No Salvation for Male Teens

December 2, 2014

So apparently a homeless family of five sought shelter from the cold weather with the Salvation Army. Four of them were welcome, namely both parents, their 16-year-old daughter, and their 5-year-old son. The fifth, their 15-year-old son, was not welcome.

According to the guy’s father:

“They said he’s too old to stay on the women’s side, because of the women running around in their pajamas and they said he’s too young to stay on the men’s side in case some pervert wants to do whatever,” Lejeune said.

So he’s too dangerous to be with the women, while the men are too dangerous to him for him to be with them. Oh, God, it’s like wolf-sheep-watermelon riddle!

But seriously… what?! The Reason article calls it pedophile panic, but it’s quite a bit more than that. It’s yet another manifestation of the idea that teens equal trouble, both for themselves and for others. They are a danger to everyone, and everything is a danger to them. The curious ageist paradox that always seems to yield fewer rights for teens, who are never allowed a word in edgewise.

And it’s more ephebiphobic paranoia. “Help! It’s a teen! Is it a child? Is it an adult? Oh, Lord, I just don’t know. Let’s just shove it out of sight and not have to worry our heads with this freaky age-hybrid.”

The result? A young guy, whose only crime was existing and happening to be part of a family that fell on hard times, is forced to stay out in the cold, as is his family.
Continue reading “No Salvation for Male Teens”

Paglia on the Drinking Age

April 29, 2014

While it’s always nice to see articles in favor of lowering the drinking age, I’ve learned not to get too excited right away. The other day, a TIME article by Camille Paglia came out in favor of lowering the drinking age. Let’s have a look…

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act, passed by Congress 30 years ago this July, is a gross violation of civil liberties and must be repealed. It is absurd and unjust that young Americans can vote, marry, enter contracts and serve in the military at 18 but cannot buy an alcoholic drink in a bar or restaurant. The age-21 rule sets the U.S. apart from all advanced Western nations and lumps it with small or repressive countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

While I don’t care for the “it makes us similar to these piece of shit countries” argument, since its entire basis is “ewww… THOSE countries… THOSE people…”, the rest is right on. The drinking age is a violation of young people’s civil liberties and carries with it some nasty repercussions.

She goes on to briefly compare MADD with 19th century temperance activists (which seems a little unfair to the temperance activists :P). Then she mentions the marijuana legalization and uses that as a jumping point for lowering the drinking age, citing also that “The decrease in drunk-driving deaths in recent decades is at least partly attributable to more uniform seat-belt use and a strengthening of DWI penalties.” Which is the general argument against the pro-21 side’s “Raising the drinking age saved ALL OF THE LIVES!!!!”
Continue reading “Paglia on the Drinking Age”

You Just Don’t Get It

March 28, 2014

I find myself thinking this in exasperation in youth rights spaces sometimes, whether on NYRA’s Facebook page or elsewhere. Someone seems to agree with most that is posted or discussed. And sooner or later there’s a post that makes them flip their lid.

It goes something like this: “Ah, lowering the voting age to 17? Cool, neat… Ugh! What that school did to that girl was awful! They should be stopped!… … Wait, what? Lower the drinking age? Are you crazy? Teen brains are still developing!!!!111!!1!!”

You know, there can certainly be some leeway when it comes to people relatively new to the cause. I know when I was first getting involved some issues made me wary until I had the chance to think about and discuss them some more. But some people are determined to be intransigent on some irrational blind spots in their youth rights view. There’s a guy who has been with the movement for years and supports abolishing the voting age but for some reason supports corporal punishment.

I’m all for a “big tent” in the youth rights movement, since it’s a huge subject matter and so a big tent is just good sense. But someone whose support for lowering the voting age is based on believing it will get more Democrats elected is not a youth rights supporter. Someone whose support for homeschooling or unschooling is based on protecting parents’ rights is not a youth rights supporter. Someone who supports lowering the drinking age only in order to “stop unsafe drinking” is not a youth rights supporter.

Such people are certainly useful allies in specific campaigns, of course. And they could easily become youth rights supporters if we play our cards right and if it turns out they are so inclined after all. But they aren’t there yet.
Continue reading “You Just Don’t Get It”

Translation

December 29, 2013

What do people mean when they open their yaps and say words? Here’s a guide to some of the things. Even if some of intention isn’t always there, such a message is conveyed.

“Learn more about dealing with drug abuse among teens and young adults.”

Translation: “Teenagers are bad and you should hate them.”

“Good luck when your kids are teenagers!”

Translation: “Teenagers are bad and you should hate them.”

“We’ve had shoplifters, so no unaccompanied under-16s allowed in store.”

