Posts tagged youth
i *do* hang out with actual teenagers and feel weird / uncomfortable about it. hm. i probably shouldn’t (feel weird / uncomfortable). idk.
I’m actually super in favour of people hanging out with people who are not close to them in age, as long as everyone recognises the weird power shit involved. like, I wouldn’t date my supervisor or my doctor or one of my parents’ friends, I’m not gonna date a seventeen-year-old, or even put the same emotional demands on them that I would on a friend who was my age. (I’m older than you, though.) I mean cross-generational anything is fucking fraught even when everybody is an adult. but I think this modern Western youth culture thing of everybody hanging out only with people within two years or so of them in age is super weird and responsible for a lot of warped perspectives, lack of compassion for people who are at different stages in their lives, etc. this is one reason why I want to have a good relationship with my extended family and eventually want to have children or help raise someone else’s kids.
this post makes me feel awesome for how many actual teenagers i’m internet friends with (as opposed to creepy for how many actual teenagers i’m internet friends with)
i really believe for a lot of people in their early 20s, this part of early adulthood is about representing the kind of life/aesthetic they wanted to live as teenagers. ie: without parents, more hold on the life-drama; trying to be an ideal self..
totally, and this is something I wish people were more able to separate out: healing and rebuilding yourself and getting stronger and becoming the person you want to be vs advocating for people who are currently in the situation you were in.
I’ve never met a 20something who was super into “teen culture” and “anti-ageism” who actually made a serious effort to reach out to anyone other than similarly nostalgic 20somethings to get sanctimonious with
really I’m just super-bitter because of this one time I was going to go to a kind of expensive 18+ gig and someone I know started ranting about how nobody should ever go to shows that weren’t all ages, much less pay for them, or for that matter go to shows that cost more than $10, sorry if that was “punk elitist”, then changed their mind when they realised a lot of their friends were going (because someone they knew was gonna be a dancer and was getting people on the door), made a few phone calls, got on the guestlist, started excitedly dressing up, and in the meantime I realised I was the only person I knew who wasn’t getting in for free, and felt so small and so uncool that I couldn’t face going at all, and also felt stupid for wasting money, and also for having spent money to waste in the first place, in a recursive dorky-feeling loop, and I generally have pretty OK social confidence so you can imagine how depressing the whole situation was to bring me to that point.
like, my emotions were affected by a lot of other things going on at that time, I’m not trying to say that person’s terrible cultural politics caused me to collapse in a puddle of anxiety, but fuck you if you think having better connections than other people makes you more radical than them
also the thing that builds those connections is years spent in a scene, and few teens from the sticks have those connections, teens are generally much more able to rustle up a fake ID than get on the fucking guestlist for an international act
I just really want people to remember what it was like to be a teenager, rather than romanticise the figure of The Teen, because that’s no different to Impulse deodorant advertising
anyway, that person is super into Rookie now and still doesn’t hang out with actual teenagers
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?
speaking of pastels
I am 24 which is old by tumblr standards apparently,
and I am enjoying how the ~youth of tumblr~ (i.e. people who don’t actually remember the early 90s) are enraging slightly older people with their “soft grunge” and “pastel grunge”, or even better, calling anything with a 90s revival vibe “grunge” (tell me more about how your glow-in-the-dark tie-die smiley face crop top is grunge).
see also: people getting mad about “pastel goth” because “goth means dark colours” or “a colour scheme is not a subculture” or sometimes even both?!
I mean I have pretty mixed feelings about the actual visual content of those subcultures myself, because one thing that is absolutely authentically 90s about them is their saturation level of culturally appropriative motifs (gtfo with your bindis and dripping yin-yang symbols). but people who care about the authenticity of grunge and goth are possibly even more ridiculous than people who get mad about “mall punks”, and they deserve a comeuppance.
first world youth culture’s apathy towards history is irritating at best and can be really fucked up, but there is also a lesson here for aging hipsters, and it is that if you don’t challenge our culture’s obsession with extreme youth while you are yourself young than you will quickly fall into baffled embittered irrelevance.
I am fascinated by teens, especially teen girls, I love how much they care about fashion and how inventive and ahead of the curve they are, but I hate how they become images that are used and chewed up and spat out by the culture industries. & it’s more complicated than that again because of course the sixth sense teens have for the next trend is partly self-fulfilling, because they’re watched so carefully by the people who market those trends.
it’s resistance and capitalism and exploitation and exploration and self-representation and cultural theft and narcissism in one big, messy, fucked-up ball and if the thing that makes you the maddest is “that’s not grunge!” then I don’t understand you.