Posts Tagged ‘teen years’

There’s a big fuss lately about high school dress codes being sexist and oppressive to women, and then there’s the whole #freethenipple thing. And of course there’s the other side, about how dress codes should be even stricter and why women should absolutely, definitely cover up. I’d like to find  happy medium.

First of all, it’s weird as anything that female nipples are censored and male nipples aren’t. But, that’s the society we live in and I’m gonna go along with that. If there’s a day when women walk around topless in the summer the same as men, I won’t be scandalized, but I doubt I’m gonna do it myself because that’s just the culture I was raised in, that says, “Ladies have breasts and they should be covered.” And I agree, because even as a straight woman when I see a cleavage being shown off my eyes naturally and unintentionally follow it. I, personally, do not want that kind of attention. So I have nothing against the normalization of the bare female chest, but I’m not going to contribute to it.

On the other hand I’m all for public breastfeeding. It’s healthy, natural, and let’s be honest here, if you’re sexualizing a boob that’s being used to feed a baby, YOU are the problem. A mother and baby should be able to do their thing and be undisturbed whether the milk comes from a bottle or a breast.

The other big thing causing an uproar are high school dress codes, which unfortunately have two types of crusaders against them: people who are genuinely concerned that girls are being treated unfairly by the dress code as compared to the boys in their schools; and girls who just want to get away with wearing some frankly inappropriate clothes. I’ve seen the school dress codes where boys get a sentence and girls get a page. I’ve read about entire groups of girls wearing crop top to schools to prove a point. I’ve heard stories of a restrictive dress code being introduced a month before prom, when most girls already had their dresses. I know of lots of girls who would get sent home for a barely-above-the-knee skirt because “it distracts the boys” when he boys themselves are wearing above-the-knee shorts. Now that’s sexist.

My stance is this: dress codes are important to maintain a semi-professional environment, but should be enforced equally for girls and boys. If knees can’t be shown in this particular school, then neither boys nor girls should show their knees. If girls must cover their shoulders, then so should the boys. Or you could take a page out of my high school’s book and have a simple dress code that goes roughly, “Remember the 3 B’s: we don’t want to see your bellies, boobs, or butts, or the underthings that cover ’em.” There was a longer one in the student handbook that also covers things like clothing with offensive slogans or that promotes drugs or alcohol. And because it was simple, clear, and unambiguous, we never had a problem with it. Never to my knowledge was a girl told to cover up her bra straps (honestly who can tell the difference between a bra strap or an undershirt’s spaghetti strap?), but one time a guy was told to change his shirt when it had an image of a woman in a bikini on it. (Similar to this, but it only showed her from about her shoulder to her knees.)

The point is, school dress codes should be about dressing appropriately and being respectful to your fellow students and your teachers. It should have nothing to do with distracting the boys – can you say sexist? Or how about Dear girl, boys’ education is clearly more important than yours so please make sacrifices when they don’t even want to ignore their hormones and focus. It should also have nothing to do with protecting a teenager from sexual looks, because that’s only the school’s job insofar as teaching boys to be decent human beings. (Here in Canada there’s a gradual system for age of consent, like until you’re 18 there are limits on what you can give consent for, but it is technically legal for teens as young as 12 to have sex with, say, someone their own age. I’m not saying it’s good or right, but it is legal and therefore not a public school’s job to police.)

Anyway, I guess my point is: all things in moderation, including modesty and feminism.

Thanks for reading!
~Another Jesus Freak

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The Teenage Phenomenon

Posted: April 1, 2015 in Non-fiction
Tags: , , , , ,

When you think of the “modern teenager”, not a lot of positive images come to mind. Things like juvenile delinquency, self-harm, smoking, alcohol, drug use, and distrust and disrespect for authority. Now think of an “average teenage girl”. Shallow, covered in makeup, and caring way more about clothes than any kind of intellectual topic. Just the fact that shows like “16 and Pregnant” and “Jersey Shore” exist says something about the perceived average teenager. The sad part is that stereotypes are based in reality. Even sadder is that often, it doesn’t stop at twenty.

