Teenage: An Inside Look at The Invention of Youth Culture & Adolescence

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Group of students. (Aliyev Alexei Sergeevich/Shutterstock)

Where did teenagers come from? Filmmaker Matt Wolf is exploring that question in his new documentary "Teenage."

From the end of the 19th century and into the first half of the 20th, the idea of a unique youth culture was being developed, and a population that once went straight from childhood to adulthood now had another stage entirely. Wolf's new documentary looks at the invention of adolescence.

Nowadays, youth is stretched out and the teenage years were invented because suddenly there was time to grow up where there hadn't been before. Wolf says it was the dawn of a completely new era in human culture.

He joins The Takeawy to explain when teenagers first became a distinct group and how they are different today.


Matt Wolf


T.J. Raphael

Comments [1]


I felt neglected when I was a teen, but I realize since having teens of my own, that it's modern thinking that doesn't allow parents nowadays to ignore their teens. My parents were born between 1900 and 1915. They didn't have children until they were in their mid 30s. They both worked to support their kids, also aging parents with homes, and dwindling finances. How in the world could they keep track of my brother and me?

I waited too have children until I was good and ready - times have changed, now we have "play dates" for 1 year olds. Having money allows some mothers to stay at home, and having modern conveniences like dishwashers, washers and dryers, processed foods and pizza delivery, extra car in the driveway, and (!really!) birth control has freed mom up to follow around her kids (usually only one or two) with a basket to catch every ill, fetch and carry them to extra-games, extra-lessons, sleepovers, all the time encouraging: "stay young as long as you can, sweety" ~" there's plenty of years ahead to have a family and work for your living."

Mar. 14 2014 03:09 PM

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