Notes on Being Teenage is a non-fiction book about blogger [find her blog over here], model, writer and feminist, Rosalind Jana; and her experience of growing up. This wise and witty take on life is honest and relevant; which is why I’d like to share these six reasons you should read this book:
SHE TALKS ABOUT TIMELESS ISSUES
If you judge this book by its title then that would be a huge mistake. Notes on Being Teenage deals with topics that you will constantly be challenged with, years after being a teenager. I found it to be extremely relevant even though it’s been a good few years since I left the frustrating teenage years behind. Rosalind talks about life online, as well as family and friendship among a vast range of issues that she experienced herself, and that you will unfortunately face at some point in your life too – and not necessarily during those teen years. She expressed what it was like to go through these different difficulties and after thoroughly sorting through it all she gave useful advice on how it could be handled, or at the very least, processed.
“With guys, there’s no question an outfit could be the cause of anything. It’d be great if we could make that standard, regardless of gender. There is no particular scoop of a top that says you’re ‘asking for it’ or a point above the knee where skirts move from acceptable to accountable. Clothing says absolutely, entirely bugger all about consent.” – Note on Being Teenage, Page 66
This is a quote from the book to give you an idea of what I mean when I say that she discusses a vast range of topics. She talks about the good, the bad, and the ugly and how we should aim to move forward to brighter, better things. Also, I love how she discusses real teenage issues in-depth too, because these topics were never really talked about when I was a teen. Adults found them to be childish and petty, not worth a second thought, but at that moment in your life it is everything to you; and so it should be worth the attention. I love how Rosalind talks about these things while being proactive and giving some helpful guidance on how to manage these experiences too.
“Why not focus on women’s achievements rather than how much weight they’ve lost or put on? Or admire all shapes rather than reinforce the line between skinny and curvy, like the only two options are Kate Moss or Kim Kardashian? When are we going to stop using the phrase ‘real women’? All women are real, unless they’re robots.” – Note on Being Teenage, Page 17 – 18
I’ve always been skinny, and growing up I remember the nasty comments made about my body. Up until today I will get the occasional jab that I need to eat more and “pick up a few” and it would always grate on my nerves. The thing that annoys me the most about this is that these words are tossed in my direction by other women. Remember the hit song that came out a year or so ago? “It’s all about the bass, about the bass, no treble.” While the curvy girls all hooted and hollered, finally getting the anthem they’ve been waiting for, it still casts out the rest of the women who didn’t fit into this category, drawing yet another line in the sand about what should be accepted and rejected as “beautiful” in society.
I bring this up because when I read the quote above, I had goose bumps. FINALLY, I thought, someone shared this sentiment and could put my precise thoughts into words! Because who the heck gets to decide what makes up a woman? And why is our worth being measured by a general scale of what should and shouldn’t be? It’s ridiculous. Like Rosalind Jana says, focus on women’s achievements, or the eternity of other things that makes us who we are.
Mother of Pearl, I loved her writing. It was so easy to fall into this book and drift away with the journey she’s created. Even though I firmly believe that this book is not just for teenagers, I can say that any teenager would be able to appreciate it because of the writing style. It was humorous and gripping, and even though it was a non-fiction book it was still hugely entertaining. The manner in which Rosalind Jana writes this book is so well suited for the target audience, and it makes the reader feel comfortable about taking on such heavy topics like depression, bullying and fitting in. I also felt that her passion for these topics really shines through in her writing, and it made me ever more eager to get to the bottom of these important matters and think about my own experiences in relation to hers.
A NEW PERSPECTIVE [PERHAPS]
Maybe you’ll find that this book resonates with you, or maybe it will give you a whole new perspective regarding certain social issues; but you will definitely learn something about the world, as well as yourself, after completing this book. Because Rosalind touches on such an array of topics, there will surely be something that you can relate to and it will bring forth a whole list of questions to be asked and answered.
Just one example is when she talks about the beauty industry and how sometimes the impressions given off by these companies can have a negative impact on the way we view ourselves [ Discussed in chapter 1: I
love hate love the way I look]. We end up believing that we need those products so that we can be just as beautiful as the images of women that are constantly shoved in our faces, not realizing that this will always be just out of reach. And when you toss in the seemingly harmless filters on Instagram or SnapChat, that gives us yet another image to compare ourselves with, the results can be quite damaging. It can be so easy to get sucked into the spiral of comparing, and I think most of us goes down that path without any intention, or realization that this is what’s happening. Reading about this in her book just opened my eyes to what’s happening and what could happen if I allow myself to be pulled into it.
Topics like this and so much more is the kind of important, everyday stuff she tackles head on, putting so much into perspective. You get to think deeply about how these issues affect you and what it means for the rest of our world. By the end of this book you will be left feeling so enlightened and motivated to uncover more about yourself. You will yearn for more positive truth and honesty so that the process can begin where we heal the destruction that has been done in the past that we are still dealing with today.
FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE
We were taught from a young age that the general sequence in life will be: school, pick something to study, work in that field for the next 30 plus years. You are expected to make such a big decision with hardly any experience and understanding, and then you are not even given the proper tools to help you if things don’t pan out the way it was ‘meant to’. This is something I never thought I’d struggle with in a million years, uh uh, no way; I had a plan and if I followed the careful instructions I would end up exactly where I wanted. Such a pity things don’t work out this way… And I’m finding more and more people who are in a similar situation, just miserable and desperate trying to figure out what to do next. Rosalind is such a ray of sunlight in this area too, because she gives a plan of action that can be followed in this case; and it’s a pretty awesome plan too. I say this because I’m scared for the next generation if this kind of help is not offered the way it should be – and now, thanks to Rosalind, it is! I love that she encourages her readers to look for more and to go out there and find what their calling is – whether it means sticking to the conventional route or taking a couple of detours along the way. It is uplifting and inspiring, and exactly the kind of note that I’d like to pass on to any teenager.
REMEMBER THOSE FRUSTRATING TIMES
If for no other reason, I would recommend this book just for the sake of remembering what it was like for you during those dreadful (or awesome) teen years. We get so caught up in moving forward and ‘adulting’ that we forget the times when we were just as annoying, scared and confused as the teenagers we tend to give the stink eye each time they answer us with a bit of attitude. We forget to empathize and remember that things are becoming harder and harder as time goes on. As an adult, and as a future adulter, it is important to read this book to try and shed some light on really confusing and relevant issues. And once you complete it, please pass it along and share it with any teenagers in your life – they can get so much use out of it!