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The Other Side forums - suitable for mature readers! _ The Issues Forum _ Age Discrimination Against Teenagers

Posted by: MistressAlti Jul 8 2003, 02:11 AM

Apparently, I have no independent thought. I have no true concept of "reality". I am mindless and easily impressed. I am irresponsible, immature, naive, and short-sighted.


Because I am 17 years old.

I'm constantly criticized on an aspect of my life that I have no control over - namely, my age.

I've just returned from yet another lecture. My great-uncle, age 53, always feels the need to impress upon me those faults of my peers. He's not the only one, either. I feel the discrimination all the time, if not with family, then when I'm off at Academy. I am looked down upon by the college students because of my age, too. Apparently teenagers are made from a mold. We're all the same. We're all young and stupid. All of us.

My uncle's also a fan of the "I know what you should do with your life - listen to me, because I know everything about life!" sermon, as is every single adult in my life.

I swear to God, if I hear "Now Rachel, be realistic" one more time... Once again, because I am young, my ideas about the world and about my future are, quite frankly, wrong. My hopes, my dreams, any aspirations, goals, plans, are wrong. Apparently I'm supposed to want something else for my life.

I don't discount their concerns. I know they've experienced more in life than me. I recognize this and accept it - respect it, even.

But to be blatantly talked down to, for no reason? That, I will not tolerate.

Anyone on this forum who's spoken with me knows that I'm typically respectful, yet I don't take to being belittled too easily. Imagine my frustration in this, then, where I have no way out - I can sit there and be chided for things I have no control over, or I can speak up and further reinforce the individual's beliefs about teenagers!

Yes, I understand that there are a lot of mindless, irresponsible, immature teenagers out there, and almost all of us have our moments. We are not, however, all like that, and especially not all the time! And dare I even suggest that mindless, irresponsible, and immature behavior can be found in every generation of individuals - teenagers and adults!

I tried to explain to my mother how I felt. All I got was a deaf ear, a "You should do this with your life!" lecture, and finally a few attacks on my character.

I don't know if I'm really asking for any advice over this, although I guess it's always welcome. I just... want to be heard without feeling like I've been cut down.

Posted by: cheese is funny Jul 8 2003, 02:20 AM

missy, i know what your talking about...

geometry, 2nd period, most of my class is lower classmen (9 and 10 grade) and there was a few 12 graders... well... all the lower classmen sorta got talked down to... when the teacher would talk to us... it was sorta slow... and sorta like how a parent talks to a young child when they are learning to speak... but to the 12 graders, they got talked to like they were more mature, and more intelligent... they are 2 years older, talking a class 2 years behind what they should be taking... how does that make them more wothy of respect? i just dont understand...

i get it alot outside of school.... sometimes i look at an adult the wrong way (maybe a bad day, or the day star in my eyes... i dunno...) and they always give me some "you punk kid, get in school and grow up" BS.... i just dont understand why many teenagers are labled in the whole "mtv generatoin" or "generation x" or "generation degenerat" crap.... many teens are far more mature and capable then some working adults....

Posted by: candice Jul 8 2003, 06:05 AM

i know how you guys feel.....i had to deal w/ that crap too. to some extent, i still do. i STILL get told by 40 year olds that i have no clue about the future, etc. it's just so irritating. i'm 21 years old, i'm old enough to handle my own life. i was old enough from about 15 on, i think.

but..then i look at it this way. i am young, in the prime of my life, and they are old, regretting the choices that they made and envying my youth and the future ahead of me. i don't know if it's really true, but hehe it makes me feel better. biggrin.gif

Posted by: MoonlightSavingsTime Jul 8 2003, 06:25 AM

I was trying to figure out how to respond to this thread, because I know I've been through the same thing quite often, but I think I've blocked out too much of my teen years ("remember, they're the best years of your life!!" b.s....), so I can't remember any specifics. But candice brings up an interesting point. I still get the same kind of crap at age 23 from people of my parents' generation. My partner's parents are always telling us to give up on being so reactionary and politically radical because supposedly they were the same way at our age, which in their eyes means that we'll inevitably end up content and disinterested by the time we reach their age. They don't take our views seriously because they think it has more to do with our age than with what we've actually reasoned out for ourselves. Our views are something we'll "grow out of" when we're old enough to "come to our senses."

