"Safety Rope," an achingly beautiful essay by Garrard Conley: "No touching unless he touches you. No touching where people can see. No touching unless dared to touch. Brad makes the rules, but never says them aloud. One, two, three. Brad and I don't leave our hands down there for more than a few seconds. When I say my prayers at night, I pretend to be penitent, but I'm secretly happy for the betrayal." [more inside]
There Once Was a Girl. A work of criticism and of memoir on the false narratives surrounding anorexia in life and literature.
(Some may find the descriptions in this essay disturbing or triggering.)
(Some may find the descriptions in this essay disturbing or triggering.)
"Inside Tumblr's Teen Shoplifting Rings." A huge online community of anonymous high schoolers is raiding malls across America and then blogging about it. [more inside]
Cruel and All-Too-Usual: A Terrifying Glimpse into Life in Prison—As A Kid A new HuffPo report on juveniles serving time in adult facilities (trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault, suicide), this piece features videos showing how juveniles are treated in facilities designed for adults (trigger warning for violence), several pieces of interpretive art based on those videos, and images of documents retrieved from inmates and prison records.
Transgender teen comes out in emotional ceremony at Tehiyah Day School
In the middle of the school day on March 13, the community at Tehiyah Day School in El Cerrito gathered to give a boy his name. The boy in question was a bit older than is typical in a naming ceremony. Wearing a white button-down shirt, gray slacks and red sneakers — with red and blue patches dyed into the sides of his buzzed hair — teenager Tom Sosnik stood at the front of the room and explained to his 26 eighth-grade classmates why he was receiving a new name. "I am no longer Mia. I never really was. And now I finally stand before you in my true and authentic gender identity as Tom," he said. "I stand before you as a 13-year-old boy."[more inside]
What's the scariest thing in the world? Ask your teenage daughter. Ninja Pizza Girl is a game from independent game studio Disparity Games.
I’m pitching my idea for "baddies" to the Disparity Games design think tank. It consists of me, my wife and however many of our daughters happen to be in the room at the time.… Raven looks up. "Robots aren’t scary Dad.… Zombies aren’t scary either."[more inside]
I’m getting a little tetchy with this unreceptive design group. I ask Raven, "So what are teenage girls scared of?"
Raven thinks for a moment. She looks sad. "Other teenagers," she says.
A grown-ass man replays Final Fantasy VII. The unfortunate part about replaying Final Fantasy VII is realizing that it is terrible. I mean, not terrible terrible, but it’s bad the way, say, a very old sci-fi movie is bad. It is enjoyable exclusively with mountains of qualifiers, with context and air-quotes and, preferably, your own reminiscences filling it in, making its absurdities lovable.
Storms of doubt and change I expected as the parent of an adolescent, I just thought they would be hers, not mine.
In 1973, The Who released their sixth album, Quadrophenia. The epic double album tells the story of a boy named Jimmy Cooper who deals with mental illness on top of the run-of-the-mill stresses of teen life. But Jimmy Cooper isn't just any London teen. Jimmy Cooper is a Mod. [more inside]
The JV Club is a podcast [iTunes, SoundCloud] hosted by comedian, actor and SF Sketchfest founder Janet Varney. The podcast takes the form of a longform interview with an actor, comedian, writer, or someone else that Varney wishes to interview. The conversation usually focuses on the childhood and teenage years of the interviewee, who is always female, and the interviews frequently get very raw and emotional. The first guest was Christina Hendricks, and some of my favorite episodes were the interviews with Kerri Kenney Silver, Maria Bamford, Tig Notaro (who came on again), Stephanie Escajeda, Morgan Walsh, Erica Rhodes, Lynn Chen, and Susan Orlean.
"Most American high schools are almost sadistically unhealthy places to send adolescents." Does the "worst of adult America looks like high school because it’s populated by people who went to high school in America?" [more inside]
Teenage girls try to navigate the minefields of desirability, attractiveness, and self-objectification in the age of Facebook. [more inside]
Children today reach puberty earlier and adulthood later. The result: A lot of teenage weirdness. Adolescence has always been troubled, but for reasons that are somewhat mysterious, puberty is now kicking in at an earlier and earlier age. At the same time, first with the industrial revolution and then even more dramatically with the information revolution, children have come to take on adult roles later and later.
Star Magazine ran for five issues in the spring and summer of 1973. Based in Los Angeles and directed at teenage girls, it covered rock stars, fashion ("How to get the rich hippie look"), dating advice ("How to get guys"), and interviews with such luminaries as Marc Bolan and Sally Struthers, as well as paeans to groupie life and getting your head together. All five issues have been scanned and uploaded for your viewing pleasure (once you get past the clunky interface and watermarks). Platform shoes recommended.
