October 2002
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"Who's Hot and Who's Not"
By Jennifer Wu, Roncalli Central High, Port Saunders, NL

Hot guys… Hot girls… there are tons of them milling around. How do you determine who's hot and who's not? Girls who resemble Britney Spears are hot. And guys who look like Brad Pitt are hot. Okay, easy enough. Oh, but wait—not everyone looks like Brad and Britney.

Media plays a big role when it comes to teens perfecting their image. And the opinions of teens' peers add to that pressure. "I think that most teenagers feel pressure from TV and stuff and try to look better than everyone else," says Ann Gould, a student from Roncalli High in Port Saunders. "Sometimes I just wish that I could be someone else other than me, and I think a lot of people who change their looks a lot because of TV and stuff don't really like themselves for who they are. I never try to change myself because I remember that people like me for me and no one else."

"I don't watch a whole lot of TV but when you do, you see these really beautiful actresses who are supposed to portray us regular teens. And sometimes, you see these really pretty girls on TV who, well, always gets the guys. For some people, seeing that makes us feel inferior because we're not as beautiful, and we want to be. I guess the media hasn't really affected me much because I stay away from too much TV, but some people are strongly influenced by it," states teen Jada Patey from River of Ponds.

Our standards of what makes a person hot are greatly influenced by TV, movies, and magazines. These teen fashion magazines that many teen girls have delivered to their doorsteps every month, with headlines like "LOOK HOT!" and "BE A SEXY BLOND IN 10 MINUTES!" promote physical change. What's so wrong about the way we look now? Magazines and other forms of media tell us what to look like. Although many of us may laugh it off, on the flip side, quite a number of us are reaching for the hair dye and skanky tops in order to be that sexier person.

"I think it's really sad what they print in magazines. They say that they're all about promoting the way you already are, but they're obviously not," explains student Lindsey House. "I see way too many young girls trying to change their image, and copying stuff from magazines they read. Magazines claim they really are about promoting self-love, but then why would they print so many self-improvement articles? I don't like the message it sends out to us. And their models are sticks! That makes some us of feel real bad."

Okay, sure, no one's going to admit that they ‘try' to look like someone else. But the sad reality is that we do. We want to get noticed, in a good way. And there's no better way to get attention from your friends and to get noticed by your crush than to look desirable.

"I guess a lot of people try to look different to look more attractive, or try to be more popular, and to fit in with the crowd. Because no one wants to be made fun of for not looking good," Jada adds.

"Yeah, I do see a lot of really good looking females on TV, and I see girls in my classes looking through those magazines all the time, and trying to imitate the looks. It's funny that they go through all the trouble to look good by being someone they're not," laughs Jeremy Hatcher, student at Roncalli High.

"But guys try to change themselves too," argues Lindsey. "Well, there's a lot of pressure on teens in general to look different—to be better than what you already are like. The media plays too much of a role when it comes to the way we look at ourselves, and at other people."

Jada and Lindsey also both agree that we shouldn't base our looks and judge other people in accordance to what the media tells us. "What I do, is not think about what anyone else is like, especially not people on TV or models in magazines. I just concentrate on being me, and I think that's the first step to building enough self-confidence to really be happy about who you are." Now, that's what's hot.

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