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What is a Teenager?

11 Jul

For most of the last year, I’ve been reveling in, and suffering through, some major life transitions. Primarily, the transition from girlfriend to fiancé and the transition from graduate student to “real-world” job holding adult (that came with it’s own set of new job transitions a couple of times). It’s left me feeling unstable, in more ways than one, and a bit aimless. So, I’ve returned to focus on some topics that I love. And this is where I approach the topic of the teenager.

Mid-Year Exam, 1974 by Joseph Szabo
(via tumblr – click image)

It’s weird that when you say the word teenager or teen, most people feel like it means something very specific. There’s an idea that being a teen embodies more than an age range but also some aspect of identity. The word itself however, wasn’t used much before the early 1900’s and was originally popularized to sell clothing.

But if you’re a fan of pop culture, and I so am, you know that we are obsessed with teenagers. So it’s a fair question to ask: what really is a teenager? And why do we like them so damned much?

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