We are smart. We are decent people. We are damn funny too. We’re the youth of today, and we’re sick of the negative stereotypes continually being imposed upon us.
It’s rarely been okay for a teenager to have a serious opinion, nor is it ever asked of us. It’s never been okay for a teenager to be a real person. But a large part of the problem is that we’re rarely given a chance to have a real opinion at all.
We’re too often dismissed as too self-centred, too young to understand and too dumb to care. But nobody asks us first, because apparently we’re apathetic, we’re ignorant and we’re dumb.
Teachers, parents, the media — they all struggle to see beyond the stereotype; the pigeonholed view that says we’re all fake, we’re all idiots, we’re all self-centred and we all hate the world.
The problem is that every single teenager is a fake. We don’t do it deliberately, nor are we always out to manipulate. It’s because we have no idea who we are. Our only choice is to fake it till we make it. That’s all we know how to do.
We’re told that our life’s purpose until we start a career is to be educated. But surely we should get something else? Instead, we’re left to fill in the gaps. We lie, we cheat and we steal. It’s not because we are trying to pretend to be something we’re not — it’s because we honestly have no idea who we are yet, and yet nobody tells us that that’s okay.
It’s a difficult process, you know, trying to find out who you are, constantly being confused about why you don’t already know. We might act like idiots in the meantime. This isn’t excusing our behaviour, but it’s giving at least some explanation of it.
Some teenagers are overly pleased with themselves and angry at the world, but that isn’t where we all end. That small minority of teenagers shouldn’t invalidate the opinions of the rest of us, because most of us actually do care. We care about global warming, we care about foreign aid, we care about feminism, and sexism, and animal cruelty, and war. We care because they’re our problems too. One day, we’re going to inherit the responsibility of trying to fix the world.
I’m saying that maybe teenagers should be given a break once in a while, that we’re people too. And that this argument shouldn’t be dismissed just because a teenager wrote it.