Teenage angst wasn’t invented in the last two decades. It has been around for centuries I am sure. Sacajawea probably was afraid that Lewis and Clark didn’t like her teeth or was pissed that her mom didn’t make her the right moccasins. I imagine she kept a diary on deerskin writing about her evolution into womanhood, her sexual desires, and whatever boy band is popular at the time.
When I was a young buck coming up through the “system” I remember girls that tried to overdose on Advil, that wore frumpy sweatshirts because they were ashamed of their bodies, or fucked every guy that moved (except me) to gain some sort of acceptance that daddy wouldn’t give them. However I don’t remember any girl or anyone ever talking about cutting. Sure maybe someone occasionally put a cigarette out on their arms like any reasonable person but nobody was whipping out their Hello Kitty lunchbox full of razors and carving up their inner thigh. It seems like it has come about really in the last 10-15 years and I honestly don’t get it.
If you look into the history of self-mutilation this has been discussed since 1880 and even categorized into different variations in the late 1970s but I wasn’t aware of it happening so it must not have happened. (I call this my virgin theory. As far as every girl I date goes they are virgins because I have never watched them have sex, participate in gangbangs or service an entire Navy ship. For certain things if I wasn’t there to see it happen it didn’t… like the holocaust.)
I think the uptick of this type of behavior can be squarely blamed on TV and movies because most of these girls would have never thought about doing it. Why you ask? Because teenage girls are totally fucking stupid and have almost zero ability to think for themselves in most instances, this explains the Jonas Brothers, Twilight, and anything-involving Ricky Martin for the first half of his life.
I can’t imagine a 15 year old girl sitting at home bathing in self loathing and then think, “Hey why don’t I go downstairs, grab a razor, and cut my inner thigh.” They aren’t that creative unless they are cutting up a Seventeen magazine and making a collage. Instead they see a movie like Secretary or watch an idiot on the Real World that gets hammered and decides to cut herself for attention. (Of course the example girl’s completely psycho behavior, desperate need to have constant attention, and everyone’s complete hatred of her is often glossed over… or is it?)
So I say to various media outlets that you need to change how you portray female teenage angst. Here is what you should try to emphasis instead of cutting.
1) Promiscuous behavior is a completely acceptable way for self-validation.
2) If you have problems overcoming your self-hatred to act in a promiscuous manner you should totally look into drinking heavily so you can prepare yourself.
3) Eating disorders are okay just don’t get too thin. Exposed ribs aren’t sexy.
4) Self-mutilation isn’t okay because guys don’t like scars.
(Or maybe there should be less glorification and more honest discussions about it… eh… What fun would that be?)
I should have been a guidance counselor.