A Stereotypical Teenager? This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

December 2, 2009
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A Stereotypical Teenager?

Loud, obnoxious, rebellious, out of control, and up to no good… these are just a few of a wide number of stereotypes that are attributed to American teenagers. What is it about teenagers that make the rest of society seem to turn against them? I believe that there are many misconceptions about teenagers. Many people in different generations sincerely believe that all teenagers are up to no good, and are guaranteed trouble no matter where they are. I am not arguing that teenagers like that don’t exist, because there are plenty of them out there, but it bothers me that one type of teenager has been able to spoil the image of all other teenagers.

Personally I think that these stereotypes apply more to me because I am a male. In addition to being a male teenager, I also have noticed that people think negatively of me because I wear a longer hair style than what is typically expected in society. Some people grow long hair to show rebellion, or to be unique, but I wouldn’t classify myself into either of those categories, I simply enjoy having it more than short hair. But because of that, many members of society link certain stereotypes of male teenagers to me because I show long hair. I could be considered many different things including: rebellious, troubled, angry, arrogant, or any other sort of stereotype out there. How could anyone possibly claim to know all of these false accusations simply based on my age, and my gender?

At times it can be bothersome when people take certain precautions around teenagers, because they believe that we are all reckless, and dangerous. Parents will cross to the opposite side of the street with their kids, people clear sidewalks when walking, other drivers tense up on the road, and all while this is happening, other people will keep one eye carefully watching, just to make sure that all of the rotten teenagers don’t do anything dangerous. I sometimes think that people see me and other teenagers as giant, shiny explosives that are about to detonate, so everyone else needs to distance themselves as much and as quickly as possible. Just because a teenager happens to be walking around outside, that should in no way trigger a response where people feel that it isn’t safe to be near teenagers. Although it does bother me, I can also see a point of view where I would do the same thing. If I saw someone outside that looked a little bit off-beat to me, I would most likely go a different path as well. However, that raises the question, why does society take in all of these stereotypes and live all of their lives believing false statements?

All of it is ridiculous I believe. Anyone that knows me will be able to explain that I am the exact opposite of a stereotypical teenager, so no one should need to take precautions if they see me out somewhere. A stereotypical teenager would most likely be thought of being connected to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs in some way, shape, or form; I on the other hand do not do any of those things, and am strongly against them. Because I do not consider myself anywhere close to a stereotypical teenager, it does bother me when people mistake me for doing those types of activities. All of these common stereotypes don’t do any good for the people who actually work hard, and try to do something with their lives.
For many people, stereotyping does more than just become a bothersome hassle. For a handful of teenagers, the effect of stereotyping makes them feel pressured into behaving like a stereotypical teenager. For example, some people do drugs and alcohol because they are expected to by society’s stereotypes, so someone may think, “Oh, I am a teenager now, I guess because other people are drinking then I have to as well.” I don’t even see peer pressure as that much of an issue here, people tend to start drinking or doing drugs voluntarily; more often than not, there isn’t peer pressure that is forcing them into doing something. And that creates an entire roundabout of madness. To simplify this; many people start acting like stereotypical teenagers, because they feel that they need to in order to be a “normal” teenager. But that in turn makes society cast out teenagers, when it is actually those same members of society who created these stereotypes for teenagers to follow. In reality, there are several statistics that illustrate a decline in teenage drug abuse, alcoholism, and teenage pregnancy, yet stereotypes still exist (Poole).

Are all teenagers loud, obnoxious, rebellious, out of control, and up to no good? Obviously not, there is no way that every single teenager in the world could fit that description. And yet, society still labels every teenager in the world by a description very similar to that. The few teenagers that live a life similar to that have managed to destroy the image of every teenager that happens to be a good kid. It seems that hardworking, determined, and honest teenagers don’t have a place in the world anymore. They are out there, and ready to be noticed, but the rest of society has chosen to view them in the same manner as the bad crowds that exist in the teenage population. Quite strange, that the model teenager that is acceptable in society is not taken seriously. Why does society view superior teenagers that way? It is not only teenagers; it is everybody in the world. No person will ever be right in prejudicing someone, no matter who they are.

