In the past few years that I have attended high school I have
noticed an enormously growing number of teenagers who seem to
rebel against what they're told to do, what to be, and how to
dress. This is a beautiful idea. The only detail that worries
me is that it is the rebellion itself that has become our style'.
It is as if we have unconsciously become exactly what we are
fighting. But what are we fighting? The media?
The so-called taboos that have become so well talked about?
Well, I myself seem to be fighting the hidden banality of my
own generation. Consider it: we advertise the fact that we don't
want to be advertised, we rebel against a society that is telling
us to rebel, and we all conform to non-conformity.
What is this all about? We are all trying so hard to be individual
but this individual' has become a distinct formula for
a person. For instance, magazines give us only one instruction
for being on a date, which is, "be yourself". But this
yourself' is an exact personality, a person with an exact
style, an exact mind set and an exact set of beliefs. Teenagers
should not necessarily be able to know exactly what they believe
in at the age of sixteen. Who knows if we will even know who
we are at the end of the road?
Also it should be recognized that we cannot wear ourselves'
on our sleeve. We are out there buying ourselves' at Urban
Outfitters or The Nike Store so that when we walk down the street,
our whole belief system is displayed on our jackets, our shirts
and our shoes. The true yourself' is found during a very
long and trying search, not the latest "So Hip It Hurts"
One of the greatest beauties in life is being able to see someone
for who they truly are, but for whatever reason our attention
spans have been shortened so much that we spend most of our mental
energy to find shortcuts to our true minds and selves.
As for rebellion, one thing my generation doesn't seem to
understand is that rebellion cannot be made safe. It is not rebellion
if we all gather in a group with hard looks on our faces but
no words coming from our mouths. Or even worse, all we want to
do it talk and forget completely about compromise.
This, in part, is why I believe that rebellion against society
and adults is somewhat necessary. Where I've grown up, I've noticed
that society has been fairly good to me. Think about it. My generation
has grown up being taught to have an open mind. We are told to
respect every race, religion, sexual preference, and style. We
have all been made sexually aware. We all know where to go for
contraceptives or birth control and there are clinics and phone
lines that are there just for when we feel we need to talk. It
is true to a certain extent that we are unfortunate to be the
generation who has to deal with the ever-present media and advertising
but it is possible to put up a wall between you and them, and
therefore keep a level head as to what your own ideas of life
and beauty are.
Life is much easier after this is accomplished or even
after you realize that it must be.
Individualism is something we are blessed to be allowed to express
and we should not let it disintegrate into a style. This is my
individual opinion. As far as rebellion goes, I will disregard
those who walk the breaking tightrope gracefully yet screaming
and give concern and recognition only to those who build a bridge
to the other side.
This article originally appeared
in The Voice,
student publication at Oakwood High in Toronto, Ontario.