Teen Stereotypes
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Confounding Stereotypes

Counfounding Stereotypes by Indigo Williams

Local poet and spoken word and educator, Indigo Williams gives a rousing performance of two of her poems, including the Wrong Truth which challenges stereotypes and preconceptions. She is the 2012 New Generation poetry slam winner. Her work has featured on television and radio. Follow her on Twitter: @Indigowilliams

Emo, Goth, Prep? Identifying Teenage Social Groups

© Mary McCarthy  Feb 9, 2008

In earlier generations, there were jocks, brains, punks, preps, and more. What are some of today's teen stereotypes?

A common misconception for parents is that every middle school kid of this generation is conceited, gossip-ridden, hormone-raging and naive. This is a stereotype. The irony of labeling children with stereotypes is not just hypocritical, but a huge overgeneralization. In middle schools and high schools today, there are ‘groups’ of these stereotypes. Here are some current modern teen stereotypes.

Teen Stereotype: ‘Emo’
This word is short for ‘emotional.’ In the eighties there were ‘punks’. This new ‘emo’ crowd is basically the new wave of punk. If you have ever curiously wandered by the store “Hot Topic”, you will understand their (hard!) core fashion statement. If not, it generally consists of black eyeliner, black corsets, black boots, black hair dye, and black pants beset with dozens of chains. The origin is somewhat unknown. To passersby at the mall, these emos just look like the ‘punks’. They typically enjoy listening to ‘screamo’ (a type of ‘music’ in which screaming is accompanied by whining guitars and teenage angst) and applying black eyeliner. If your child or friend considers themselves an emo, take caution… as many of these teens tend to purposefully injure themselves to ‘feel something at all’.

Stereotypical Teenagers: Prep
When you say prep, the first definition that comes to mind is the girl at high school that dated the football player, stole your boyfriend, and didn’t follow the dress code. Today, the term prep has taken a turn for the worst. Don’t get this stereotype confused with a jock. A jock usually plays sports, while a prep just acts and dresses like jocks do. With their collars popped and their expensive jeans on, the preps rule the high school. Attire is everything when it comes to being prep. Whether it is Lacoste or Abercrombie and Fitch, the prep won’t be caught dead without a name brand.

Another Teen Stereotype: Wannabe
And of course, you can’t define stereotypes without mentioning the inevitable wannabe. These people (usually girls) don’t necessarily fall under any other categories like jock, prep, or emo. So they decide to strive for attention, so that they feel better about themselves. Whether it is a bad boyfriend or getting in trouble, the attention factor usually isn’t a positive one. They tend to try to hard when it comes to ‘popularity’, and later crash and burn socially. The sad part is, these people are usually very insecure, not to mention they are putting a label on themselves intentionally.

There you have it, the stereotypes du jour. They change constantly. Before you accuse a teen of ‘labeling’ or using stereotypes, remember this. The apple does not fall far from the tree.


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