1.) Hine, The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager
Thomas Hine argues that the definition and experience of a teenager has changed over time and is a socially constructed idea. Hines draws examples from different fields, such as history, psychology, marketing, etc, to show how teenagers have been represented. Hine explains how teenagers are grouped together simply by their age, and are expected to act in immature ways and are not given enough credit to fulfill their potential. Instead of considering each teenager as an individual, people (adults, in particular) see teenagers as an irresponsible group whom are not ready to understand the world as somebody older would.
Hine talks about the teenage period nowadays being longer than previously before. Before, teenagers were working and had more independent lives, whereas now, schooling has become longer and teenagers and young adults are more dependent. Just by the way we live our lives, our place in society is viewed differently. Hine also talks about how our maturity level and place in the world is judged by our size. Young people who are physically bigger or look older can be thought of as acting older and more mature. These two examples show how being a teenager is socially constructed and varies based on how one acts or looks.
Hine also gives examples of how teenagers are viewed negatively by different people. Hine tells the story of a girl who gave birth at her high school prom and whose baby was found dead. Some people weren’t shaken by this story because they expected a teenager to not be emotionally mature for a baby. Hine also talks about how teenagers are expected to be doing things like shoplifting, smoking, drugs, or other behaviors that need to be watched carefully.
Toward the end of the chapter, Hine gives examples of how teenagers now are actually more motivated to go to school and optimistic about their future. This shows how teenage stereotypes can be incorrect and how judging teenagers is not a smart move.
3.) For Class
This chapter had a lot of information and was a little tough to read, for me. I summed up Hine’s argument as I understood it. I am interested in seeing how other people interpreted Hine’s argument and what their reaction to the text was.