I’m by no means saying that all teenagers are like this – that’d be pretty hypocritical of me, wouldn’t it? – but the truly average teenager displays at least a couple of these traits. I think the problem stems from teenagers being physically mature and really ready to take care of themselves, but not given even an opportunity to take on the responsibility of adulthood. The teenage phenomenon is when people are in a state of being responsible to no one, sometimes including themselves, where they care mostly about their social life and their own pleasure. This is currently a normal part of life, but it hasn’t always been, and it can be dangerous when people remain in that state for too long. When adults who are still in that state influence actual teens, then you get in serious trouble.

The whole idea of a teenager in its current form, a person between childhood and adulthood, is a concept less than a century old. My great-grandmother was married by the time she was my age, and my grandmother was supporting herself by teaching primary school. Historically, people were children until they were adults. From before the middle ages right up until the Victorian era, people could be, and often were, married off or otherwise forced to grow up well before they were fifteen. After WWI, people in general were wealthier than they were before, allowing the freedom to wait until later to become adults (but as mentioned before, many still made the transition to adulthood early.) This was accompanied by less strict ideas of how one should behave. As people remained on their parents’ dime with more freedom and no strings to hold them down, they paid less attention to what they should be doing, and more attention to what felt good. Thus, the teenage phenomenon was born. Still, most people settled down relatively quickly, and nice, tidy, nuclear families were still the norm. People went through the teenage phase and then swiftly grew up. The sixties saw a shift, though, with hippies and the whole idea of “free love”.  It wasn’t so completely abnormal any more to be adolescent for a long time. Through the seventies, eighties, nineties, and early two thousands, it became more and more acceptable to remain in the teenage state for a long time.

Here is where the teenage phenomenon can get dangerous. A person who remains in that state of no-strings-attached fun times can get into major trouble when they chase after more and more “fun”. When a person is only responsible to his or her self, they can hop from relationship to relationship or go through a string of marry-divorce-repeat and it doesn’t mean anything. That’s destroying the sanctity of marriage as much as gay marriage is, for sure. This is dangerous in several ways: teens find a way to get into trouble on their own, adults still experiencing the teenage phenomenon get into even bigger trouble, and the largest group of adult teens (celebrities) influence actual teens to be just like them.

Let’s say, on another angle, there’s a certain girl who is physically mature at 14. In medieval times, she would have gotten married and that would have been it. Nowadays, she is expected to wait ten more years before getting married. She doesn’t want to wait that long, and others stuck in the teen phase tell her it’s perfectly OK not to. So she goes ahead and gets a boyfriend and ends up pregnant at sixteen. Whoah, big mistake, right? Going to ruin her life, right? Back not so long ago, within the last half century, she would have married the boyfriend and started a family and lived a happy enough life. My point in saying all this is that as the expected teenage years stretch out, you get people ready to make adult decisions but not allowed to take the responsibility and deal with the consequences. They make the decisions any way, and the consequences are handled quite a bit by other people. They expect that pattern to continue even until they really should be dealing with it themselves.

A lot of teenagers go through the teenage phenomenon, and they make mistakes, learn lessons, and grow out of it. But, could the amount of mistakes made be reduced with a bit more responsibility? If that girl actually had to stay with the first guy she had sex with, would she reconsider the tiny dress? If that guy had to earn enough money to eat, would he have smoked that first cigarette? We may never know.

Thanks for reading!
~Another Jesus Freak

Author’s note: This post has been in draft form since April 8, 2013. I was 16 at the time of writing. It was never published because I wasn’t sure if what I was saying was truth or just what I was feeling. After rediscovering it and reading it over I have decided to publish it unedited, because it’s the truth the way I see it, just as much as anything else on this blog.

Ladies and gentlemen, please stop friendzoning! The Friendzone is this thing where a girl says a guy is  her best friend, but she wouldn’t date him. I don’t know if that’s because she thinks it’s because he’s not good enough or too good. I don’t do it because it’s stupid. If a guy is good enough to be a close friend, he’s good enough to be a potential date. Of course there are guys that already have girlfriends but I’m still friends with them, which is different. I’m talking about single guys here, or at least if they were single. And of course there are guys that I would only be friends with at arms’ length, and others I don’t want anything to do with, but anyone I allow as close as that up there would be the kind of guy I’d say yes to if he asked me out.

