youth in history

Citizen - Sleep

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A List of 10 Don’ts for a Youth in the 1910s

1.—Don’t fall in love because you’re in bachelor quarters for the first time.
2.—Don’t think you’re in love with a girl because she’s had a lot of trouble.
3.—Don’t take an inferior or superior position when you’ve found the golden girl; walk alongside.
4.—Don’t forget love is contagious—never infectious.
5.—Don’t fall in love with a chorus girl after the second high-ball; it takes lots more to keep it up.
6.—Don’t but a new suit the moment you think you’re in love; she may not like it, and you may have to wear it out.
7.—Don’t propose to the same girl more than three times.
8.—Don’t be too sentimental; women, though practical, like at this period to show some sentimentality themselves.
9.—Don’t keep on talking about the last girl you were engaged to, to the last girl you mean to marry.
10.—Don’t make love; love makes itself. 

Up until the 1940s, teenagers weren’t really a thing. We don’t mean that people used to time-warp from age 12 to 20. We mean that the cultural concept – this ethereal, not-quite-child-yet-not-quite-adult period in human development – simply wasn’t considered to exist prior to the Great Depression. Up until then, you were either a child or you were an adult.

That all changed with a single spread in the December 1944 issue of Life.

In a historic attempt to quantify this “new” American youth phenomenon, Life excitedly told of the “teen-age” girl – specifically the white, middle-class teen-age girl.

The expose then went on to paint a picture of American teenagers as we all know them from every teen comedy ever, from their crippling obsession with phones, to their insistence on playing their ding-danged music too loud, to their tendency to be completely bored with just, like, everything.

Fast forward several years, and the word “teenager” had officially entered the national lexicon, thereby cementing John Hughes’ future career and instilling in all of us the firm belief that everyone else’s teenage years were way better than our own.

7 Concepts We Totally Take For Granted, Like ‘White People’

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Oakland Tribune, California, November 19, 1922

I admit there are some who carry jazzing too far. BUT WHY BLAME JAZZING? IF THEY WERE NOT CARRYING THAT TOO FAR, THEY WOULD BE CARRYING SOMETHING ELSE TOO FAR. THE FACT THAT SOME HALF-WITTED BOOB TRIED TO SWALLOW A CARVING KNIFE WOULD NOT BE SUFFICIENT REASON FOR DOING AWAY WITH CARVING KNIVES.