I get the same thing in a different way from my side of the family, especially my cousin Angie. I'm told that my decision to not have children is "just a phase that I'll grow out of." I'm made to feel that I will never fully mature until and unless I have children. No womyn is a real womyn until she's been a mother, apparently. I'm made to feel that the decision to have children is a mandatory one for all adults, especially wimmin. I'll always be a child until I've had one of my own. rolleyes.gif

Posted by: candice Jul 8 2003, 07:04 AM

QUOTE (MoonlightSavingsTime @ Jul 7 2003, 11:25 PM)
I'm told that my decision to not have children is "just a phase that I'll grow out of." I'm made to feel that I will never fully mature until and unless I have children. No womyn is a real womyn until she's been a mother, apparently. I'm made to feel that the decision to have children is a mandatory one for all adults, especially wimmin. I'll always be a child until I've had one of my own. rolleyes.gif

oy...i know what you mean there.

and i imagine when you get to be 40 something, then people who are 60 give you crap about the future as well.

it never ends sad.gif

i thought of something that's sort of related to this..and that is the way people in other countries sometimes see americans (note i said sometimes...i know not all people are this's the minority). i hate having to explain to some ppl that we aren't all bloodthirsty warmongers. just like i hated being followed around a store by a clerk just cause i was 17.

blegh @ being placed into unfavorable groups of any kind.

Posted by: MoonlightSavingsTime Jul 8 2003, 07:15 AM

Ohh, that somehow reminded me of something when I was a teenager. I remember trying to get a job in my tiny hometown when I was 16 or 17, except one of the restaurants in town was owned by this older womyn who didn't trust teenagers unless they were her granddaughter (who ironically was the epitome of the stereotypical untrustworthy teenager). She wouldn't hire anyone under the age of 20 or 25. Fortunately (I guess), I had a cousin who worked at that restaurant, and she persuaded the old hag to let me try out a dishwashing job there for at least a day. Well, the day ended, I did the job, and the old hag paid me for my day's work and never called me again. I guess some people are so stubborn that they refuse to be proven wrong even with evidence right in front of them. This womyn was convinced that any teenager working for her would just steal stuff or demolish the place or something, and nothing could change her mind about that. mad.gif

Posted by: chester Jul 8 2003, 08:10 AM

hm.... i dunno if i should be talking in this thread because im only 13, and appearently i have absolutely no control over my life. i play the occaisional prank, break the occaisional law, and cuss out the occaisional teacher. i get in trouble and instead of blaming me they blame southpark or jackass. i guess im just too easily influenced...

one of my "things" is stealing. i never shoplift or steal from friends, but for some reason i get followed around in hot topic, or eyed on when looking for a cd i wanna buy. whenever something goes missing in my house im the one to ask. i guess i dont know myself as well as everyone else does.

kelly j.

Posted by: wolfbane Jul 8 2003, 11:04 AM

I'm 21, have just finished university and still get looked down on by some people. My gran phoned me the other day and asked me what she should tell everyone I was doing now that I've finished uni, knowing that I'm going to be working part-time to support my writing and sending stuff off to publishers, etc. I told her to tell them that, and the dissapointment in her voice clearly said that she thought I was still on a childish dream and that I needed to enter the real world. It's something I resent because I've been planning this for a long time - I know the steps I need to take, etc.

It also infuriates me when adults look down on teenagers as not having any thoughts or opinions of their own. I've been an atheist for god knows how long, and I know my reasons for believing what I believe. Being told by my RE teacher then, at the age of 14, that I'm too young to have made my mind up yet is blatantly ridiculous and an insult to my intelligence. Not all teenagers or young adults are made from the same mould and adults who are supposedly more mature should respect that. Unfortunately some of them don't. I just hope I don't turn into one of them.