Now, what other girls do should be of no real concern to me, except that it alters other people’s general worldview and from there the world I live in. What I mean is, girls friendzone nice guys (for some reason I’ll never figure out) and go for the *********s instead. Then those nice guys think, “Well if girls don’t like me, maybe I’m gay.” Other people will tell them that, too, if they’re not all into sports and stuff (which is another really stupid thing wrong with the world). So, the few of us girls who have  a bit of sense see these nice guys for what they really are, but now these guys are split into two parts. One set of guys gives in to the pressure and decides they’re gay. (Have you ever noticed that you’ll find a lot more gay guys than lesbian girls? Yeah, societal pressure does that.) The other set of guys thinks those of us who may actually like like them are just friendzoning them too, which becomes a major problem it’s really hard for a girl to hint that she likes this guy in such a way that is subtle, but he actually takes the hint. So she can’t go out with him unless the girl wants to ask him out, which is a bad idea because then he’ll get scared away and… yeah. To summarize: If a guy’s used to being friendzoned, it becomes a lot harder for a girl to go out with him.

Now, occasionally a guy does this too, so I know from my female friends that it is quite annoying. The moral of the story is: if a person of the opposite gender is worth enough to you to be a really close friend, can you try to see them for what they really are? As I’ve been advised more than once, “Marry your best friend.”

Thanks for reading!
~AnotherJesusFreak

P.S. This is compiled from talking to friends, not from personal experience. :P

Being a Teenager

Posted: January 25, 2012 in Non-fiction
Tags: , , , ,

This was on a friend’s Facebook not too long ago. (It’s not my writing or anything…)

A blurb I found on a friend's Facebook about the woes and joys of being a teen.

And all that sparked me to write this…

Everybody says it’s sooooo hard being a teenager. But I haven’t found it to be too bad. Actually, it’s pretty awesome.  Sometimes, we don’t realize  that whatever we do now will make either a good memory or a bad one for when we’re older. We’ve got the world at our fingertips. We’re considered responsible enough to manage our own time, and to some extent, money, while still riding on our parents’ dime for all our needs. We’ve got very few responsibilities, and we’re free as the wind. Even so, that’s no reason to be irresponsible, as so many seem to think is necessary.

Really,  do you have to mess up your body with any combination of drinking, drugs, sex, piercings, and tattoos to prove your individuality or have fun? Actually, whether you realize it or not,  it’s really only to fit in with a bunch of other people who are all going  to regret it sooner or later. Do you have to sneak out past curfew, hang out with the wrong crowd, or swear like a sailor JUST because your parents don’t want you to, and you think it’s “cool?”

Maybe it’s because I’m not irresponsible, or because, as my mother tells me, I was born mature, that I haven’t found these adolescent years to be so hard. Maybe it’s because I see the glass as half full, or because I haven’t yet experienced the “young love” everyone talks about. Maybe it’s because half my teenage years are still ahead of me, or maybe, when people say “teen years”, they actually mean “early adulthood”. Either way, all this angst is exaggerated.

On one hand, I’ve never really tried to fit in, so I’ve been spared the drama that plagues some popular people. No worries about backstabbing friends – my friends appreciate me and I appreciate them.  I also don’t have to worry about wearing the right clothes or saying the right things. On top of that, I know that at the right time, the right Special Someone will like me for me. I don’t wear make-up usually or dress skimpily because I’m not trying to impress anybody.

On the other hand, I have God. He’s a Best Friend who is always there for me, in the good times and in the bad times. He’ll never start drama and He’ll never leave me, so I’ve always had a helping hand through the bad times, and I’ve got eternal stability.

All you people who are complaining about how hard these years are, maybe you can learn something here. (I’m not going to tell you what to learn – you’ve got to figure that out for yourself.) Even just learn one thing from this.  Please, it’s for your own good.

Thanks for reading!
~Another Jesus Freak