Teenagers have been around for a long, long time, although not many people realized they existed as a separate age group at first. But, around the twentieth century, people started to notice that there was a weird time in between childhood and being an adult, and that the transformation between the two wasn't instant. And, when they did, it started to become romanticized by the media, and with that, people became inspired and the concept of a "teenager" was born.
Right away, stereotypes were created. There was all sorts of different roles for teens to follow, some that were admired by society and some that weren't. But teenagers often took pride in who they were, and eventually made an entire culture of their own by listening to their own music, wearing their own clothes, doing their own things, thinking their own ideas, and being their own person. A sense of individuality can be associated with the teenage years, despite the fact that stereotypes are common. America was founded on individualism, like that, which is why teenagers are so influential on American culture.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Teenagers seem to constantly be searching for ways to rebel- drugs, alcohol, skipping school, fighting, running away from home- and music has always been a more peaceful way of doing this. It started in the 1920's with the invention of jazz music- a more grooving, upbeat version of ragtime, and was the beginning of a new stream of music that would eventually lead all the way up to rap and hip hop. Most people listened to classical music or ragtime before jazz came along, and when it did, at first it was looked upon in a dark light, which may have been why it appealed to the younger generation of the era who would participate in making the decade worth its namesake: the Roaring Twenties.
After jazz music came swing, which began to replace it throughout the 1940's and early 50's as the new, rebellious form of music. It was quickly upset in the late 1950's, however, by one of the most recognizable forms of music in American culture today, let alone that of teenagers: Rock n' Roll. Elvis Presley was one of the most contributing factors in making Rock n' Roll well known- with the heavy racism of the era, he was something that the founders of Rock n' Roll weren't- he was white, which gave him a substantial advantage. Now, his face is one of the most recognizable ones of all time.
When the seventies hit, things were difficult in the U.S.- the constant threat of nuclear attack, rising gas prices, the Vietnam War- and as America became more angst-ridden, so did its teenagers. Many of them were getting drafted into the armed forces to fight, and as things became more violent, so did Rock n' Roll. Punk Rock was soon theorized, along with Heavy Rock and the beginnings of Metal. But despite the hard times, other music forms with a more positive outlook of love and friendship- Soul Music was born.
As the era came to a close, the young people of the day grew up, and their children started to look at what they did. They invented a whole new genre like nothing else before: Rap. It put a new spin on everything: instead of singing, you talked with a flow, and, as teens seem to always be obsessed with revolution, they embraced the genre throughout the late 70's to present day. All of the old forms of music are chopped up and sampled into something new: jazz hop, swing hop, and all of the other old tunes that were once well known become well known again, in a different form. So, the cycle continues, and who knows what might come next.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Teenagers seem to drink a lot, despite the legal age requirement being twenty-one. They're heard about all the time on T.V. and in movies, and always seem to be showing up in headlines. Why the media is so fascinated with them is nearly an inexplicable phenomena, but they still are nonetheless. Stories of tragedy and warning are heard constantly, while tales of enjoyment are strategically avoided- teens driving under the influence and dying, parties gone out of control, and alcohol poisoning seem to be all that comes of it, which is probably for the better, despite the fact that the media is being used to put a spin on how things really are.
Alcohol and teenagers seem to have been closely related to each other since the birth of the idea of teen culture. Because of its illegality, drinking provides a certain appeal of rebellion to any kid trying to defy his or her parents or other authority figures, which is probably why they always seem to be showing up together.