I’m a Teen, not a Stereotype

Though I must admit that Random Shapes has been successful since its inception, I haven't seen any shift in the movement to shatter teen stereotypes. If anything, I seem to be getting more dirty looks, comments, and emails from adults. One thing I've noticed is that nobody seems to pay attention to anything I say, not until they hear the word MySpace. Though I'm preaching against it, their typical response is, "you know there's pedophiles on that site, right, it's no place for a kid like you!" Hello, have you been listening to anything I just said?

I guess this is partly my fault though. I've just entered my emo/headbanger stage, what with the black clothing, heavy skateboarding accessories, and the people I've befriended. These things combined are enough to have me stared down by any adult, to the point where I want to do one of two things; stand up and start shouting obscenities at random adults or storm out of the mall, knocking over clothing racks and pushing people to the floor on my way.

I know violence isn't the way to solve anything, but people really need to wake up and realize that I, and many others like me, am a teen, not a stereotype. But to put a foot forward in this movement, I have received some positive encouragement from adults around the world, and the network has reached out to at least a few adults, but I'm still not completely satisfied with the progress. I encourage all teens to stick up for their rights as citizens, I will not be discriminated against because of my age, clothing style, friends, or any other variable for that matter, and I'm not changing for anyone.

Learn to live with the younger generation (who will be taking care of YOU in the years to come) or seclude yourself from society so we don't have to hear you bicker and moan and our choices. Is it really that difficult?

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44 Comments

Filed under blog, Friends, Miscellany, teenager

44 responses to “I’m a Teen, not a Stereotype

  1. Except aren’t we, at the same time, both creating this stereotype of both teens and now adults?

    It’s always “us against them.” Teens are the ones that started this whole thing, and they’re not going to stop it by continuing. If somebody wants to be respected as one with real thoughts worth listening to, they’ve got to make them and act like somebody worth respecting. By whining and complaining about “them” teens are just 1) creating more stereotypes, 2) acting exactly as the adult sterotype expects, and 3) proving them right. Ever think that they get upset because all teens do is “bicker and moan”?

    Sometimes it’s too hard for me to resist playing devil’s advocate…Please don’t ban me. :p

  2. Even though the network may have only changed a few minds, I’m glad we’ve done that much. We aren’t a bunch of goody-goodies that adults like to see. We’re individuals doing something that many teens don’t and wouldn’t do.

    Those adults who stare need to learn one thing: don’t judge others based on their appearance.

  3. Interesting points. Elliot is right in that whining about it will get us nowhere, but take your average adult and see how many times they complain about anything unfair. It’s the same principle, essentially. I will always come back to the “Actions speak louder than words” mantra because it hols true in so many ways, except to take action in this network is to speak: ironic to say the least.

    I also think Matt is right in that we’re somewhat free-thinking and individual, doing what we want. I suppose it’s good that we’ve changed a few minds, but I don’t really see this as the overall goal, rather a pleasant side effect.

  4. Within the whole Random Shapes blogring I don’t see much variety, that may be why it hasn’t been as “successful” as hoped in clawing out of the typical teenaged stereotype. The majority of the blogs I’ve read from the site come from the same breed of ambitious, graphic-desigining teen. That’s not a bad thing in any way, but it is in itself a stereotype. You share opinions, hobbies, and the goal of digging a cozy hideout for good teen bloggers on the net. You’ve created a clique and with it your own prejudices for and against differing teen stereotypes. Adults aren’t the only guilty ones here. 😉

    It isn’t the whining that makes you a teenager, that’s something that everyone does (even adults, imagine that), it’s your age. No matter how mature you feel, look, or how your peers see you, your age will effect adults’ perception of you. Stereotypes aren’t easy to break, they make things easier for our brains to classify and understand. You can’t escape the hormones and that internal burning you have to be your own person and escape the tyranny of adults. It’s what us teens do. Changing would be unnatural whether on your part or an adult’s.

    Kick back, relax, and live it up. Let yourself be yourself, a stereotype doesn’t change who you are. If the label’s wrong, and your persecutor is is ignorant enough to believe stereotypes, they’re probably not worth a second thought. 🙂

  5. Well yea….doing all thats stuff can make a statement. But will you only get pressed with charges of assault. So If I were you drink some tea and take it easy. Pushing stands over and etc……by doing that you will only ive teens a worse name.