Posted by: spuglet Jul 8 2003, 12:31 PM

i completely agree. i keep getting told by my mums boyfriend that i take life too seriousley, and 'boy youre going to get a shock when you enter the real world' you mean im not in the real world now? is it a computer game? i am fully aware i need to get a job and i wont be able to tell my boss what i think of them, but ive perfected the art of keeping my mouth shut after living with such a buffoon for the last 2 years.
i keep being given the 'just coz its legal it doesnt mean you have to do it' lecture. i know that. im not stupid. i keep getting told by parents and ex-teachers thats im intelligent, yet they speak to me as if im stupid. i know i need qualifications, i know its hard to break into the music scene, i know journalism is competetive, i know i need qualifications to fall back on. i dont need to be told this repeatedly, especially in such a patronising manner.
and just because i am 16, it doesnt mean i am a thief. i hate it when im followed around the market because im 'going' to steal something. and when my local newspaper published an article condemning all bored teenagers as vandals and yobs i sent a letter in response that got printed, and ended the debate completely.
one of the national tabliods recently published an article lke that. someone got murdered and apparently they think satanists did it because the victim was a 'goth'. and the decription of a goth? 'a goth fan dyes their hair, wears black and has piercings....most see it as a simple fashion statement but some take it further' articles like this dont help the stereotype at all do they?

Posted by: kidvicious2punk Jul 8 2003, 05:35 PM

people just get this idea that since i have colored and because im a tennager that im going to steal stuf..I went to the groicery store with a purse and this dude insisted that he
check for stolen items....i think ppl assume all teenagers are bad and deeply troubled...its just stupid! mad.gif

Posted by: LoLo Jul 8 2003, 06:06 PM

I'm going to nit pick on cheese for a moment......your generation is not generation x.....that's the generation before mine and I'm in generation y (I like to say generation why oh god why?).....and I think you are the generation after me.

Ok now on topic. It happens with every age group. (this is a generalization so if I offend I'm sorry). When you're a teenager you look down on kids because they're still kids. When you're a 20 something you look down on teenagers, because you're not one anymore and this reality that you've grown up kind of hits you. It goes on, no matter what age one is, the people younger than them will always be younger than them and therefore they get to look down on them. I'm not saying that I agree with this.

In turn, youth look down on older people as well. They're old, their ways are outdated because they are old and not hip like young people. Also not many people like being told what to do and how to live their lives so they look down on the older people for doing that.

Being a teenager is the hardest place to be. You're not a kid anymore, but everyone treats you like you are, because you're also not technically an adult yet.

Posted by: MistressAlti Jul 8 2003, 06:31 PM

QUOTE (LoLo @ Jul 8 2003, 01:06 PM)
I'm going to nit pick on cheese for a moment......your generation is not generation x.....that's the generation before mine and I'm in generation y (I like to say generation why oh god why?).....and I think you are the generation after me.

No, actually, we're still Gen Y, I do believe...

Posted by: candice Jul 8 2003, 06:41 PM

i dunno about all the different generations and the names of them..but my generation was supposed to be the "smoke free class of 2000" lmao that worked out really well. tongue.gif

anyhow i think lo is pretty much does happen to every age group. i quite often find myself saying "damn kids" about the little hellions who run around this town...but oy they DO stuff to cause it. i'd never assume someone was a bad kid just by looking at them, cause people used to do that to my friends all the time, and they weren't bad kids. and i hate judging by appearances w/ anyone. it's just never fair.

hrm...ya know, people often did the opposite with me. they always just assumed that i was a GOOD kid. is there something that looks pure and innocent about me or something? blink.gif the only time i ever got followed around in a store was when i was with my "bad" friends. what total crap.

Posted by: Jonman Jul 8 2003, 07:03 PM

You think you've got problems?

With my thinning hair and sensible career, folk expect me to be a socks-and-sandals sporting married, mortage-paying, 1 and a half child'ed corporate whore, instead of the irreverant, socially and fashionably aware hipster that I am.