Translation: “Teenagers are bad and you should hate them.”

“Brains aren’t fully developed until 25, so young people can’t make decisions well and are impulsive.”

Translation: “Teenagers are bad and you should hate them.”

You get the idea.

Unwise Purchases

December 18, 2013

People with Celiac Disease can’t eat gluten. It screws up their small intestine and makes them all kinds of sick. And yet, they are still perfectly free to waltz into any store and buy a loaf of bread.

People with peanut allergies must stay away from peanuts, obviously. In some cases, eating peanuts could kill them. Merely being around peanuts can mess them up. And yet, they are still perfectly free to waltz into any store and buy a can of peanuts.

Stores don’t require you to prove you can safely consume the foods you intend to buy before they sell them to you. They trust you can look after your own self and know what you should or shouldn’t be eating or drinking. Not that that’s really their place anyway.

But then there’s the drinking age. For this, stores are required to make their customers prove they are of legal drinking age before allowing the purchase. Because alcohol is supposedly uniquely harmful to those below that age.

Yet even if this were true, even if the tiniest sip of alcohol could cause someone 20 or under severe immediate damage, why are the sellers made responsible to ensure that the buyers of this product are those who can consume it safely, while they do no such thing for deadly allergens, which do a lot more damage to those with such allergies?

Maybe just throw this on the already gargantuan heaping pile of Reasons the Drinking Age Makes No Sense.

Don’t Lower the Voting Age!

December 16, 2013

A major youth rights issue is granting youth the right to vote, by either lowering or abolishing the voting age, with or without implementating some other voter-fitness standard. Just this year, right in my county, Takoma Park lowered the city voting age to 16. But is such a measure a good idea?

There are so many concerns!

Such as…

Teens lack the political knowledge necessary to vote!
And said political knowledge necessary for voting is agreed upon by everyone. That’s why those without it are turned away from the polls. And why those with extra political knowledge get two votes.

Teens would just vote for celebrities.
Adult voters would never dream of voting for actors Ronald Reagan or Arnold Schwarzenegger, or wrestler Jesse Ventura.

Teens aren’t directly involved in what gets voted on.
Why let the students who actually attend the public schools vote for school board when some old creeper who watches them walk to the bus stop every day can?

Teens aren’t mature enough to vote.
Voters who come to the polls are given a battery of personality tests to be sure they perfectly meet some maturity standard. Those who do exceptionally well get two votes.

Teens will just vote the same way as their parents.
Someone voting the same way as someone else is forbidden. Votes for a candidate already voted for by someone else are thrown out. That’s why every election is a tie at one vote per candidate.

Teens are dependent on parents and don’t have jobs.
Only employed homeowners are allowed to vote. Stay-at-home moms and the elderly and those with disabilities are therefore not allowed to vote.

Teens do not value basic freedoms.
Adults would never dream of passing the Patriot Act.

Teens are into Justin Bieber and wearing their pants too low. They shouldn’t be voting.
Yeah, I know someone who went to vote last year only to be turned away from the polls for accidentally listening to 30 seconds of a Taylor Swift song. She also wore a white shirt two days after Labor Day.

Teens are apathetic and wouldn’t vote anyway so why bother?
Yeah, really. What, you think they might actually have a HIGHER turn out than adults? Don’t be silly.

Screen Time

December 10, 2013

Now for a glowing connected edition of…

SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!

Enough! Enough with all the stupid little stats and complaints and lamentations about young people’s “screen time.” In other words, how much time they are watching TV, playing video games, or using computers or smart phones.

What if a young person spends seemingly every waking hour engaged in these screen activities?

Honestly… I don’t care. And neither should you.

“But it’s BAD for them!”

Even if it is, that’s their business. And there’s plenty of entertainment and, yes, contrary to common belief, even cognitive value to some of these things. Not to mention that, well, you don’t seem to care when adults use these things, by either totally ignoring their use and/or perhaps implying they don’t do it as often. Come on, aren’t adults often in front of a computer screen all day at work?

“But these things cause special harm to developing young minds!”

How convenient. A supposed age-based safety differential giving someone carte blanche to say “It’s fine if I do it but BAD BAD BAD if you do, so your use should be shamed and restricted!”

Actually, how healthy the activity is isn’t even the point. It’s an excuse, a grasping for straws when called out on a statement made for entirely other reasons. And those reasons are just repeating “common knowledge” for the purpose of trying to make a point or further some other agenda. Sadly, I even see things like this done in youth rights circles (though they tend to recant when pointed out).

