Pop culture trends evolve constantly. As soon as you think you’ve gotten a handle on the latest looks for teens or the latest lingo or the latest dance groove or music trend, you’ll find just as quickly that what you thought was “in” has simply become ‘so five minutes ago.’ Or whatever the term for something “old hat’ is these days. It’s enough to make any 35-year old feel absolutely ancient!
The idea of a “generation gap,” however, is relatively new, as is the concept of the teenage years as a distinct part of life. At the turn of the last century, in 1900, the concept of the “teen years” barely existed, as young people at that time were quickly absorbed into young adult roles in work or family situations once childhood had passed.
The most significant trend in establishing the teen years as a life passage in itself was the development of high schoo
Image by cliff1066™ via Flickr
ls between 1910 and 1930. During this time teenagers began attending high school in increasingly larger numbers. That was a movement that did much to establish teenagers as a social entity
separate from adults.
Before too long, businesses noticed that working teens had money to spend and that their tastes differed from those of their parents. The acknowledgement of teens as a consumer group became more pronounced after World War II, and accelerated in the 1950s, as the society began to respond more energetically to emerging teenage tastes in films and music, fuelling the careers of major teen stars like Elvis Presley and then the Beatles.
Sure, that was then and this is now. If you can’t tell the difference today between rap and hip-hop and techno-pop. relax. Just remember teenagers are now an entity and a universe unto themselves, one we’re not really expected to understand or be a part of. Maybe that’s the good part of getting old….!