Articles

Two Number Names Should be Changed

In Youth Rights on May 2, 2014 by edwinforyouthrights

Typed by Edwin Bonilla

Many news articles refer to young women and young men who are 18-19 years old as teens. The definition of teen should only go from ages 13-17. You may have read comments from me which say that no one who is 18 or older is teen. I strongly believe in those comments. When someone calls a person who is 18-19 years old a teen, there is a slimmer opportunity to get them their rights. When people hear 18-19 year old young women and young men being referred as teens, listeners to those comments will immediately lump 18-19 year old people into the 13-17 age range. There’s nothing wrong with being 13-17 years old. However, when an 18-19 year old person is referred to as a teen, their ties to being young adults are severed by people listening to those comments. Ageists who support the drinking age of 21 refer to people who are 18-19 years old as teens in order to lump them into the 13-17 age range. People who support a drinking age of 18 don’t refer to 18-19 year old people as teens because that would hurt the movement to lower the drinking age to 18.

From the previous decades, the word “teen” has resulted in a negative connation. TV programs, magazines and TV news reports have significant blame in creating that connotation. Stereotypes about teens are not true but too many people believe in those stereotypes. The youth rights movement should continue to fight for the rights of girls and boys who are 13-17 years old. I also support more rights for girls and boys. However, people who are 18-19 are supposed to be in the same age range as people who are 20-24 years old. People who are 18-19 years old shouldn’t be in an age group which goes from 13-19. This is because people who are 18-19 years old have attained the age of majority. Even though the age of majority is not used in many laws or rules, this is still important. When people hear 18-19 year old people being referred to as teens, those listeners will fail to acknowledge that 18 is the real age of majority. Ageists refer to 18-19 year old people as teens so that other people won’t acknowledge 18-19 year old people as young adults.

The suffix of teen in eighteen and nineteen makes it harder for the youth rights movement and related movements. When we work for youth rights, we are confronted by people who refuse to acknowledge 18-19 year old people as young women and young men. In their mind, being 18-19 years old is the same as being 13-17 years old. This is why the movement to lower the drinking age to 18 should be careful when it comes to semantics. If a speaker who supported a lower drinking age referred to 18-19 year old as people as teens in a debate, then audience members would be more reluctant to support a drinking age of 18. The suffix of teen should be removed from the number names of 18 and 19. Those number names should be changed so that they would be similar to the number names of 11 or 12. Without the teen suffix in eighteen and nineteen, the youth rights movement and related movements would have more success in achieving our goals. Less people would view 18-19 year people as being immature to get the rights they should have.

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