Though in those cases, it’s that use of such devices is seen as being a slave to some kind of corporate machine, that this is the only refuge of young people because they lack proper social engagement. Well, there’s the obvious in that every one of these screen activities can and often does involve interacting with other people. It also ignores that, well, maybe it isn’t the result of being some kind of corporate slave but rather simply one’s chosen leisure activity or method of work or communication or entertainment. I wonder that such statements are made without much thought but just with the assumption that everyone agrees with you so elaboration is unnecessary.

That kids watching TV is just such a given taboo, that adults are supposed to hiss at the very idea, that every second must surely be damaging their brains. Why, it might damage their brains so much they grow up into adults who have nothing better to do than obsess over how they spend their leisure time when such time is spent much the same way as adults. But if kids do it, it must be up for scrutiny, of course! 🙄

But I Want THAT ONE

December 8, 2013

I’m increasingly believing that advertising executives have no souls. Certainly they have no shame about the mass genocide of brain cells they commit, hoping enough brain cells will die in any given individuals that they’d want to buy whatever they are selling. The makers of Fiat commercials certainly come to mind, but that’s not the topic at the moment, and the stupidity of those speaks for itself anyway.

I have a special loathing for the commercials running these days in which someone or some people want a newer version of their gadget and make this happen by… intentionally destroying or losing their current one. There’s one ad with a bunch of people dropping their phones in blenders or leaving them in microwaves or bathrooms, after finding out about a newer one they’d rather have. In another, a guy wants his employer to give him a new laptop so he intentionally spills coffee on his so they’d have to.

The loathing reaches a new level when I realize that the main words that come to mind about these people is “spoiled brats”. Because there’s certainly the trope about kids and teens wanting some new toy or bike or clothes or something, perhaps losing or destroying the current ones. There was even a Simpsons episode where Bart intentionally destroyed his bike so Homer would buy him a nice new one. Or the stereotypically rich teenage girl who gets a new Ferrari for her birthday but screams and cries because it’s blue instead of red. When it’s young people, such behavior is (rightly) seen as distasteful. But when it’s adults, apparently something we’re supposed to identify with?

Seriously, fuck ageism, because I want to call these people spoiled brats but that term is very ageist, but I can’t think of another term that means the same basic thing without implying anything about age. Grrr. :doitnow:

You Don’t Serve Me

December 7, 2013

Some nearby pizza place decided they didn’t want to serve me the other day. Only they didn’t know they said this. I hadn’t even walked in the door yet.

They had one of them “we don’t serve teens” stickers on the window, announcing that the drinking age is 21, this is law, and that they follow it. Which worries me, because since the drinking age is an actual law, one would presume already that they follow it. So since I didn’t see any other stickers, I’m guessing that’s the only law they care to enforce. Maybe I should have robbed the place, since they’re indicating they wouldn’t be too bothered, just so long as I’m not drinking their alcohol ten years in the past.

So, yeah, despite not having been a teen for quite a while, I took this to mean they didn’t want to serve me, because when I can help it I don’t visit ageist businesses. I expect businesses to enforce the drinking age as it is an actual law, but rubbing it in people’s faces, without having a sticker saying they don’t tolerate aggravated assault on their premises, implies this particular law is super important to them. Well, youth rights is super important to ME, so I turned right around and returned to my car.

And found another pizza place across the street. They’re rather plentiful. Mmmm… pizza.

Minimum Wage

December 5, 2013

This graphic has been floating around online.

It’s pointing out that most minimum wage earners are not teenagers as per an apparently common assumption, that in fact 88% are 20 or older, plus another large percentage being over 40, how many are parents, etc.

In other words, the main argument for not thinking little of minimum wage earners and that they ought to earn more is… They aren’t teenagers!

Because teenagers don’t deserve decent wages as they are living at home and just using that money to go to the movies or buy video games or get high, an assertion whose chief basis is… they’re teenagers.

🙄

Seriously?

I mean, do people seriously think Every Teenager In The World is living a comfortable suburban white upper-middle-class life and has their every need met by underappreciated parents? I just don’t understand the need to cling to this ridiculous assumption. Or that any teens whose lives aren’t that great are in such a situation because they did something “wrong”, like run away or get pregnant or drop out of school.

Believe it or not, “spending money” is hardly the only reason a teenager might want or need a job. Sometimes their minimum-wage-earning parents (represented in that graphic) just aren’t earning enough to support the family, so the teenager looks to contribute to the family by getting her own job. Maybe their parents have refused to pay for college, or are just incapable of paying, and they need to work to fund it themselves. Maybe they’ve been kicked out of or emancipated from their homes and need to support themselves so they don’t starve.

In fact, it’s a travesty that their earnings would even need to be justified like this. Who cares why they need to earn money? That’s really nobody’s business but theirs. Just like with everyone else.