Pseudomaturity: Sex, Delinquency, Anxiety

Curated by CLAI

3 SIGNS OF PSEUDOMATURITY: These young teenagers sought out friends who were physically attractive; their romances were more numerous, emotionally intense and sexually exploring than those of their peers; and they dabbled in minor delinquency — skipping school, sneaking into movies, vandalism. The fast-track kids didn’t turn out O.K.

  • At 13, they were viewed by classmates with envy, admiration and not a little awe. The girls wore makeup, had boyfriends and went to parties held by older students. The boys boasted about sneaking beers on a Saturday night and swiping condoms from the local convenience store. They were cool. They were good-looking. They were so not you. Whatever happened to them?
  • Now in their early 20s, many of them have had difficulties with intimate relationships, alcohol and marijuana, and even criminal activity.
  • They are doing more extreme things to try to act cool, bragging about drinking three six-packs on a Saturday night, and their peers are thinking, ‘These kids are not socially competent.’
Cool Kid

Cool Kid (Gianluca Fabrizio/Getty Images)

ANXIETY: Adolescents, on average, experience more anxiety and fear and have a harder time learning how not to be afraid than either children or adults. It turns out that the brain circuit for processing fear — the amygdala — is precocious and develops way ahead of the prefrontal cortex, the seat of reasoning and executive control. This means that adolescents have a brain that is wired with an enhanced capacity for fear and anxiety, but is relatively underdeveloped when it comes to calm reasoning.


Disappearing Cultures, Changing Fashion, & Bikini Waxes

Curated by CLAI

DISAPPEARING CULTURES: Across China, cultural traditions like the Lei family’s music are under threat. Rapid urbanization means village life, the bedrock of Chinese culture, is rapidly disappearing, and with it, traditions and history. Chinese culture has traditionally been rural-based. Once the villages are gone, the culture is gone. Between 2010 and today, there has been a loss of about 300 villages a day.

Traditional Chinese Opera

Traditional Chinese Opera (Sim Chi Yin for NYTIMES)

TEENAGE FASHION: More of parents shopping at the Abercrombies, American Eagles, and Aéropostale than do teenagers themselves. Fast-fashion companies, like Forever 21 and H&M sell trendy clothes at a much low prices, cranking out new styles much faster than others.

BIKINI WAXES: Looks like pubic hair is back in style – from Gwenyth Paltrow to American Apparel. ““We have noticed a massive decrease in requests for Brazilians and high bikinis. Our clients in particular are eco- and health-minded, and the grown look certainly suits a girl who is more au naturel.”