Twenty-somethings today don't quite fit the definition of adolescence or adulthood. This has thrown the human development gurus for a loop. [more inside]
"Oh, lord love you, Stephen. How I admire your arrogance and rage and misery. How pure and righteous they are and how passionately storm-drenched was your adolescence."
Long before becoming a national treasure and celebrity Twitter addict the 16 year old Stephen Fry sent a letter to his future self, to which he has now responded, in a letter first published in the 25th birthday edition of Gay Times.
Under current proposals, parents to be fined or prosecuted if their children drink underage Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has proposed that parents of children caught drinking underage would be subject to prosecution. text of speech [more inside]
Where has all the pubic hair gone? After sweating through the [eight-year-old girl's] eyebrow wax, Engle [...] was directed to give her pint-size client a … bikini wax. “But … there’s nothing there, right?” I ask Engle. “I mean, at eight? Am I forgetting something?” “Nope,” she says. “There’s not. Doesn’t matter. That’s when the mothers are starting them these days.”
"Imagine what it would feel like—or think back to what it felt like—when your body and mind are telling you you're an adult while the adults around you keep insisting you're a child." An interview with psychologist Robert Epstein, who argues that American teens are far more intelligent, capable, and moral than we give them credit for. His new book, The Case Against Adolescence, suggests that infantilization of teens leads to psychological problems. See also Epstein's article "The Myth of the Teen Brain" [PDF] from Scientific American Mind.
Barbarism begins with Barbie — the doll, that is. Research done at the University of Bath (UK) posits that prepubescents' pre-eminent plasticine plaything provokes disproportionate punishment. According to the study, which originally focused on the effects of branding on young consumers, the statuesque Mattel mini-miss seems to attract undue savagery. "The researchers had not intended to focus on Barbie, but they were taken aback by the rejection, hatred and violence she provoked when they asked the children about their feelings for the doll. Violence and torture against Barbie were repeatedly reported across age, school and gender. No other toy or brand name provoked such a negative response."
High School Hazing??? Wha??? What an incredible example of both idiocy and some truly disgusting behavior. Personally, I grew up in the frosty northeast in the mid 80's where there was no shortage of inter-clique "Breakfast Club" style nastiness, but I had never even heard of such a thing until I had seen Dazed and Confused. Is this a regional thing? Certainly, there is no shortage of this kind of juvenile ridiculousness happening elsewhere in the country, but it never ceases to amaze me every time I hear about it. Were any MeFi'ers subject to this kind of awful ritual while they were growing up?
"Why Nerds are Unpopular" is an essay by Paul Graham that looks at how being smarter than the average bear -- usually an advantage in "the real world" -- is a liability in the Lord of the Flies world of adolescence. It's a long read, but an engaging writeup of the high school pecking order, how the school structure encourages this behaviour, the freak/geek alliance and gives some hope to the current crop of high school nerds (my fellow dweebs, it does get better). Even though high school is something like twenty years in my past, I still winced when I read the essay. Were you one of the high school geeks? Are you one now?
Obsolecence and adolescence I came of musical age during the beginning of the tectonic shift between cassette/vinyl/CD (vinyl on the way out, cassette taking precedence and CD waiting in the wings). Crushes, science and lots of bad music I still love (yeah, too much Anglophilian pop) was spooled on those tapes. This story about the demise of the cassette has it all! And it's a great bit of writing, too...
Recollections based on the album Doolittle, by the Pixies. Most of the most memorable times in my life, at least the ones during and after adolescence, are linked inextricably with the music I was listening to at the time. Hearing Bowie's 'Modern Love' can set me off to reminiscing for hours about freshman teen angst, and Bob Mould's 'Hanging Tree' can still damn near make me cry with the memories it triggers. Doolittle is one of those albums that takes me right back. You?
I Don't Wanna Grow Up... When did you first consider yourself to be a full-fledged adult? How many more years later was it when you realized what a child you were when you first thought that? :-) The Washington Post had this conversation-starting story this morning about stretching the boundaries of what we consider adolescence. Some social scientists now argue that our (e.g. American) society has allowed the maturing process to take longer and longer, and that many people are still adolescent in their emotional and intellectual development into their mid-30s. Needless to say, there's a lot of disagreement.
Homo erectus shows he was never a typical teenager. Is it really the hormones in the chicken we eat that cause teenagers to develop at an early age? Seems like the traditional old paleolithic diet had prehistoric humans skipping the adolescence we cherish so much.
Girl stories Brand new site to include stories and photos by young girls as they embrace, encounter, confront adolescence.