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Thread: Why are we culturally obssessed with youth/beauty?

  1. #1
    Heroic Warrior Sky Breaker's Avatar
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    Nov 2002

    Why are we culturally obssessed with youth/beauty?

    Its a question that I would like to answer without having the thread moved to the Tar Swamp, but I have a feeling its simply not possible. As a photographer I find myself wanting to shoot what I want to shoot, and most of what I want to shoot are men I find attractive. I choose models 25+ and while I try to flatter them with lighting, oil, and funky clothing. I tend to ease off the Photoshop that seems to be prevalent in magazine covers, finding their natural beauty without creating 'hyper realism' or 'unrealistic beauty'.

    I was recently watching "Robssessed" a documentary on Robert Pattinson's rise to fame. Regardless as to how you feel about Twilight, and the crazy media attention thrown about its cast, this awkwardly handsome, musically gifted young superstar is actually quite talented. I have no shame in stating that I find him interesting. During the documentary I discovered he had his 'start' in the industry as a model. Some photos were shown, and he was approx 16 when shooting. This photos were of him posed in underwear/high boots, and I didn't feel like there was anything particularly fashionable about them. If anything, the shoots were overtly sexual, boring and something that I feel isn't trying to sell me clothing, but rather display a under developed skinny male body.

    So without getting too deep into the feelings glossy pages of half naked boys/girls under the age of 21 may stir in the people who see them, who do you think the intended audience for this material is? There certainly aren't too many 16 year olds out there (outside the upper class) who can line up to buy $100 undies and $2000 boots. So if its the 25-45 year olds with disposable income that are able to afford designer luxury, why is it that it seems these high price point items, require some scantily dressed, immature, underdeveloped body to sell them?

    I have limited experience shooting female models, whose international careers can begin as early as 15 years old. Most of the girls I knew at 15 were still having sleep overs and wondering if they will pass their next math test, and if Buffy will fall in love with Angel, and if that cute boy will talk to them. While the girls I worked with seemed demure and mature for their age, looking back at the photos I took, while they were PG, I feel the models will ultimately be chosen for material I would not feel comfortable producing myself.

    Do my suspicions about the real thought processes behind this material come from a dated moral code that's perhaps a little too 'conservative'? Perhaps the world isn't populated with predators, dying for their pound of flesh. Perhaps there is nothing inherently wrong with people. While the adult entertainment industry is often touted as being negative, reputable studios have stringent rules about the age of participants. 15 does not fly for film, but its perfectly acceptable for overtly suggestive print material. Seems like a terrible double standard.

    Given the cultural shift in the past 20 years in regards to the age of stars in magazines, music and reality tv. Kids open themselves up to the world online via blogs, videos and sometimes they do so in the most shameless of ways, with little consideration for what just may come their way.
    Last edited by Sky Breaker; January 12, 2013 at 03:50am.

  2. #2
    Heroic Warrior wyldman11's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
    There are multiple reasons.

    One of these is adults to tend think that those times were the best times of their lives, when we view the lives we had were much simpler. Especially since much of the high school type drama we experienced we still find in places like the work place even when not dealing with teens. Which is another partial reason some people never seemed to mature beyond that, ironically they think people who read comics, play video games are the immature ones.

    The youthful themselves are part of the problem, even in a day where the economy is like it is to a kid a quarter is like a dragon's treasure trove. You talk to teens you find them saying things like I have a lot of money, I mean a lot. When you find out how much it's a hundred bucks and they think they are rich. They still think making minimum wage is a lot of money. In the case you made a 15/16 year old is going to take less money than adult because they have a different concept of what a lot of money is, partially because they haven't built up the bills yet.

    Some of this is cyclical when you look back through the past.

    there are other reasons also, like the shift in how things are marketed to the younger generations. the fact that as we get older we tend to not get into new stuff, for example ours isn't the first generation to call the music the kids listen to as nothing but noise, this was said of the Beatles, and many other bands and they were also too sexual.
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  3. #3
    Life is good Dice's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    A guy like myself would say that certain mags showcase certain types of models in order to attract a certain demographic.

    Beauty now, that's something people find in many types of things. For instance I find great beauty in nature. I can find beauty in a well performed piece of music. And I can most definitely find the beauty in the smile of a woman.

    Are we obsessed? Or do we just like what we like?

  4. #4
    Heroic Warrior mbaker's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    I think we, as A society are shallow like that. It would help if most of what's targeted to the younger generation had substance, but these days, it's few, and far between. I would probably go into another tired diatribe about how MTV, Disney Channel, and E! panders to young girls with things that bring out the worst in them, or that marketing types pander to today's youth trying very hard to be 'hip, cool, and totally in they're faces' without any regard for substance, but I would say that a lack of substance, and shameless pandering is part of the reason why I'm so delusional, and why I continue to pine for my glory days when things made more sense. I wouldn't be surprised that Elvis, and The Beetles were frowned upon by older folks the same way that 'Twilight', and Justin Beiber are today. Sure, my inner cynic assumes that Beiber will probably fade away much sooner than later, but if he can pull a 'Mark Whalberg', I'll be very surprised.
    Last edited by mbaker; August 28, 2013 at 12:22pm.

  5. #5
    Heroic MI-6 Agent He-Manis007's Avatar
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    Because to be older means to be closer to death.
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  6. #6
    Heroic Warrior
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    Jul 2002
    "Are we obsessed? Or do we just like what we like?"

    You tell me , Carrie Bradshaw

    Yup , the parents back then didn't care for Elvis at all.....I saw a clip of a mom and she thought it was devil music or something

    "Because to be older means to be closer to death"

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  7. #7
    Heroic Warrior
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    Jul 2007
    because it passes the time and we have nothing better to do?

  8. #8
    Clown Prince of Darkness Benedict Judas Hel's Avatar
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    The Ninth Level of Hell plotting my slow and painful revenge on the brightly sunlit world...
    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Breaker View Post
    Why are we culturally obssessed with youth/beauty?
    The fear of Death.
    "Wheresoever on earth he dwells, man is prey to two weaknesses: the need to pray and the need to love."-Marquis de Sade

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  9. #9
    ▄ber Fan Adam_Prince of Eternia's Avatar
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    May 2001
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    Are we just conflating youth with beauty and love with duty?

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