catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 11, Num 4 :: 2012.02.17 — 2012.03.01


Teen taboos

The mention of teen culture sparks an overall sense of unspoken understanding, one prone to vicious social judgments that rival a courthouse. Countless rules and guidelines exist just beneath the surface of communication that, when breached, can cast you out of the social circle faster than Judge Judy can slam her mallet. High school in itself presents a series of obstacles that can be tricky to navigate. Each day students walks through the doors, they do everything in their power to prevent the embarrassment of drawing attention to themselves, and ultimately becoming the talk of the town-hallways. Tripping up the stairs, dropping binders and books, or slamming into a wall while staring at the class jock are all relevant hazards that could cause widespread humiliation within minutes.

Despite people’s best efforts, some social taboos lay beyond the realm of the avertible. Once in a while, the inexcusable transgression occurs when Lily wears the exact same outfit as Laura. Instantly the two girls are thrown into a panic. Neither wishes to be seen within thirty yards of the other, and a silent showdown passes between the two: who possesses the lower status? Who should take off her jacket or change her shirt? Often, there is no resolution, and the day entails both girls taking the long way to classes to avoid coming into contact with the other.

The scandalous dress code is also one of the greatest sources of degradation. We all see it; the one who struts down the halls with plastered confidence, donning a high rising skirt and low-cut shirt. The poor soul must be oblivious to the uproar encircling her grave decision to turn a blind eye to the fine print of the student handbook. The girls of the school take a ghastly glance at the perpetrator and steer clear, whispering murmurs of disapproval and frowning incessantly. The boys gawk for a while before turning to frequent the same part of the hall, eyes wandering as if taking a Sunday stroll. Consequently, they always seem to land directly on the culprit. Much amusement can be drawn from observing their obvious delight as the girls huff away, with Miss High-Low completely unaware of her disintegrating social status.

There is also the collective division of students to consider, infecting every high school across the planet. The jocks do not intersperse with the chemistry nerds. The kids by the water fountain never sit at the “The Girls’” lunch table. To intermingle between cliques causes disruption and unease among the masses, and before you turn back around to join your own, you find yourself rejected and alone with no clique at all. This is when you join with the other outcasts by the vending machines, who remain in somber solitude while they engage their calculators to determine the amount of cash the machines take in on a weekly basis.

The teenage code of conduct does not stop at mere high school offenses. If one is deemed disconnected from the tangled web of social networking, it could result in disastrous consequences. Let’s say Jim wishes to invite Susan to his house party on Friday night. To his horror, he discovers that Susan does not even own a cell phone. Susan immediately launches into some explanation of how her great-grandmother was a fortuneteller who predicted the demise of youth due to harmful cellular waves, in attempts to compensate for this monstrosity. Needless to say, Jim moves on to Katie.

But perhaps the most implicitly enforced rule of survival is to never, under any circumstance, date your friend’s ex. As soon as Jake dumps Kayley’s sorry behind, Jake must immediately be understood as off limits to all of Kayley’s friends. The utmost condolences would of course go out to Kayley. Following this, all of her acquaintances must keep their eyes and hands off of Jake indefinitely if they wish to keep their reputations intact in the whirlwind of unpredictable teenage wrath.

The realm of the teenager takes the cake for social taboo, outdoing even the most aggressively regulated households. Some might say it is unfortunate that the slightest mishap can lead to the demise of all hopes of a reputable status, but it cannot be helped that teenagers possess an unmerciful adherence to the Teen Taboo handbook. It seems the only means of salvation from this vicious cycle is to embrace the beauty of indifference. Wear the same jeans! Talk to the math geeks, throw your cell phone out the window, and set fire to the hallways. At the end of the day, not many can argue that the teenage taboo can survive past trivial divisions and dress codes.

your comments

comments powered by Disqus