Teenage Wasteland | Teen Ink

Teenage Wasteland

November 2, 2010
By SamFreedman GOLD, Westchester, New York
SamFreedman GOLD, Westchester, New York
14 articles 0 photos 1 comment

I don’t understand: what does Freddy Krueger have against teenagers? He seems to have a fetish for slicing up young adults rather than regular ones. And for that matter, so do most evil undead horror villains. Jason Voorhees kills naked teenagers in a lake. Michael Myers impales drugged-up teenagers in a quiet neighborhood. Scream is a teenager. Take a wild guess at the identity of the target audience for these depraved slasher films.
It’s teenagers.
Evidently, we’re a piece of the puzzle, for better or for worse. The teenage population has somehow managed to be loved and hated simultaneously. We’re loved because we’re the most marketable audience in the American economy. We’re hated because we frequently act like idiots.
Teenagers are at an odd place in their lives where they’re capable of being uncannily adult-like and yet impeccably immature, sometimes concurrently. At the debate tournaments I compete at throughout the fall and winter, one can find some of politest, most obedient angels on the planet. That night, pointy red horns will sprout out of their scalps, and you will discover these same little cupids cursing like mobsters and lighting fart bombs in public streets. It’s as if Satan overtook their souls.
It is commonly believed that stereotypes are inflated, offensive branch-offs of reality. While this ideology may not always hold true, it certainly applies to the public image of teenagers. The media rarely depicts the high-school-age population in a positive light. We’re either angsty wrongdoers or stereotypes of various social factions like the jock, the nerd, and the recluse. Maybe this crappy outlook on teenage culture is something to worry about.
When the generation above tells us that we are the future, do they say it with fear, or with acceptance? It’s likely a combination of both. They’ll see us running around in boxers and snorkeling gear, or snorting Pixie sticks, or lighting fires in inconvenient places, and probably get a little freaked out. But then they’ll take a step back, and watch as we grow older, mature, take our SAT’s and our finals, find a spot for ourselves in the whirlwind that is high school, get stressed, get more stressed, unwind during the summers, apply for colleges, get dressed up for prom… and eventually disappear off into the outside world. It might just be possible that by that point, today’s adults can sigh, take a deep breath, and resign themselves to the fact that one day, we’ll take their places in society and perform the tasks that they do with same prowess and capability.
Of course, this is all very hypothetical. I’m a teenager, after all. What do I know?

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