on young adult women’s interest in teen girl culture
speaking as someone with a Team Peeta/Team Gale life-size reversible poster from Dolly Magazine on my bathroom door right now —
the vital feminist concern of recognising and validating the value of teen girls, showing interest in things that are important to teen girls rather than dismissing them as frivolous, yes, absolutely, but:
a) Are we recognising teen experience on its own terms? Are we acknowledging that what is important for teens is not being the archetypal teen, but being successful on their own terms? (This often means mimicking the tastes and activities of people in their early twenties — I spent my own teen years reading Kafka and listening to Pitchfork Best New Music.) When we talk about teens, who are we speaking to, and for?
b) re: the desire to redo your own recent past, to participate in all the aspects of youth culture you couldn’t participate in the first time around because you lived in a shithole town, or were too poor, or were not free to because of your guardians, or didn’t have any friends, or were just too embarrassed and self-conscious to pursue. related: the desire to repair your own past perception of yourself, to stand up for your past self, to tell yourself now that your teen preoccupations were not just dumb girl stuff, but powerful and significant. are we entirely self-aware about these desires? are we fully aware that these are different goals than showing solidarity with and interest in teen girls today? to what extent are we distinguishing between the desire to heal our own wounded teen girl selves, and the desire to stand up for actual real live current teen girls?
c) In short: to what extent is it possible, as a non-teen living in a youth-obsessed culture, to have a fascination with teen girls and teen culture without simply reproducing their commodification and objectification?