  6. Several months ago, I read an article in Time magazine about teens that stereotyped them to explain why we act “weird”. That made

  7. Whoops. Anyway, that made me furious because a bunch of scientists trying to explain why certain ones of us use myspace can’t possibly understand all teens.

  8. Thanks for the comments everyone. It isn’t the way they physically see me that’s bothersome, it’s their mental perception that annoys me so. I guess all of you are right in your own ways, but I must agree with Bekka the most, adults have a preset image of us, and it’s wrong, but I suppose I’ll have to learn to live with it.

    Missingo, I would never actually do something like that, but it’s something I feel like doing every time someone stops me to have me empty my pockets, or gives me a dirty look, or asks where my parents are. I’m tired of it all, but I suppose whining doesn’t really help. We should have some Random Shapes t-shirts made….

  9. I agree with everyone. Especially the whole “trying to break the stereotype” statement. Face it… it will probably never happen. All we can do is things like Random Shapes and show the world that they are a few good teenagers out there. We all don’t smoke pot and rob stores, some of us actually better citizens than you, adults. And yes, we can’t vote yet but, look out… because one day we will be able too. This is the thing I love about Random Shapes… we are all a community of teenagers who think and can write. And yes, will one day probably ultimately change the world. But, for right now we just have to try and live down the stereotype that the adults have us on…

  10. Sam

    Man, You know what your talking about. Most of the time I just think that I’ll grow out of it but I suspect it will be something that actually helps shape the type of adult I will be.CONFUSED! Anyway, I’m on this website mytalkzone.com. It’s actually pretty cool! Check it out! It’s free and there are some awsome kids on it! They share our point of view .You can upload music and pics and video and have your own blog there! I’ve met the coolest friends on it! http://www.mytalkzone.com

  11. Pingback: Parents In Denial » Blog Archive » I’m not a teen stereotype

  12. Ian

    just yesterday i got the great idea to disprove or make a point, if only to the 1 or 2 people that read my blog, to against the teenage steretype. please comment

    “Young people are portrayed by the media as alcoholics and drug abusers, criminals, bludgers, lazy, complaining and aggressive, according to research commissioned by the Federal Government.” (tell me this then-do people finally snap out of this apparent “madness” the instant the hit 20???-i read somewhere that teens account for 13% of the population. Then how is it possible that according to a poll, “The adults polled estimated that youth were responsible for 43 percent of violent crimes. The truth? FBI statistics show that juveniles are responsible for 13 percent of violent crime, less than a third of what the adults polled thought.”how is it possible for almolt half of us to be on crack, drink, smoke, etc… and most of all, cause almost half of all violent crimes????

    teens are not sex freaks-“For every violent or sexual offense committed by a youth under 18 years of age, there are three such crimes committed against a youth by adults.”

    teenage girls are pregnant-“the large majority are impoverished girls with histories of physical, sexual and other abuses by parents and other adults, and most are impregnated by adult men.”

    “83% of murdered children, half of murdered teenagers and 85 percent of murdered adults are slain by adults over age 20, not by ‘kids’…In fact, FBI reports show 47-year-olds (people Clinton’s age (*and monica too..lol*) are twice as likely to commit murder than are 13-year-olds”

    the media is against us..because they portray teens as labratory mice, chastising every mishap-example-look at the DC snipers-a 40 year old seduced a ‘lost’ teen into a killing squad, timothy mcveigh, they treat mental patients with less scrutiny and mercilessness, and columbine didnt help either, but compared to non-teen violence, we are comparitively, a very safe age group.

    -heres another example-

    “The Roy Morgan survey of 600 people, conducted in August, found that more than half thought stories about young people were negative and only 18 percent could remember positive stories in the previous 12 months.”
    -the media is against us, look at all this evidence. how the hell the media (aka the runaway bigmouth that goes about screaming any bad news to get people to turn thier heads) knows more and have more accurate reports than scientific studies and surveys

    teens are apathetic and dont care about the future-“95% of San Francisco’s public school youth did not drop out of school last year while 4,500 graduated from public high school.”-thats probably as good as college dropout rates.

    Teens care about nothing but having fun-“In truth, found Moses, the number one worry of teenagers is getting a good job, and their number one expectation is completing their education.”

    teens are high-“A study by the US Drug Abuse Warning Network found that 95% of the drug-related deaths in 1994 were adults over the age of 26.”

