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Friday, August 26, 2011

The age of rebellion

I mean this quite literally - the "teen" age = the age of rebellion. Every person goes through this phase, and it's the most important yet most vulnerable phase in the development of a person's personality.

The teen years basically refers to the 13 to 19-year-old range: the numbers that end with "-teen". It's usually at the start of this age that puberty starts, and the hormones start activating. The foundation of the personality has been set, so now it's time to built it. Unfortunately, this is a very precarious process - one slip up could mean the destruction of an entire future.

The teen years are usually filled with doubt, pressure and awkwardness of growing out of the cartoon-printed pajamas into maturity and puberty. Doubt - because we're still children, but we're expected to start acting maturely. Pressure - because we want to fit in, and feel left out when we're different. Awkwardness - because of the various changes puberty is making.

For girls, puberty means the start of menstruation, the growth of hair in some awkward places, and two pieces of flesh on the chest that grew out of no where! For guys, it's the breaking of their voices, the sudden growth spurt, and also the hair. For both, curiosity fills our minds - as an infant we curiously explored, until we've basically conquered the children's world. Now we've entered an entirely new world, we become infants again - curious about everything, but somehow adventure and courage was lost in some of us; some remained as daring as ever.

When I started my teen years, I was terrified - the first day of school showed me no familiar face (the only one being a person I was not close with). Secondary school students are what I call "noobfaces", especially in the first few years for most. Why? Because most of them are still children at heart, yet they want to fit in as part of the adult world, so their ways of thinking and sense of style gets mixed up in a rather amusing way.

Lots of things happen during the teen years, and everyone copes with these changes and shifts in their own ways. I'll be addressing a few of these elements here later. Some stay strong to themselves, some break under the pressure of peers and adulthood, some others just learn to adapt.

I like to consider myself somewhere in the middle, which is the one who learns to adapt. I'll admit that I wanted to be like the stereotypical girls - straight-ironed hair, a tailored pinafore, a boyfriend, a stylish mobile phone, lots of gadgets and fashion pieces to brag about, etc. I got some of what I wanted, including those North Star canvas shoes that were banned at school.

The main plague during the teen years is peer pressure. Let's face it - it takes all sorts to complete the world, and there would be no rich if there was no poor. Some are less wealthy than others, and their parents are willing to fork out money to pamper their children. Let's use this concept: monkey see, monkey want. You see someone owning that thing and he/she looks uber-cool and fashionable, so you decide on getting one for yourself.

You wait for your parents to decide on a 'yes' or you're saving up, but by then every one has one of those, and you feel left out. This doesn't only apply to material things - it also applies to attitudes, choices of vocabulary, etc. Changes in interest could also happen, as it happened to me - I never really listened to Chinese pop music, but just to get a conversation topic I started listening to it, and also went on to watch Taiwanese idol dramas, but I still kept listening to English songs and Japanese music.

Media influence plays a big part not only in teenage development, but affects the entire society as a whole. Like I said, some stay strong, some break and some adapt. Most of them are still vulnerable - children are innocent, and will learn by copying. Essentially, teenagers are children learning the ways of adults, so they learn by copying people off television, magazines, posters, movies, etc.

Many girls (and also guys) doesn't know that a lot of the photos and images of people in the magazine are wearing makeup, and also had their skin and whatnot retouched using photo editing softwares, the most popular one being Adobe Photoshop.

I was watching a group of classmates' presentation one day, and they showed a video of the production of a foundation ad on a billboard. The model was the average Jane Doe, with uneven skin tone and serious dark circles. The makeup artists just brushed a bit of powder onto the face, did some eye defining makeup, then just took the shot. Then the photo editors did the "magic" - they elongated her neck, evened out her skin tone, brightened her hair, widened her eyes, and there she was, a completely unrecognizable person.

Movie stars and models have their own way of taking care of their skin, but they're still human - they're prone to getting pimples and spare tires. It's just that professionals use computer softwares to trick us into believing that their perfect, and so we thrive to be. The main thing girls want? To be thin. And to achieve that goal, they do whatever it takes - literally.

And then there's the rebellion - this usually takes place after the early stages, and is usually because the teens think they qualify as adults already and demand their freedom. Naturally parents would restrain them because they know that their children are not experienced enough, and thus REBELLION is born.

While rebellion is now a common trait associated with "insecure teenagers", there are some cases out there that are extremely serious to the point that even caning and beating doesn't solve the problem. Family issues and peer pressure are the main causes of these happenings.

There are few teenagers nowadays who follow their parents wishes completely - even the most obedient of teenagers would rebel once in a while, it just depends on whether it's serious.

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