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"I'm sixteen. Looking at linoleum makes me think about sex."

It seems in most fiction, be it TV, films or literature, a teenage heroine automatically wants to wear provocative clothes, date sleazy guys, do poorly in school and otherwise give her father a reason to be an Overprotective Dad. If she doesn't actually do anything like that, she still secretly wants to. A lot of shows made in recent years will have a secondary character avert this by being a tomboy or otherwise ostensibly uninterested in "girly" things, but even most of them secretly drool over guys, because in writer-land there's no such thing as a girl who isn't obsessed with boys (or very occasionally other girls). If she's not interested in fashion at the start, she usually gets an Unnecessary Makeover and subsequently winds up dating the male lead.

A girl is seldom allowed to be realistically uncomfortable with her changing body, or want to maybe stay a child a little longer, especially in things made within the last decade. In Real Life, many young teenage girls have trouble adjusting to their changing bodies and the resultant shift in attention they receive, do not look forward to having a period, and/or are simply disinterested in boys until they reach their later adolescence. In fiction, a 'late bloomer' is almost universally used only if she's going to become interested in boys and clothes, with the Unfortunate Implications that there's something wrong with any girl who doesn't, or that a girl is 'incomplete' without a boy.

This is an unfortunate side effect of the concept of Most Writers Are Male, and so simply have little to no understanding about how teenage girls actually work, unless they are both skilled and intelligent. Books by female writers, especially those that are actually aimed at a teenage audience, can actually be better at averting this than adult media that contain a teenage character.

Teenage boys almost always fall victim to the 'obsessed with the other sex' trope, which becomes fairly unrealistic when the boy in question is still a preteen. Boys tend to be portrayed as spending much if not all their brain-power on getting/dating/impressing girls, when in Real Life most have hobbies and a life outside of skirt-chasing (especially younger boys, unless they're early bloomers). If the writer is male, though, they typically become better-thought-out actual characters, and some female writers can handle male characters better than male writers with female.

(Younger) Sister Trope of All Women Are Lustful and All Men Are Perverts. As with adult characters, there's no such thing as Asexuality, and there are almost always No Bisexuals, especially among teen males. Older female teens will (very rarely) be allowed to be bi, but again that's because Most Writers Are Male. This trope comes from the same sort of mindset as Everybody Has Lots of Sex, since both tropes assume that involvement with the opposite sex is highly important to everyone, but usually not alongside it except in a particularly risqué depiction of the high school setting.

Though this is taken to severe extremes in fiction, many adults and even some teenagers (and this DOES vary by community) will agree that this is Truth in Television far too often. Its opposite is Chaste Teens.

Examples of Hormone-Addled Teenager include:


Anime and Manga

Film

  • Played straight in Mean Girls, of course, but the movie is also a satire.
  • She's All That turns the female lead partly into this, complete with Unnecessary Makeover. It still possesses a good Aesop about staying true to who you are, though, even if it's slightly undermined by the implication that you still need to look like everyone else.
  • The Bratz movie is a particularly Egregious offender on the fashion-obsession front, but that movie is an Egregious offender against humanity.
  • Thirteen Going On Thirty, though not so much on the dating front. Definitely fits the fashion-obsession angle, though.
  • Amy Dolenz's character in the Tony Danza film She's Out of Control.
  • Male example in the film adaptation of The Dark Is Rising. In the books, Will is a thoughtful eleven-year-old who's described as 'wise for his years'. In the movie, he's a fourteen-year-old Jerkass who immediately wants to use his newfound powers to get a girl.
  • The daughter in Legion before all heaven breaks loose.


