What It's Really Like to Be a Teen in 2017
“Teens Aren’t Having Sex! Teens Aren’t Doing Drugs! Teens Drink Green Juice Instead of Alcohol!” A bunch of articles have been published over the past few months based on newish data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC, if you’re not familiar, is a government-run public health agency; in other words, they’re totally credible. Theories as to why this human behavior exists, however, isn’t always.
Speculation about why “teens these days” aren’t doing anything bad state the same, progressive claim: Teens are more educated. Although sex-ed is lacking, the internet has made it easier to educate ourselves on all kinds of health issues. In past generations, teens have been seen as lazy, self-obsessed, and naive; however, we’ve managed to prove ourselves as a passionate, forward-thinking, and downright world-altering generation.
You don’t have to look far to see teenage activism in action. Teens are turning their emotions into non-profit organizations, peaceful protests, and endeavors for knowledge. We stand up for what we believe in and pursue every idea and passion.
The rise of change-making young adults goes hand in hand with teens doing what they love and being great at it. Zines are being published like no one’s business-—look no further than Ladies of Leisure Zineand Crybaby as proof—and the best part is, they’re so inclusive. Anyone’s welcome in many of these online communities, whether it’s arthoecollective, Teen Art Salon, or Girls At Library. If you need support, organizations like Buddy Project can help you find it.
Although the recent presidential election has produced results that are terrifying for anyone who isn’t a white, cis-male, we can still prevail and continue to stand up for what we believe in through art and activism.
A lot of the creation going on falls under the category of social movements. For instance, spreading intersectional feminist messages to those who might not quite understand what it means to yearn for equality for all. Or digesting spoken word poetry dedicated to feeling tired that black lives are not being treated like they matter. Or even fighting social stigma when it comes to mental disorders (because one in five kids between the ages of 13 and 18 currently have or will have a serious mental disorder).
A massive portion of people are still scared to talk about things like mental health—just as many don’t understand it—so it’s important to start the conversation. We are aware of the issues we face as a society and we are taking the first steps to change. Some of my favorite activists and artists include Guillame Farouk Jordan, Quentin, Matt McGorry, Priscila, Rupi Kaur and Aya Jalil, and the list goes on.
Bottom line? Teenagers are revolutionary. We are writing a new anthem for the generations to come that shouts, “We are powerful."
By Sydney Tate, 16