Young people often find ways to express themselves which are different to the generally accepted culture of their community. The various methods by which they express themselves and associate are known as youth culture.
Young people having a subculture unique to themselves is a recent phenomena. It is thought that it started to become most prevalent around the mid 20th century, after World War II, due to the economic, political, and educational climate.
Ironically the music, clothes, language etc. of youth culture is often created by non-young people (adults). For example MTV while being seen as a big part of youth culture (at the present time) is controlled by adults. Boy bands who find favour with young people are often not young themselves.
Other cultures typically create and produce their own cultural ideas, while young people have a certain amount produced by adults. To some people this raises questions about the exploitation and oppression of young people.
In Western civilization, a distinct teenage culture has developed. A "teenager" or "teen" is a person whose age is a number ending in "-teen" in the English language: that is to say, someone from the age of thirteen to the age of nineteen. The word is of recent origin, only having appeared in the mid 20th century. The term "teenager" is roughly equivalent to adolescent. However due to marketing, the pre-teens (about 8-12 year olds, especially females) also have a strong youth culture. However, youth culture is beginning to expend its influence in increasingly younger age groups.
Today's youth culture in general can be characterized by:
- A distinct style of dress.
- A dislike for other teenagers who are not part of the "youth culture"
- Glorification of "bad" behavior (sex, drugs, etc.), to symbolize being "different".
- Frequent use of slang and profanity, particularly in the older age groups.
- Cliques and friendship circles, almost like a "second family".
- A strong desire to be "cool", e.g. following the fads.
Various youth movements, frequently associated with a musical style, have existed as part of teenage culture. They include: