I heard a high school sophomore say “My generation sucks!” She said she wished she was growing up in the 90’s. I had to wonder if she realized:
1. We didn’t have cell phones in the 90’s.
2. We didn’t have laptops, tablets, social media or selfies in the 90’s either
3. We used a big bulky Walkman in the 90’s instead of a small sleek iPod to hear music.
4. We didn’t have access to download millions of songs in the 90’s. Instead, we bought tapes and CDs.
5. We enjoyed the grunge look in the 90’s. I wonder if she would trade her crop top for a giant flannel shirt.
6. We walked or road our bikes everywhere in the 90’s. No calling mommy for a ride at the drop of a hat.
I enjoyed the 90’s though. We had no idea we were missing out on all the technology and thought we looked good in those over-sized flannels. I don’t think having technology would suck either. I don’t think if I was 15 right now that I would necessarily be overheard saying “My generation sucks.” However, after hearing some of the things I heard out of teenagers mouths and seeing certain behaviors over the last few weeks, maybe their generation does suck.
Two women protesting about victim-blaming and slut-shaming at New York City’s SlutWalk in October 2011
“I would rather be called a slut or a whore by my friends than a bitch,” is one of the most disturbing things I have heard in a long time. I wanted to grab this girl by her shoulders, shake her and ask her what the hell was wrong with her.
This inspired a talk with my own 15-year-old daughter. It hit me that the words slut and whore are used as every day language. Thinking back, I remember slut being a term we threw around jokingly from time to time I guess. But I definitely remember using the word bitch with my friends more than that. What is completely disturbing is these girls, or a lot of them, are okay with being called a slut or a whore, even if they aren’t one. I tried to tell my daughter that those words are almost as derogatory as calling a black person the N word or a person with Downs retarded. I told her that not only should she never call anyone those words, she should never allow anyone to call her those words. I told her to stand up for herself and tell her friends that those words are not slang words she is willing to use or be called. The response: “okay mom,” followed with an eye roll.
“Most of the kids were okay with others commenting on their physical assets.” At least this one was worded a little better but basically a group of boys thought it was alright to comment on the girls bodies in front of a group and most of the girls were just fine with that. I caught them flipping their hair and giggling in response. What is wrong with these kids? First of all why isn’t anyone teaching these boys that this is not okay? It is not okay to comment on a girls boobs, butt, legs or anything else. Secondly, why do these girls giggle and flip their hair? As a society have we taught them that inappropriate comments about their bodies defines their self-worth? Are they too afraid to speak up for themselves?
This too inspired a conversation with my own daughter. I hope I got through to her when I told her that this is never okay. Telling someone that they look nice or beautiful is fine, commenting on specific body parts is not. I also plan to talk to my almost 13-year-old son about this because I don’t ever want him talking to a girl this way.
“God, I wasn’t doing anything,” was said by a teenage boy with his arms in the air to an adult he barely knew, the mother of a girl he liked. The mother had caught the two kids who barely knew each other kissing. The boy actually started running his mouth and stormed off. Teenagers are going to kiss. Parents are going to catch them in the act and it’s going to be uncomfortable for everyone involved. But my gosh be a man (or a young man about it). Don’t throw your arms in the air and disrespect the girl’s parents. By doing that, you will probably never see that girl again. I have no clue why a teenager would think it is okay to be disrespectful to adults. My mother would have lost it on me had I ever talked to another adult like that. Save that behavior for your own parent! LOL I laugh but we know they treat us worse than other adults.
My 15-year-old daughter seems to have a decent balance of common sense and book smarts, although she can say some pretty dingy things sometimes. She gets As and Bs in school and hangs out with a great group of girls who I really like. She’s almost 5’8, thin and has long blonde hair and green eyes. Yeah, she’s a knock out. But honestly I never really worried too much about her until the last few weeks as I’ve been out in the community at events and have heard these stupid things come out of other teenagers mouths. Now I worry. But I guess all I can do is keeping talking to her about self-worth, what is and isn’t appropriate, to be respectful of others and to demand respect of herself.
So yeah, they might have iPods, laptops, social media and cute little outfits but I may just agree a little that their generation sucks. What do you think?