Case Study: Adolescent Observation
Olivia, Mckenzie, Jerry and Mak are 14-year old Caucasian girls that appear to be at least middle class. My observation of the girls take place at Midland Mall during a Saturday afternoon.
The girls appear nice and outgoing. They said that they are students at Nimitz Junior High in Odessa, and all are in pre-AP classes with all A’s and plan to take AP and Dual Credit in high school.
They are all dressed very similarly with black leggings, a large t-shirt, scrunchies or hair ties that are not on their hair but on their wrists, and either converse or vans sneakers. The girls seem energetic, especially Olivia and Mak, since they a little jumpy and overtly excited. When entering Pacsun and American Eagle all the girls, except Jerry, rushed in almost as if it was a race. Jerry, however, just laughed at their behavior and excitement, it’s possible that Jerry could be the one to have a more mature presence in the group.
While Mak and Mckenzie talked amongst themselves and their groups quite a bit, Jerry and Olivia would be on their phones and get distracted from their conversations. They would also just be on social media a lot on their phones during my observation. Olivia and Jerry would show their friend group anything online that they thought was funny, like memes and Twitter posts. Mak and Mckenzie were not visibly angry when their friends were distracted by their phones, they might already be used to it by now. The girls will also quote a lot from pop culture and social media. Saying things like “Chris is that a weed!? I’m calling the police!” out of the blue. As well as “hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife” and singing along to a lot of the songs that played in the stores. They also used a long of today’s slang in their conversations, such as “omg tea” “that’s not it sis” and “that’s on period boo”. The girls also referred to each other as “shishters”. They never split from one another, even when going to the bathrooms. They stayed together as a group.
After shopping for approximately an hour and a half, they went to the food court. However, they did not buy any sustainable food, instead they got snacks, like a pretzel and cookies. None of the girls finished their snacks, instead they threw it away after a couple bites and complained that they needed to work it off after. This surprised me since all the girls were already slender and skinny. They continued to drink their water that they also bought at the food court. They seemed almost unhappy while eating. For the remainder of my observation they smiled and laughed the entire time. They seem to be having the time of their lives shopping together after the food court. It was as if they were in their own little friendship bubble. However, when they would need to interact with stranger, such as checking out and bumping into someone on accident, they were polite and kind. This concludes my observation of the girls.
I’ve decided to mainly focus on the girl’s eating habits as my research topic. Like earlier mentioned, the girls did not appear to eat a lot and still feel negatively and guilty of when they did eat. Many teenage girls around the ages of 13-19 especially have morphed body image and distortion ( Hisam, Rahman, & Mashhadi). Adolescent girls are more likely to have a negative body image and body dissatisfaction. (Andrew, Tiggemann, & Clark). This seems to be true in my observation of the girls as they did not seem to enjoy eating and felt like they needed to work out after eating so little. This was the only time during my observation that the girls did not seem to enjoy themselves. Having a straight face on the entire time while smiling all the other times during my observation.