was not wrong. Reality bites is based on the friends who were in the college and just graduated and they have just stepped into the reality while finding the job. This movie is one of the masterpieces of Generation X while all the friends face the challenges in finding the job or say in stepping into the adulating. This movie is the typical and the perfect example of Generation X as it has shown the divorced parents. Divorced cases were increased during the Generation X (Hermansson, 2019). Another factor which relates to the Generation X is dead end jobs and selling out.

Characteristics of Generation X were those in which the members make efforts for the success on their own. The generation wanted to be well prepared for the retirements unlike their parents. The members were not only making themselves successful but also they were searching for those people who have the same potential to achieve and to grow themselves. The generation believes in increasing their own potential with the help of nobody (Walderzak, 2019). So, this movie also revolves around the consequences and the characteristics of the Generation X. Every movie has its on impact, this movie also made the impact on the teens of 1990s as it was also based on the Generation X (Robinson, 2019). This movie inspired teen to step out and take actions for being successful in their life and have proper plans for their retirement.

2. The Breakfast Club (1985) –

The breakfast club was released in 1985 and also shown some features which were related to Generation X. The breakfast club is a story of five high-schoolers who were spending the Saturday in detention. Initially they had nothing in mutual but they all have different stereotype such as an athlete, a brain, a criminal, a basket case and a princess. All five characters have different features and different attitudes (Robinson et al., 2009). Initially there was nothing in common between them but when they start to spend the time, they got to know some major parts of their lives common. In the context of Generation X they all have two things common in their lives which are issues with parents and they do not want to end up living like them.

It was as similar as the characteristics of Generation X. The generation never had a desire of living life like their parents. Instead, the generation wanted to be more successful and to be prepared for their retirement. Another characteristic of Generation X was found in this movie was the increase in divorce cases. In this movie all the five American high schoolers have same issue that was their parents were divorced (Hinton, 2018). They all have faced the issue which is the consequence of the Generation X. The major drawback of the Generation X was the issue of increasing in the count of divorce and there were many reasons behind related to the Generation X (Rothoni, 2019). The breakfast club is another masterpiece which was created in the contrast of Generation X and the issues or characteristics related with that generation.

At the end, every phase has its own benefits and losses or say advantages and disadvantages, just like the Generation X has been the same. The generation inspired to be self sufficient and resourceful. The members of the Generation X have always strived for the success and never had desires to live a life like their parents did. The members had this mindset for preparing the better plans for their retirement. But Generation X also came with increase in the count of divorce cases. The main reason behind the increase in the count of divorce was because most of the men were focused on employment (Hill, 2018).

The most conspicuous consequences of evolution of Gen Xers was marked by restoration and foster of healthy relationships which was dismantled by warfare deployment of men- class leaving their better half in solitude. The post-life turned more planned for them in terms of sustainability, ethics and trust. Besides, it lessens the consumption of drugs and other mental simulators. And in all these upgrading the contemporary movies played a role of virtual backbone. It not only mitigated these social illnesses but unveiled a new paradigm for global business.

References for Media Genres

Bakare, L. E., & James, J. A. (2019). Drama-in-education in understanding the contributing factors to aggressive behaviour among teenagers. Gender and Behaviour, 17(2), 12978-12990.

Ball, J. (2019). Sex, drugs, smokes and booze: What's driving teen trends? Describing and explaining trends in adolescent sexual behaviour, cannabis use, smoking and alcohol use in the early 21st century (Doctoral dissertation, University of Otago).

Chassiakos, Y. L. R., & Stager, M. (2020). Current trends in digital media: How and why teens use technology. In Technology and Adolescent Health (pp. 25-56). Academic Press.

Drushel, B. E. (2020). Of Letters and Lists: How the MPAA Puts Films Recommended for LGBTQ Adolescents Out of Reach. Journal of homosexuality, 67(2), 174-188.

Hermansson, C. (2019). Easy A (daptation): Sex, Fidelity, and Constructing the Unknowing-Knowing PG-13 Teen Audience. In The Palgrave Handbook of Children's Film and Television (pp. 55-74). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Hill, L. (2018). Mining the Box: Adaptation, Nostalgia and Generation X. Open Library of Humanities, 4(1).

Hinton, P. R. (2016). The cultural construction of the girl “teen”: A cross-cultural analysis of feminine adolescence portrayed in popular culture. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 45(3), 233-247.

Hornor, G., Sherfield, J., & Tscholl, J. (2020). Teen Knowledge of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. Retrieved from

Nelson, E. H. (2019). The Breakfast Club: John Hughes, Hollywood, and the Golden Age of the Teen Film. Routledge.

Robinson, T., Callister, M., & Magoffin, D. (2009). Older characters in teen movies from 1980–2006. Educational Gerontology, 35(8), 687-711.

Rothoni, A. (2017). The interplay of global forms of pop culture and media in teenagers’‘interest-driven’everyday literacy practices with English in Greece. Linguistics and Education, 38, 92-103.

Schwartz, J. H. (2019). Book Review: The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Teen Literature. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 58(4), 260-261.

Sonnenberg-Schrank, B. (2020). Introduction: Actor-Network Theory at the Movies—Watching Twenty-First Century US Teen Films with Latour. In Actor-Network Theory at the Movies (pp. 1-29). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Stern, S. R. (2005). Self-absorbed, dangerous, and disengaged: What popular films tell us about teenagers. Mass Communication & Society, 8(1), 23-38.

Thompson, S. J. (2019). Cinema: Shazam!: Ambitious teen finds out what's in a name. News Weekly, (3042), 22.

Udofia, N. A., & Anyim, J. S. (2017). Assessing the Impact of Modern Movies on Students—A Prospective Study. Journal of Culture, Society and Development, 31, 1-11.

Walderzak, J. (2019). Man-Candy, Hot Body, and an Army of Skanks: Mean Girls as Revisionist Text and the Teen Film Genre. Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 36(6), 498-519.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Media Assignment Help

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