Our “Distorted” Generation

Adeline Davis

In the 1950s, Elvis Presley shocked the world with his deep voice and literally swinging hips. In fact, these hips became well known for causing hysteric teen girls to faint. Back then, Elvis Presley symbolized youth. His new style of music sparked teen interest, encouraging them to branch out from their previously sheltered lives, escaping into a world of rock and new culture. Nearly 50 years later, our society has found itself in yet another culture shock. However, instead of a mass Elvis Pelvis obsession, teens are now engrossed in a fictional world of vampire fangs, werewolves, and the occasional corrupted Utopia.

Back in Presley’s glory days, not all of society shared the same teenage girl obsession. Instead, Presley’s hips and guitar plucking abilities put the parents of the swooning teens on edge. In their eyes, his risqué persona and alien music style corrupted their daughters’ minds. In today’s current fandom, a similar reaction has surfaced.  The newest teen Utopia film Divergent, premiered in theaters on March 21, topping the box office with $54.6 million in less than a week. Despite the films successful earnings, it received 2 out of 5 stars on Rotten Tomatos and received criticism from multiple reviewers. Film critic Eric D. Snider described Divergent as “nothing more than facile, easily digested teenage wish-fulfillment based on a shaky futurist premise.”

To the older generations, these dark and warped plotlines are ridiculous fairy tales which teens spend too much time obsessing over. Similar to the Presley days, critics and parents cannot seem to fully wrap their minds around the idea of romances between mortals and vampires or the intense utopian societys displayed in numerous bestsellers. However, also similar to Presley, these “corrupted” books and films continue to make money.

When Twilight- Breaking Dawn Part 2 came out, the film ended up making a whopping $340.9 million worldwide. Part of the reason for the Twilight saga’s huge fandom is the fact that teen girls worship the characters Edward and Jacob. In the series, these two male protagonists make it their duty to protect Bella at any cost. Let’s face it, in a society where chivalry is dying, teen girls are bound to eat this up like junk food. Justas Presley awakened a want in the teenage girls of his time; our society’s teen girl generation holds this same want through these vampire and werewolf book characters. Sure enough, The City of Bones, The Hunger Games, and The Divergent series feed girls a similar image of male heroes willing to protect the female lead. At the same time, Clary from The City of Bones, Katniss from the Hunger Games, and Tris from Divergent mange to hold an amazing amount of tenacity. Face it, when authors give girls a hot guy and girl power, the fandom is bound to increase.

If only our society’s older generations understood why these obsessions were important. They may view them as corrupted and weird, but to the younger generations, their obsessions hold a purpose. When older generations make negative remarks about our generations’ current fandom, they do not realize that this fandom provides our youth with strength and dreams for the future. Elvis Presley inspired millions of girls with his shaking pelvis, why is it a crime for our inspiration to come from the dark yet thrilling plotlines of books? These plotlines symbolize us. The youth of the 21st century.