Literature

  • Played straight in Dean Koontz's Phantoms, where it's specifically said that the fourteen-year-old girl is 'at that stage where most girls were obsessively concerned with boys, boys above all else' and opens the book with her arguing with her older sister about dating. She gains more personality as the story goes on, however.
  • Played extremely straight in Twilight; all Bella does is obsess over Edward and how perfect he is. Most of the other female characters aren't much better. Edward is just as bad (if not worse, given his stalker-ish tendencies), and practically every other male thinks about little besides Bella.
    • One of the harshest criticisms leveled against New Moon is Bella's reaction to Edward leaving her, which includes pages left blank for the first four months he's gone, implying that without him her life is literally nothing.
  • Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.. In all fairness, it was written in 1970, when discussing things like periods and puberty outside of health class was still somewhat taboo. Judy Blume was somewhat notorious for tropes like this, which gave a coronary to the Moral Guardians of the day, but back then the intent was to show girls that was all OKAY.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Daenerys suddenly starts acting very hormonal in A Dance with Dragons.
  • Used heartbreakingly in the Lois Lowry YA book A Summer to Die--Molly, the elder sister, is obsessed with boys and the idea of getting married, to the severe annoyance of her younger sister Meg (who is secretly jealous of Molly's boyfriends and good looks). Molly gets sick and Meg at first resents that all her parents' attention is paid to her sister, until she realizes Molly's illness is something serious (it turns out to be leukemia) and she's going to die. Thoughts of boys and weddings help Molly keep some semblance of an idea that she's still a person, not just a terminal patient.
  • In the Discworld "witches" plotline, both Magrat and Verence fall under this trope. As in many of the Discworld books, it's Played for Laughs (and Verence and Magrat are both presumably out of their teens, if not by much.)
  • The Dresden Files (of course): Molly Carpenter is a Perky Goth version of this. When she first becomes important to the story, she's dropped out of school, gotten a bunch of tattoos and piercings, started hanging around with the wrong crowd, and dresses like, in the protagonist's words, "Frankenhooker." She avoids going home whenever possible because any conversation she has with her mother turns into a shouting match inside of ten seconds, and develops a bit of a crush on Harry mostly because her mother hates him. She also started using Black Magic; this, naturally, does not go well. On the plus side, when she ends up as Harry's apprentice, she has to follow his rules moderating the worst of her behavior.
  • In The Red Tent, Dinah looks forward to having her first period (and thus becoming a full-fledged member of the Red Tent's inner circle with her mom and aunts), and undergoing the mysterious Ritual of Opening so that she is considered a woman and not a little girl. When that finally does happen, she actually looks forward to getting her period every month and the New Moon rituals in the tent done at that time.
  • Played painfully straight in Carter Finally Gets It, which is a book about a suspiciously Xander-like boy who's absolutely obsessed with BOOBS, as are all his male friends. This would be mostly acceptable, except that the title character is fourteen.


Live Action TV

  • Given that the murder victim in Twin Peaks is one, it's only natural that the scenes focusing on her high school peers would play out like a high school soap opera about Hormone Addled Teenagers.
  • 8 Simple Rules. Just 8 Simple Rules. The elder daughter in particular is almost as stereotyped as you can get, and a complete airhead to boot.
  • Pick a Disney Channel show. Any Disney Channel show.
  • ICarly follows the "tomboy" aspect to the letter with Sam, but averts the trope as a whole, but does the occasional episode like iDate A Bad Boy or iSaved Your Life, where the trope plays out pretty spot on.
  • Full House, with DJ in particular. Also her friend Kimmy.
  • Ashley in the execrable and short-lived sitcom Two of a Kind.
  • Samantha on Whos the Boss. This really was something of a staple of 1980s/1990s sitcoms. Of course, this invokes the Overprotective Dad trope.
  • Gossip Girl.
  • Dawson's Creek.
  • Tiffany Malloy of Unhappily Ever After is a subversion; while she nearly always dresses to show off her gorgeous body to the boys, she remains a virgin by choice throughout the series.
  • Kelly Bundy of Married... with Children is the Trope Codifier, if not the Ur Example.
    • Satire.
    • Bud qualifies, too.
  • Degrassi the Next Generation is an example of this trope regularly. However, a teacher in the series mentions this trope by name (in an example of Alternate Character Interpretation) talking about Romeo and Juliet should get an honorary mention.
  • Cordelia from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a textbook example. Buffy herself averts it, at first only because her responsibilities as Slayer prevent it, but she grows up as the series goes on.
  • In Season 3 of Outnumbered, a BBC sitcom about a pretty realistic, rather-dysfunctional family, all Jake's storylines involve his new tendency to stare at women, making him pretty lecherous for a 14-year-old.
    • This is probably an attempt to add attributes and plotlines to an otherwise fairly uninteresting character, who is constantly upstaged by the other children on the show.
  • Half the cast of Saved by the Bell, especially Zack, Lisa, and Screech. Jessie, being the Soapbox Sadie, is the biggest aversion. (Though even she's not immune when it comes to Slater.)
  • Blossom tended to feature this, though Six was an example of this to a larger degree than Blossom herself.
  • Discussed on The West Wing:

 Reverend Van Dyke: Show the average American teenage male a condom and his mind will turn to thoughts of lust.

Toby: Show the average American teenage male a lug wrench and his mind'll turn...

C.J.: Toby!

  • Brad Taylor on Home Improvement. Especially when it comes to Heidi the Tool Girl, whom he has a massive crush on.
  • Despite their wholesome Christian upbringing, all of the Camden children were this as teenagers on 7th Heaven.
  • Ephram on Everwood.
  • Becky on Roseanne had several different boyfriends before settling down with Mark. DJ also became this in the last few seasons. Darlene initially seemed to avert the trope...until she and David got serious and couldn't keep their hands off each other.

Music

  • Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun".


Toys

    • Barbie eventually grew out of this with her and her friends gaining personalities and mainly focusing on their goals. (Barbie has acting, Teresa has fashion design, Grace has sports, Summer has writing and so on.)
  • Likewise, the Bratz dolls advocated shopping and fashion as a cure for all of life's woes. To say nothing of their actual appearance and, uh, taste in fashion.


Web Original


Western Animation

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