By: Emilie Mover
Oakwood CI
Toronto, Ontario

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" outlet.

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, an online
student publication at Oakwood High in Toronto, Ontario.