    CONCLUSIONS

    stereotypical conclusions with no cross-analysis

    we have the government frowning upon us on atleast one instance, negative statistics are amplified, and positive ones get pushed to the back of the cabinet, forgotten forever.
    we are considered sex maniacs
    we dont care about our future and just want to have fun
    we are violent, always high and having sex, and are moral delinquents

    conclusions after careful analysis of both sides of the issue and using statistics (numbers dont lie)

    we recognize the importance of a future and from the 2nd last paragraph, “the # 1 worry of teenagers is getting a good job..completing thier education”
    the media emphasizes teen acts of violence over others, and fails to mention or emphasize when teens are victims
    we are not high and only account for 5% of drug related deaths

    FINAL CONCLUSIONS-numbers dont lie and further more, disprove all teenage stereotypes in practically every single case.

    please comment

    this website really does justice to all stereotypes, especially teenage stereotypes.

    http://www.kqed.org/w/ymc/empowered/stereotypes.html

  13. mk

    I totally agree with Zeerus! We have to stick up for oursleves! I’m writing this article for english on how teens are sterotyped and how it isn’t fair.
    These adults, parents were once teenagers as well. Why can’t they just lay off and see that we will grow up and learn from our mistakes. We will be the ones taking care of them sooner or later.
    The adults say “never judge a book by its cover” Well hello, take your own advice! You are judging us not only by the way we look, but by our age. It doesn’t matter how mature you really are, you will still be stereotyped for quite sometime. You will be known as this trouble making rebellious kind of kid.

    even though this is my first time on being on here, i thank all of you for your point of veiws. It helped me out alot. Good luck with this site 🙂

  14. rafa

    i think that stereotyping teenagers is a bad idea. teens would be offended and they would end up living up to what they are seen as even when they started out as a good kid. it’s a self fulfilling prophecy!!! get rid of stereotypes and you might have better behaved teenagers!!!

  15. keanu luver's m8

    i think that stereotypes are wrong, and that nobody has the right to categorise people. they should try to help people in the world and not try to class them!!!!!

  16. Me

    Whoever said, ‘I’m a teen not a sterotype’ is absoultely right. It’s not that polls show that most do drugs, they’re merely worded in such a way.

    And also opinon can be stated as if it were fact and as such confused quite easily.

    For example, I was reading an article a little while back that said that 40% of teenagers take drugs. I said this to various people.

    The response from adults I got was “That’s awful.” “Tut tut” or some variant.

    Until I pointed it out, none of them processed the fact that it meant that [b]60%[/b] don’t.

    And for the record, teens didn’t start the sterotyping, we didn’t make all these stupid media articles. If we do sterotype adults then it is sterotying [i]back[/i].

    I was once having an online debate and someone asks one of the other posters what their age is and I end up sitting there thinking ‘Why does it matter? Surely the only question is whether they can succesfully prove their point!’

    Besides, I once watched this shop with a sign up about bags. A teenager went in with this ridicously small bag that you can fit a pencilcase in……..and that’s it. They were promptly had a go at about it.

    The next customer with a bag was to be an adult with a briefcase that they could have fitted pretty much anything they like in it. No-one cared.

    Then a lower-school child with a book-bag. They were given very slightly evil looks but nothing was really done about it.

    All on the same day. Same shop.

  17. Me

    Oh and for the record, the age discrimaniton act is age discrimantory in its very nature. It’s for elder people. If it didn’t have those loopholes in it, there’d be no way of setting legal limits on substances.

    I remember some people were discussing something and someone said “Well, we can’t really harm the teenage sterotype”. Vehement and heated agreements followed.

    Someone thought “Well, I can’t harm the teenage sterotype so it doesn’t matter if I litter”

    It’s called “Give a dog a bad name and you may as well hang him.”

  18. Addis-Ani

    one kind of stereotyping people dont talk about is stereotyping from their parents … my units, espeially my mum were just so desperate to label all of us (i have two siblings)
    we ended up with my oldest sister as “the beauty”, my brother as “sports beast” and me as the jock… but somehow, roles have shifted… my sisters a grub now, my bother is a pretty boy and im… unlabelled….
    my mum doesnt mind as much now that im unlabelled, because im not as weird as i used to be…. but i regret ever having shoved myself into a slot for fear that she would think something was wrong with me. i regeret that now, im not a free thinker as i used to be because ive silenced some of the things that are important to me… shaving off bits and peices of myself so that i could fit into a slot and receive a label
    and while i feel mad and disapopointed and regretful, i sort of understand my mothers need to define us. giving us labels convinced her that we were normal, or at least gave her some direction as to what to do with us… so the next time you feel as if someone is stuffing you into a mould, stop and realize that theyre more afraid of you than you think… and even though stereotyping may come in the form of a “gentle push in a cerrtain direction”, still stand up and excercise your right to “be”!
    anyways, y’all, thats just me… what are your thoughts?

