This is going to be a somewhat short post, because I don’t have much time to elaborate, but I really wanted to pass along some links. First, Trashing Teens, a Psychology Today article about how childhood is being extended later and later. I could certainly relate to this, because as a teen I was restricted in far too many ways, and what “responsibility” my parents did offer me was a joke, because it only meant chores. I didn’t get any extra freedoms to go along with it, and in fact more than once my parents even removed my bedroom door because I had been demanding some privacy (and more importantly, attempting to protect myself from my abusive alcoholic father by locking my bedroom door). My concerns were never taken seriously, and to some degree they still aren’t. Fortunately I live on my own now, but I still have to rely on my parents for a lot of things.
And if I say I’m asexual? Never mind my parents, the world at large doesn’t really believe me. I’m STILL too young to get it, apparently. How long do I have to wait before people will say, “Oh, okay. You’ve waited long enough. There probably is no right person.” 30? 40? 50?
It is ridiculous that people in their twenties are not considered old enough to have figured this out yet. And I’m of a mind to say that teenagers should also be taken seriously when they figure it out, although because asexuality is based on not feeling something, it is reasonable to keep an open mind about it for a bit longer than it would be for other orientations. But to outright deny it, to say “Oh, you will someday,” as if you know the future? No way.
But back to the article. I’ll admit I was a little torn on this at first because I really don’t tend to get along with most teenagers, in general. I really disliked my peers when I was a teenager, and I don’t like spending time with the majority of the younger crowd now. But then I realized that in large part, it is because of the culture that has come out of teens being so infantilized. I like a significantly greater portion of my peers now, but a lot of college kids act like just that—children. They are perfectly capable of acting like adults, but they don’t, because they have been taught not to.
My distaste for this kind of infantilization extends to my fashion statements, as well. I wear gothic lolita clothing when I can get away with it, which is meant to point out the irony of being an adult and choosing to look like a child. There’s a certain dark humor to it, and certainly a commentary on contemporary society.
I’ll leave off by passing along this, which comments specifically on the sexual aspects of teenage oppression. It’s completely ridiculous what can get you on the list of sex offenders. People think “sex offender” means rapist or child pornographer, but really you might be on there for having consensual sex with someone of your own age group. It’s really gotta change.
Edited to add: Here’s another link that goes really well with these—Ken Robinson on creativity in schools.