Humans are social creatures. We congregate in groups; it’s natural, therefore it follows that we must have some sort of social order that allows us to function.
It’s 2015. We live in a free society, pretty much doing anything we want, right? The youth of today are the generation of ‘no judgement’ and equality for all, but many of us are encased within the very system of shunning and oppression that plagues almost everyone. Though we no longer face the issues our parents faced, the 21st century has brought with it another set of problems, along with the new iPhone, that seem to be in place to oppress yet another generation.
Being a teenager today is difficult. We’re expected to plan out our entire lives in a few short years, have a social life and have enough sleep to be vaguely responsive. Speaking from experience, I’d say an issue that dominates the thoughts of a lot of teenagers is weight. Whether you want to lose or gain some, we’ve all had those thoughts. I mean, they’re perfectly fine to an extent – you’re motivating yourself to become healthier or fitter – but where do we draw the line?
The media dictates that we aim to become the epitome of perfection; so much so, that we have begun to laugh at or even hate others who don’t fit into this mould. Have you ever asked yourself: why must we look a certain way to be deemed beautiful? Go look at a Rubens or Renoir and tell me that it isn’t beautiful. In this fragile and ever-changing sphere that is society, shouldn’t we be more accepting and understanding?
Going into high school, you will learn that the mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell. More importantly (arguably), you will learn that people function in cliques. It’s inevitable. It is here, in the precious years of 15 and 16 that the idea of alcohol will pop up, and with it unsurprisingly: SEX. Yes, how controversial. Despite what adults say, most people will lose their virginity some time in their teens or early 20s, so why all the fuss? Why is it a shame for women to admit they’ve done it, or god forbid… masturbate; guys do it all the time. It’s okay if you want to hump everything that moves or if you’re saving it for someone special, but why do we have to hide it?
All around the world a woman’s virginity is valued and revered, yet such is the opposite for a man. This double standard that can destroy a girl’s life is almost medieval. I mean if you’ve had sex you’re a slut, but if you haven’t you’re a prude, according to all the entitled boys that plague every school – you know the ones I’m talking about. And it’s all good and well if you’ve already done it, but what about those who haven’t? University is looming closer and I’ve had more than one friend specifically wishing that they’d hurry up already and lose their V-card before uni. Why is this even a thing?? I mean, the idea of virginity shouldn’t be frowned upon, neither praised – it’s a personal choice and private.
In all honesty, these issues are unavoidable – there will always be trends and norms we follow; they change so often, it’s hard to keep up. (Think about it, twerking was like three years ago). And yes, these problems have hindered young people since forever, but with the speed of communication and spread of information, thanks to Twitter, adolescents are far more vulnerable to not only the negativity of these issues, but also the possibility that they themselves could be contributing to the flow of information.
Can we not just be nice, y’all?
Words: Radia Mustafa
Image: Tracy Ryan