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TinypersonThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 28 at 5:22 pm
I TOTALLY agree with the part about how stereotypes are shaping the teenagers because that is what is expected from them.
Wiseman125This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Oct. 19 at 12:29 am
If you form you lives around stereotypes and not your own personality, your just plain stupid.
TinypersonThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Nov. 19 at 9:33 am
I'm not sure you understand what I am saying and I'm not sure what you mean by your comment. I do agree that people should not form their lives around stereotypes. However, they do anyway. This is because, AS IN THE ARTICLE, they feel like that is the norm and they have to go along with it to fit in. @Wiseman125
Craigmogs said...
Mar. 22 at 1:08 pm
Yes I see where your coming from as I hold open doors for many people and will still get a look of 'your going to mug someone' when I try my best to be as kind as possible but... it seems that in school kindness is in fact taken as weakness :(
stereotypicalteen#1 said...
Oct. 13, 2016 at 2:43 pm
I find adults who were stereotypical teenagers tend to assume all teenagers are stereotypical
weareallsith replied...
Mar. 30 at 8:28 pm
well said well said indeed
CloudyLemonade said...
Apr. 27, 2016 at 4:37 pm
My parents are the ones that label me as a stereotypical teenager. I've always been close to them and I really dislike the idea of displeasing them or causing them any kind of trouble but they just always assume that I am just as bad or even worse than most teenagers. I get shouted at for not being able to help my parents with things like social media since I don't use social media but since I'm the teenager I apparently post selfies all day and hook up with strangers on the Internet...
Stereotypical.teenager1 said...
Apr. 20, 2016 at 12:33 pm
I have honestly wondered why we get discriminated. Not all teens are the same. Your parents could have been worse than you when they were younger but yet were all stereotyped. This is completely unfair.
Nate.law said...
Mar. 3, 2016 at 9:55 am
i liked your article but i'll never understand why adults would discriminate teenagers. After all they were once teenagers.
ash1 replied...
Apr. 14, 2016 at 10:17 pm
Exactly, they were once teenagers.They probably dealt with the stereotypical teen (or they were the stereotypical teen) so they expect the next generation to be the same if not worse.
Writer13 said...
Feb. 5, 2016 at 6:50 pm
I love this! Especially the ending, "I wish for her." Well done
Hellhoundprincess13 said...
Aug. 27, 2015 at 7:13 pm
they should get it they were a teen once
Hellhoundprincess13 said...
Aug. 24, 2015 at 9:02 pm
I loved your article. and totally agree I am sick of my parents telling me to be 'normal' they just don't get it.
Caleb said...
Aug. 17, 2015 at 12:47 pm
I was recently called out on in a group when I posted a picture of myself. Immediately someone posted that 'I'm just seeking attention to get my picture liked' when that wasn't the case and was curious about something on my photo. I don't follow teenager stereotypes like you I don't have interest in drugs, and I am passionate about being a engineer in the military and doing good in society. I just wished society would recognize the teens who are working hard.
CristelSnowThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 8, 2015 at 3:53 pm
Yep so true. It's about time someone said something regarding this issue. Its hard enough being a teenager...we don't need stereotypes defining who we are. Well said! And for the record long hair is cool and hot ( well on most people) (^0^)
Fireclaw36 said...
Aug. 3, 2015 at 1:21 am
You know, just because other people think you may be off, or crazy, or weird, doesn't mean you have to change, you amazing the way you are, I agree with you on so many levels, but just because we're teens doesn't mean we can discriminate others, start the trend people, be a friend and you may find out what your missing out on.
jazzywawa said...
May 26, 2015 at 4:19 am
thank you!! not only do i agree with all of it but it helped with my assignment!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU haha
LorenaHoggard This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 17, 2015 at 2:45 pm
@Mitch1991, i feel the same way. My parents are always saying "no rush to grow up" when it comes to other teens having sex, doing drugs, et cetera, but when i act "immature" its just like "OH GROW UP". What...does ... society... want?!?!?!?!?
SophieSchnitzel This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 22, 2015 at 8:48 pm
I will say something and my mom will shake my head and say, "Teenagers are weird". Annoying, but sort of off topic. Anyway. YOUR ARTICLE WAS AMAZING!
Yasmin E. said...
Oct. 13, 2014 at 3:08 pm
Your analysis of this whole 'stereotypical teenager' issue is so accurate! Unfortunately i think the problem is much biger than stereo-typing teenagers, society will always find a flaw in the system and that in the teenage case is: impulse behaviour, hence the stereotype but really all individuals in our impossible to please sociaty suffer of some sort of false judgment or a stereotype and in an ideal world i would suggest that people should be less judgemental but who am i kidding, even... (more »)
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