|A "rebellious teenager"|
All of the following are quotes from 15-year-old Vienna:
"[Adults] assume that all teenagers rebel just because this is the age when we start to become our own person. Like, at 12/13 you really start thinking about things for yourself and not necessarily doing everything that your parents do, you know? Becoming more independent...youth are perceived always in terms of what they are becoming, rather than what they are being: they are potential, not yet fully formed" (433).
I think this is incredibly true. The whole term "coming of age" is kind of fucked up, when you think about it. It's as if people don't have any authority over their own lives until they reach a certain age. Teens can become independent...but only with their parents' permission, which doesn't make any sense.
"I know with my parents sometimes they'll turn things around. Like when they want me to take responsibility for something they'll say 'You're supposed to act like an adult'...but then um, when I am, whatever, taking responsibility, or when I'm out for the whole day doing my own things and then I want to go to a party or something, they'll say 'You're not 21' " (439).
This is really manipulative, but also rings true for a lot of teens. It relates to the other quote: Teens can be independent, but only at their parents' discretion. Parents have a tendency to exercise their authority by giving at some points, and taking away at others.
"I mean, I think a lot of kids rebel because society expects us to. And I mean I think that a lot of the time...just sort of being our own people is interpreted as rebelling against our parents and I think it's just- I mean, they assume that all teenagers rebel just because this is the time when we start to become our own person" (445).
This proves that the categorization of all teenagers as "bad" is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Parents punish their teens for lashing out, and teens lash out as revenge against their parents for punishing them. And adults are so quick to diminish teens' struggles that any non-childlike and non-adultlike behavior is perceived as rebellion.
I think that Vienna's quotes were very relevant to the text at hand. She seems very socially conscious, and is the type of person who could make a difference for how teens are regarded (not that she should have to).