A teen girl’s bedroom is a breeding ground.
Open the door, step inside, and close it. The door is plastered with magazine photos—Zayn, One Direction, Taylor Swift, and Bieber all stare at you with smiling faces, and from the looks of it, you’d probably never guess that her iPod is loaded full of Bright Eyes and Smashing Pumpkins.
Turn left. Slide open the door (which itself is covered with photos of best friends at movie theaters and Starbucks, though she much prefers foreign films at home, mostly in Italian, and the tiny café with the amazing hot chocolate across town, not that her friends know that), and find two disorganized rows of clothes. Sparkling tank tops, skin tight leggings, and combat boots dominate the space, each one carelessly yet carefully purchased from Forever 21 according to the season’s hottest trends. No one sees her favorite Target sandals, her softest thrift store sweater, or her best dress—the aquamarine silk one she’s worn to Aunt Cheryl’s wedding; she doesn’t wear them. They didn’t make it into this month’s Seventeen.
Close the closet and continue her circle. Take a seat at the desk that doubles as her vanity. Open the drawers and you’ll find tubes of lip gloss (even though she hates the sticky feeling), pots of shimmery eye shadows in shades of pink and tan (she’d rather wear blue), packages of mascara and eyeliner she’d rather not bother with, and heavy pans of concealer she thinks she needs but really doesn’t.
Her curling iron rests to the left, now cooled from this morning’s frying—her naturally straight hair isn’t stylish anymore.
Her textbooks are stacked to the right—AP English, AP Government, Calculus honors, and AP Physics (she’d wanted to take chemistry, but colleges prefer Physics, her mom had told her).
Look at her bookshelf. It’s stacked high with this year’s newest bestsellers (her favorite Hemingway and Dickens novels are safely hidden away in boot boxes under her bed), photos and medals from basketball tournaments that she hadn’t wanted to play (but, as her best friend says, everyone likes the b-ball girls). Ticket stubs from movies she hadn’t wanted to see fill a vase on the second shelf.
Examine her bureau, maybe even open some drawers. Right on top, smack in the center is a bottle of perfume she hates. But it’s expensive—$65 for 1.5 ounces—and that means everyone will love it, so she wears it. Open the top drawers and notice that it’s full of nearly identical black yoga pants, each paired branded with PINK in bold caps on the waistband. She doesn’t think they’re comfortable, but she wears them each day in gym class so she can match the other girls.
Read the covers of the magazines stacked on her bedside table.
“Lose weight fast!”
“Ten hair hacks you have to try!”
“The only makeup you need this spring!”
Sit on her bed and run your hands over the purple comforter. She hates purple. But her friend has the same set so she picked it out too.
A teen girl’s bedroom is a breeding ground for conformity.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.