It's all downhill for me....

Posted by: gerbilfromhell Jul 8 2003, 07:09 PM

y'know, it's not just the constant 'listen to adults because we've lived longer than you which somehow makes us automatically wiser and smarter than you and you are wrong if you ever disagree with us' lectures that piss me off, it's also the condescending advice (and i'm only 14) about everything, from my effort at skool to my character. h*ll, i had my whole dad's side of my family (excluding my dad) telling my what high skool i should go to and that 'they knew better than me' (or something along those lines excuse me if i wasn't exactly listening to every 'wise' word that they said). THEY DON'T EVEN LIVE IN NY HOW COULD THEY KNOW NETHING ABOUT NYC SKOOLS! and skool can be the worst. if you tell a teacher they're wrong, they'll yell at you, tell you that you have no idea what you're talking about, and then when you PROVE them wrong, they say somethin short, nice and slightly condescending to you and quickly change the subject.......... i'm gonna stop now before i start ranting at everyone

Posted by: candice Jul 8 2003, 08:11 PM

QUOTE (gerbilfromhell @ Jul 8 2003, 12:09 PM)
THEY DON'T EVEN LIVE IN NY HOW COULD THEY KNOW NETHING ABOUT NYC SKOOLS! and skool can be the worst. if you tell a teacher they're wrong, they'll yell at you, tell you that you have no idea what you're talking about, and then when you PROVE them wrong, they say somethin short, nice and slightly condescending to you and quickly change the subject

gah i hate that..when people are so CERTAIN they are right about everything, so they babble on about a subject they know NOTHING about. kids do it too, but mostly yeah i've found it does come from older people.

my dad can be like that sometimes....he'll sit there and try to tell me about something that i am very familiar with and he just has no clue about whatsoever. of course, i could just be conceited and think that i'm always the one who is right..lmao. i don't think so though...i know what i am knowledgable on and what i'm not.

(and this is off-topic, but don't go to AP Randolph gerbil wink.gif lol and i did live in NYC, so i do know what i'm talking about. uhm, not that anyone would actually choose that school anyhow...i saw much graffiti plastered all over my old building about how much it sucked, and it was quite accurate. it's where my husband went to school, lol...horrid, horrid, horrid. omg i must be becoming an adult, cause i swear i just couldn't resist throwing that in there. wow. scary. sad.gif )

oh, and btw...for what it counts...either all of you who are teenagers on here are extraordinary or i'm just a really bad judge of character, but lol when i first came here, i just assumed that nearly everyone was older than me until i really looked at the family album (which was when lo re-did it and combined it w/ the audio fam album..before it killed me and my dial-up ways..). i never would have guessed that any of you were teenagers otherwise (well, unless ya told me, of course. tongue.gif )

Posted by: leopold Jul 8 2003, 09:04 PM

Well, as the old man of the forum, I guess it's my job to say stuff like "Eeeh, you kids don't know yer born!", an "You know nowt about life, lemme tell ya what to do here..."

But I won't... I get the same BS from people even at my ripe old age!! And from people younger than me too, ironically... they say "Oooh leo, yer too old to be behavin like a pathetic teenager!" All I can say to that is "Oh, go screw yerself!!" cos it's so deeply patronising... An the other one I get is "Be realistic!" What????? So I wanna go off the wall sometimes... that's where me best ideas come from, an everyone's more than happy to leech the credit when they come off...

I think there's nowt wrong wi havin dreams an aspirations, havin yer own thoughts (no matter how well or ill-conceived) an yer own drives. If we all did what our parents wanted, we'd all be drones. An I'll bet every last one of 'em did the same kinda stuff when they were young...

