St. Louis Malls promote ageism towards teenagers

Addie Conway
Opinion Columnist

Mall cops are stationed all around the mall’s entrances and exits, waiting for teenagers to come in and to yell at the teens even though they haven’t done anything except be under the age 18.

Pre-teens and teenagers can no longer go into the malls on Fridays and Saturdays, the biggest shopping days in America, without an adult or someone over the age of 18, with them.

In the summer, when summer camps are going on, the pool is open, sports are going on, and the weather is nice outside, this might not be such a big deal, yet when the weather is cold and disgusting out, and there’s no place to go other than your house, then not being able to go to the mall does become a big deal.

Personally, I feel like this is a huge example of ageism. Ageism, whose definition is “any attitude, action, or institutional structure which subordinates a person or group because of age or any assignment of roles in society purely on the basis of age,” applies to both older people and younger people. It’s typically applied to older people, but in the past 15 years, I’ve noticed it directed towards younger people as well.

I understand that sometimes teenagers make both big and small mistakes but I’ll just come out and say it: “Isn’t that what being a teenager is about?” Just because one or two teenagers make a mistake, does that mean that all teenagers in St. Louis get to be punished for something that these one or two teenagers did?

It’s not very fair for mall cops and, even older people in society in general, to judge teenagers just because we’re teenagers. After all, they were teenagers too, making the exact same complaints about the older people in their society as well. Adults talk about how teenagers should want to wait to grow up; why would we, teenagers, want to work for a living and go through all the things that adults do?

To teenagers, or maybe just to me, it seems as though adults do get to have all the fun. Sure they have to work and deal with a lot of responsibility’s, but adults also make the rules that everyone, teenagers included, have to abide by.

Mall rules regarding teens that are slightly harsher and enforced more often could be something that malls could look into, but banning teens all together, unless they’re with an adult seems a bit extreme to me.

After all, most teenagers don’t have to put their money to insurance, house payments and all the other things that adults have to put their money towards. Teenagers have a more disposable income that could go towards things like buying Auntie Anne’s pretzels, Hollister sweatshirts and other things that profit both mall and stores in the mall.

Malls were once a place of refuge, a place to go when you wanted to get out of the house and away from the family, a place to hang out with friends and a place that was warm, had food and was full of things that seemed to be calling out your name to buy them.

Adults haven’t had this place of refuge yanked away from them, just because of their age or because of what they might do. Instead, now it’s become a haven for adults, who don’t have to worry about fighting off teenagers or something as ridiculous.

However, for teenagers, the places that we can go to are slowly dwindling and I, for one, am not happy to see them go. After all, just because I’m a teenager, doesn’t mean that I don’t like places that I can go and be myself, and not have anyone judge me, yet I’m being judged for the places that I can’t go.

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