message in a bottle: on teen activism



“Teens Are Having Less Sex Than Usual! Teens Are Doing Less Drugs!” - A surge of articles have been published over the past Summer months based on recent data (last year recent!) from a survey generated by the CDC. Theories to support the findings are mostly stating the same, progressive claim; Teens are becoming more educated. Sexual education opportunities and general questions of one’s health have never been so popular. Although teens are seen as lazy, self-obsessed, and downright naive, we’ve managed to prove ourselves day in and day out as a passionate, forward-thinking, and downright world-changing generation.


Beyond survey statistics and into the world of social media we find the spread of teen activism. Teens are turning their strong emotions into non-profit organizations, peaceful protests, and endeavors for knowledge. Standing up for what they believe in and pursuing every idea out there.

The aforementioned rise of forward-looking and world altering young adults collectively goes hand in hand with teens doing what they love- and being great at it. Zines are being published like no one’s business and word-of-mouth is spreading communal opportunities ranging from a video dedication to a favorite band or an opening to be a writer for that magazine you love. A poet that attends my high school stayed dedicated to his passion through Instagram sharing and built a community of poetry lovers alike, & had a compilation of his works published just last year. And although the recent presidential election has produced results that are terrifying for anyone who isn’t a white, cis-male, we can still prevail and continue to stand up for what we believe in through art and activism.


A good chunk of all this creation going on can fall under the category of social movements. Spreading intersectional feminist messages to those who might not quite understand what it means to yearn for equality for all. Digesting spoken word poetry dedicated to feeling tired that black lives are not being treated like they matter and the common accuser of violence assumes the movement is meant to invalidate the lives of others. Fighting social stigma when it comes to mental disorders because 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 have or will have a serious mental disorder and a massive portion of people are still scared to talk about it, just as many don’t understand it. We are aware of the issues we face as a society and we are taking the first steps to change.


Activists and Artists I’ve Been Following:

Organizations and Collectives to Be on the Look-Out for:

Teenagers are revolutionary.


Writing a new love anthem for the generations to come of "we are powerful." We are not creating a simple message that could be left in a bottle and washed ashore on some faraway island, we are littering our growth through the streets. ✉


article by: sydney bradford

visual by: sydney bradford

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