Posted by: Sir_Psycho_Sexy Jul 8 2003, 10:57 PM

I get it too, mainly from my mum, most of my other reletives are either happy to let me get on with it or i don't see them enough to get bothered by it. i guess an example would be i asked my mum to get me a specific shampoo, i have very dry hair and i get those nasty itchy flaky bits, so she goes on about how she used to have to use washing up liquid to wash her hair when she was little!! or how she thinks i should get a job and work my way through university because that clearly what everyone else does and thats what she had to do, of course she was a mature student who only finished her degree after about 7 years of studies then she did have to support me. then there's my sister who also says i should work my way through university, what does she know?! she never went to university, hell she's only just getting round to doing a-levels because she gave up on them twice, moved into a flat with her boyfriend and got into a STUPID amount of debt. those may seem petty but they really piss me i said the rest of my family are cool, my dad's side drink more than me and are a good laugh when i see them and my mum's two brothers are nothing like my mum at all, the rest i only see at christmas so i could give a flying f........

Posted by: Edward_lover1200 Jul 9 2003, 09:51 AM

i know how everyone feels...I'm 13 so I know nothing..*sigh* and if I decide to cry out for help or call a foul...or scream rape...I'm just trying to get attention *sigh* it sucks to be a teen...

Posted by: The.Wheezing.Ghost Jul 14 2003, 12:45 AM

I agree entirely with mistressalti. I sent a letter to my school pricipal about some issues we were having at school. She said she would answer me. I waited a month for her to say "I have it all typed up i'll give it to you later." She never did. I waited untill the last day and i asked her again. She never did bother to respond to my letter.

Posted by: The.Wheezing.Ghost Jul 14 2003, 10:08 PM

My cousin also sent an entire idea for the school system and how she believed it should have worked, She was fourteen years old. They never read it. Who would know better the people running the school or the student going through it all?

Posted by: Skiz Jul 14 2003, 10:12 PM

I run a brownie pack and one of the big reasons why no one is doing guiding anymore is because it is run predominatly by people who have not spoken to a child recently. Guides is a joke as the teenage generation has changed so much recently. What i find very humerous is how teenagers are blamed for lots of bad, but talking to adolecents and older people our generation tends to do a lot more volentary work. If people could just get over the stereotypes and listen to each other maybe life would be easier. Well, I can always dream thats going to happen.

Posted by: The.Wheezing.Ghost Jul 14 2003, 11:07 PM

wow.. thats basically what i have been saying to people for the past few years

Posted by: Mr Fuzzy Jul 15 2003, 12:24 AM

You know, I've always discriminated about age a fair bit in either direction. Seems to be something that happens. I try to be equally evil to everybody though.

Posted by: gerbilfromhell Jul 15 2003, 02:55 AM

i've tried to make ppl not think of me as the steryotyped teenager by bein as realistic as possible around others, and by only arguing when i'm SURE i'm right, then going on to PROVE the other person wrong (and then NOT rubbing it in their face, that's what makes them angriest for some reason huh.gif ). luckily, i'm extremely tall and look (to the average person on the street) at least 16 (which helps, though not too much). and that's further discrimination, actually. ever notice that tall teenagers and those who LOOK older get listened to more than short teenagers and those who look younger......... it's so pathetic

Posted by: Sun Tsu Jul 15 2003, 05:57 PM

I hate the lectures and tags that are put on teens by default. Not all of us act like the others, and i hate when im alwys told im so ''cute'' for when i do something that meant to be not for me......

Posted by: gerbilfromhell Jul 15 2003, 06:06 PM

i think it's hilarious when whever there's a prank played on a store or somethin like that, ppl immediatelly blame 'those damn kids' laugh.gif

Posted by: Sun Tsu Jul 15 2003, 06:27 PM

QUOTE (gerbilfromhell @ Jul 15 2003, 07:06 PM)
i think it's hilarious when whever there's a prank played on a store or somethin like that, ppl immediatelly blame 'those damn kids' laugh.gif

you mean when you're the kids?

Posted by: gerbilfromhell Jul 15 2003, 07:27 PM

no, i just mean that ppl just say either 'it's those damn kids' or 'damn teenagers'. they just assume that, without knowin nething about what happened.....

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