  19. >>Unlabelled

    Well I came up with this nickname ages ago. I’ve decided to be unlabelled. I’m just me…and i’m a Christian. It’s not a stereotype.

    Not all adults stereotype. My parents don’t, although they don’t like what I wear. I have been labelled by certain adults but only one or two. Everyone else just says i’m individual.

    I have been labelled as e## and it’s not what I am.

    It’s true, trying to fit into a slot does make you feel like you belong. But i’d rather be myself than belong. I belong to Jesus, that’s better than anything a person could give me.

    I’d rather be insane than normal. But if you want to call your self a stereotype, go ahead, it’s your choice.

    Those are just a few thoughts I have….hope I didn’t offend anyone, I didn’t mean to. It’s just my choice.

  20. ohamid

    im not really botherd what people think i know i am who i am and no one can change me, all i say is ahhhhhh bisto, oh n eat some mini bagels and chips for dinner.

  21. Kate V.

    Hey, I’ve got to say. I agree with you. I’m writing an essay on teen stereotyping and I was actually thinking about quoting you on some things if you don’t mind. It’s like…when when I go for an interview…I have to change everything about myself just so that they’d give me a second look!

  22. Daniel Bolt

    All adults need to understand that they were once teenagers as well, and the things they did and the music they listened to were considered radical and dangerous “back in the day.” How dare they judge us for what they once did? How dare they look down their noses at us as weaker and less intelligent human beings? We have every bit of potential (if not more) than they do. Teens in the mass media are pictured as unintelligent drug abusers who can’t drive, break the law all the time, and want to have sex with anything that moves. This is not acceptable. It is time we take a stand and prove to them that we ARE intelligent and we have potential, but adults are blind to anything positive that a teenager does. It is time they look at us with more respect.

  23. Sparkle Fairie

    omg cry me a river… why not instead of whining and complaining, tell your ideas to people worth talking to that will respect you and your ideas?
    now there’s some advice worth taking

  24. Claudia

    i agree with you however no matter what teens
    do or say there will always be ignorance in the
    way that some
    adults look at teens just because they
    “were young once too”.

  25. Denise

    wuz up with everyone today

  26. Heather

    Yup- I agree. I never really went thru the emo
    stage. I have always been known as a Hippie. But
    in truth, adults almost seem to expect servitude from the younger generation. Thats just not right. To get
    respect, you must first give it.

  27. lauren

    LOSERS !!!!! hahahahaha

  28. courtney sexton

    i hate how people are always being critisised or whatever because of how they dress or what music they listen to or how they decide to do thier makeup or whatever. i think that people should just get over themselves and if they dont like someone or something about someone theyn they can just get over it cause its not like that person is going to change anything about themselves because someone doesnt like it. i have seen so many fights start beetween two or three different groups because they dont like eachother or their groups or whatever.

  29. you just stereotyped yourself here though.
    you’ve said you’re into the “emo/headbanger” stage. Which is pretty funny to me. All little “emo kids” want not to be labeled, but i know for a fact that when people called me emo, yeah i’d be angry but i’d just turn right around and call them preps.
    You can’t get around stereotyping, its and everyday thing.
    Like if you heard someone talking about a used car salesmen, you’d think of a dirty sleasy old man who’s just trying to rip you off. Adults get stereotyped too.

  30. Daz

    Why do you want to go against what society has set standards for? Why do you have to go through a “phase” at all. You are only strengthening the negative stereotype on teenage youth with these actions. Maybe you can persuade me?

  31. Dan

    You are angry because you are stereotyped, yet you live up to this stereotype. You retaliate with agression, no wonder they stereotype you as a violent teenager. You also say you wish to be treated as an individual, yet you are being the completely opposite by ‘following’ you peers and dressing how they dress. I wear what is comfortable, and cheap, i think i look relatively smart and very rarely get ‘dirty looks’
    I am 16 and am rarely stereotyped, If i am i overcome and attempt to prove them wrong, greet them politely.
    True we shoudn’t be labelled but there are just reasons why we are labelled so. If we want to loose this stereotype we need to stop living up to it.
    found this site trying to do sociology prper, bt spent last 10 mins writing this, lol.

