Raby, “A Tangle of Discourses”
Reading this piece made me think of myself as a teenager. Since that wasn’t too long ago, it was easy to do. What I most related to was how teenagers as a whole are grouped together and stereotyped. “Adolescents, like other subjugated peoples, are subject to psychological ‘typing’ in which they are assumed to act alike, to have identity crises, and to be outside of social and material relations.” (434) I feel like this is definitely true and has been true for me too. Just by being a teenager, I think you’re looked down upon, in a way. Even trying to look for part time jobs was hard because I felt like employers didn’t really give me enough credit because I was young. I do think that teenagers are seen as immature or irresponsible, both of which I don’t think I was at all. I remember trying to get contact lenses when I was about 14 or 15 and the doctor didn’t even want me doing that because she felt I wasn’t responsible enough yet to wear them. Maybe she knew younger people who weren’t responsible, but I felt responsible as a teenager.
I like that one of the grandmothers in the study brought up the fact that teenagers may be acting the way they do as a product of how they were raised, not by just being teenagers. “But that’s not because they’re teenagers, its ‘cause they’re not properly brought up” (439) One of the teenagers also talks about this. “Jazz: …there are a lot of teens that just aren’t like that (in trouble a lot) and I don’t think they should be looked down upon because all these other teens are being rebellious.” (445) I agree completely with this. Just because a few teenagers might stick out by being rebellious or bad, that doesn’t mean that all teenagers are like that. It’s easy to stereotype that way, but not correct. I found some pictures online that show these assumptions.
I also could relate to the role of independence a lot. “Most teenagers will experience more independence than children and less than adults…The development of independence is also a feature of ‘the storm’ where, as a part of the general turbulence, teenagers explore who they are and how to become independent from parents. Yet at the same time, these teenagers are often dependent and must negotiate parental expectations (and accusations) of irresponsibility.” (438) Feeling like you’re supposed to be independent while being dependent at the same time is especially true for 18 year olds. I think being 18 was really confusing, because I was technically considered an adult, yet I still lived with my mom and relied on her for a lot of things. Also, I was an “adult” who couldn’t even go to concerts I wanted to go too, because they were 21 plus. I remember even wanting to go to a concert that was 19 plus once and I couldn’t because I was only 18. The age limits for things aren’t right to me. How can 18 year olds go to war but not go to a concert? That would really make teenagers feel unsure of how to act or what to do.
This piece also reminded me of the course assumptions of this class. Course assumption 3 is “teenagers are not some alien life form…the person you are now is the same person you were then, albeit with new and different life experiences that shift and change your understandings and actions in the world.” I still feel like I was the same person all along. I don’t think I was that much different as a teenager than I am now. I’m sure people do change over time, but I don’t think they change that dramatically. Also, course assumption 2 is “youth is a culturally constructed category.” Some of the grandparents even talked about this. They said that being a teenager was different now than it was for them. I think just making these labels and ideas of teenagers sets teenagers up to fit those roles. If there were no preconceived ideas about teenagers, maybe teenagers would see themselves differently and other people would see teenagers differently.
I liked the stories by the teenagers in this article about feeling out of place or disagreeing with what people think of as 'being a teenager'. I chose to write about my experience because of this. I would also like to know how other people thought of themselves as a teenager and if they think they fit or didn't fit certain stereotypes.