troperville

tools

toys

SubpagesLaconic
Main
PlayingWith

main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Hormone-Addled Teenager
"I'm seventeen. 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 implication 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 No Hugging, No Kissing. See also Bratty Teenage Daughter and Dumbass Teenage Son.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     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, especially on the fashion-obsession front.
  • 13 Going on 30, 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 Seeker, 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 Jerk Ass who immediately wants to use his newfound powers to get a girl.
  • The daughter in Legion before all heaven breaks loose.

    Literature 
  • By means of obvious subtext, this is Older Than Print: The narrators of Boccaccio's The Decameron are three men and seven women between the ages of fourteen and twenty-seven. An inordinate number of the hundred stories involve sex in some way—including several told by the women. And most scholars agree that at a minimum, all three of the guys are actively trying to get into at least one of the girls' pants—in the case of the wit/possible Author Avatar Dioneo, he's probably trying to get into all of their pants. And some of the girls seem like they might let them. (Yes it's the Middle Ages, but it's also the height of the Plague—the kids are unsupervised and Plague does funny things to traditional morality. Also, late-medieval Florence had...unusual...sexual mores for its day.)
    • A couple of the actual stories have this as well.
  • 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.
  • 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." When asked directly if she's sexually active she admits to being a virgin but states that she has "explored" all the other bases (this is admitted to after she openly propositions Harry). 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.
  • In Bryan Miranda's The Journey to Atlantis, this is basically the main character's reason for most of what he does. Although it's not all hinged on it, it's the reason he goes to such lengths to appear to be The Hero.
  • Zoey from The House of Night could be the poster girl for this. The Big Bad is even Genre Savvy enough to use this against Zoey.
  • For the most part averted in The Hunger Games. Katniss and Peeta do spend a whole lot of time making out but it's mostly an act because their lives depend on selling the "Star-Crossed Lovers" story. Peeta never presses his advantages when they are alone and even spends many nights sharing her bed but being perfectly chaste, and Katniss never implies that he appears to want to do more than that. The first two books only have two moments where Katniss lets her hormones take control and in the third book she's got a war to worry about (until the end where she sleeps with Peeta and then declares her love for him). Gale plays this trope fairly straight however.

    Live Action TV 
  • That 70's Show plays this straight but lampshades it frequently. In one episode, it's shown that the only thing that doesn't turn Eric on is the thought of adults having sex.
  • Alien Nation: Emily is rather eager to find out, how it would be to "do it" with a human, until she finds out that her human boyfriend only wants her for sex.
  • 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.
    • Sort of subverted, in that the first of the two daughters to lose their virginity was the studious "good" daughter.
  • 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 Who's 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 skankily, 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.
  • 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.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Cordelia 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.
    • Also, as per the current page quote, Xander.
      • When Buffy reads Xander's mind...
    Xander: "What am I going to do? I think about sex all the time. Sex. Help. Four times five is thirty. Five times six is thirty-two... Naked girls. Naked women. Naked Buffy. Oh, stop me!"
    Buffy: "God, Xander! Is that all you think about?!"
  • 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. Jessi, being the Soap Box Sadie, is the biggest aversion.
  • 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!

    Music 

    Toys 
  • Barbie took a lot of flak for this for years, especially in one of her 'talking' iterations, where her phrases included things like "Let's go shopping!" and "Math is hard!" A group called Barbie Liberation took matters into their own hands to rectify that, swapping out Barbie's voice boxes with ones from G.I. Joe, so Barbie instead said things like "Vengeance is mine!" and "Eat Lead Cobra!". Girls Need Role Models indeed.
    • 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 


High School SweetheartsTeenage TropesJunior High
Hollywood AtheistOlder Than PrintI Call Him 'Mister Happy"
His Own Worst EnemyCharacter Flaw IndexHorrible Judge of Character
Holy HitmanCharacterization TropesHorrible Judge of Character
Girl-Show GhettoDouble StandardI'm a Man, I Can't Help It

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
39775
5