  32. brandon fiscus

    i completely aggree with you i fell the same way almost constantly it is as if i have no voice sometimes

  33. Two new studies show why some people are more attractive for members of the opposite sex than others.

    The University of Florida, Florida State University found that physically attractive people almost instantly attract the attention of the interlocutor, sobesednitsy with them, literally, it is difficult to make eye. This conclusion was reached by a series of psychological experiments, which were determined by the people who believe in sending the first seconds after the acquaintance. Here, a curious feature: single, unmarried experimental preferred to look at the guys, beauty opposite sex, and family, people most often by representatives of their sex.

    The authors believe that this feature developed a behavior as a result of the evolution: a man trying to find a decent pair to acquire offspring. If this is resolved, he wondered potential rivals. Detailed information about this magazine will be published Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    In turn, a joint study of the Rockefeller University, Rockefeller University and Duke University, Duke University in North Carolina revealed that women are perceived differently by men smell. During experiments studied the perception of women one of the ingredients of male pheromone-androstenona smell, which is contained in urine or sweat.

    The results were startling: women are part of this repugnant odor, and the other part is very attractive, resembling the smell of vanilla, and the third group have not felt any smell. The authors argue that the reason is that the differences in the receptor responsible for the olfactory system, from different people are different.

    It has long been proven that mammals (including human) odor is one way of attracting the attention of representatives of the opposite sex. A detailed article about the journal Nature will publish.

  34. hay hay

    youre a mess.

  35. Deandre

    this is so true

  36. it sucked balls!!!

  37. omfg!!!! this sucked site coz it wasss tooo crapyy and not hard to use

  38. Rene`

    you know, i think that teens as well as adults set stereotypes. some people say that i’m up to no good(other teens) and adults say that i will be good for the future. i also hang out with the so called “gothic” group but that doesn’t mean we are all the same. some of us used to be cutters but we have stopped. you also don’t have to wear black all the time to be gothic. you see, that is the teen stereotype that adults have started to use. now, how much of the stereotyping is our own fault? how much do we actually like being called gothic, prep, jerk, nerd, etc? i believe these names or stereotypes are just as much put on us by adults as they are our own peers. aslo the government doens’t help us much. they think we are ALL drug addicts, a threat and sex crazy.

  39. well I don’t understand why you say that your going through a “stage” because I don’t believe in stages. Stages are just excuses to be like everybody else. “prep stage” is trying to be like a prep. “Goth/punk stage” is trying to make men like you because you try to relate and be like them. Whatever. Your teenage years are spent trying to figure out what you want to do in your life, and try to pick apart your inner being, just so you can put it back together again as you please. hmmm, Teenagers are stereotyped but there are some good reason for it. I have plenty of friends that do drugs, they tell their parents that they don’t and that they “need to stop saying their doing something they aren’t” when in all actuallity they are doing what their parents think. Then when their parents find out their lying, they begin the process of stereotyping other people, and then sterotyping their kids when they grow older. Its pretty stupid. People are dumb and I hate them. OH and sex, I know plenty of virgins and plenty of sluts. Were a mixed culture, so that whole stereotyping thing should stop, like soon.

  40. you should like die hoe, your so stupid.
    like really?
    Nobody cares about this opinion your talking about, nothng can change peoples minds, get over it. peace :]

  41. Research paper!!!

    I am doing rresearch paper over teen labling and I would like to use some of your words and i am giving you complet credit.

  42. Sean

    You say there are good reasons as to why us teens get stereotyped…Is there anytime when stereotyping is good itself? so why should there be a good reason as to why?

    Sure a lot of us say we’re in a ‘stage’, but its how we FEEL…currently, i like wearing black, I think I look good in it :p Im not some goth/emo kid…I like metal though…i have long hair (Im a guy) and listen to a certain genre of metal.

    So, does that automatically make me some sort of devil spawn and some drug abusing, sex crazed teen? Honestly…how the hell can someone come up with That? The media focuses on the bad things…they never foxus on the good things that some people do, that INCLUDES the ‘stages’ of people, and how they act.

    I’m personally a clean teen, and i know a lot of clean teens…yet nearly every one of them has been thought of differently…

    I’ve been nice to nearly everyone i can try to be nice too, yet i STILL get stereotyped about me drug abusing and I’m evil and some sort of hippie…seriously, what the hell?

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