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The “Teenage Girl In Her Twenties” Debate

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GCU chapter.

The first time I saw one of the “teenage girl in her twenties” memes (which was very recently), I thought it was both funny and comforting. I’m a 23-year-old senior in college, and I love to do things that make me feel like I’m still a teen. I show it through my fashion when I wear T-shirts with funny sayings (one of my favorites is one I thrifted that says “I’d date you but ur not Dylan O’Brien”). I style my hair in pigtails or space buns and tie white ribbons in my hair. Over the summer, I went to the skatepark as much as I could and made friendship bracelets with one of my closest friends. I rewatch Pretty Little Liars or Teen Wolf when I’m feeling sad and I even bought a Barbie because I never had the chance to own one as a child that wasn’t already broken (my Barbie was headless). 

But I was surprised to see that people are arguing on social media, saying that the trend is the Gen Z equivalent of millennials using the term “adulting” in phrases like “adulting is hard.” I’m not gonna lie, this shook me a little. As a 23-year-old in college, I feel my age every time I hear a classmate tell me that they’re a couple of years younger. And although I’m not a millennial, it’s a weird feeling realizing your generation’s sayings are similar to the one above you. 

People seem to be genuinely bothered by this trend, which got me thinking about adulthood in women and how we are expected to act in society. The main difference between “adulting is hard” and “being a teenage girl in her twenties” is the gender that is associated. It could also have something to do with the fact that my generation lost a few good years of their adolescence when the pandemic happened. 

There gets to be a time when you will need to do “adult” things on your own. Getting an oil change, buying groceries, or going to a job interview are just a few that come to mind. I’m not gonna lie, it’s an adjustment and can be intimidating in the beginning. But there’s nothing wrong with calling your parents, an older sibling, or just someone you trust when you don’t know what you’re doing. 

Being an adult doesn’t mean you have to leave behind the hobbies and things you enjoyed as a teenager. “Growing up” doesn’t mean “stop doing the things that bring you joy”. 

While I have a lot of positive memories from my teenage years, I also have some unpleasant ones that I wouldn’t want to relive. I think the appeal to “being a teenage girl in your 20s” is the fact that you’re not a teenager anymore. You’re an adult with more responsibilities, yes, but you also have the freedom to do what you please. And with responsibility and freedom, you can still do the things that made you happy as an adolescent. 

Regardless, the phrase doesn’t seem to do much harm. I love seeing women embrace their childhood interests and realize that sometimes they will need assistance with things as if they were 15 again, and sometimes they will experience the same emotions they felt at that age. 

With all this being said, I do love being in my 20’s. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be a “woman in her 20s” as opposed to a “teenager in her 20’s”. I have more independence and I’m more secure in myself compared to when I was a teenager. I think it is important to embrace being a woman because, while it can mean something different for everyone, it also means becoming comfortable in your own skin and loving what you love without shame. 

Lauren is a professional writing student at GCU and will graduate with her bachelor's degree in Spring 2024. She loves skateboarding, watching films, doing most anything with her friends and spends her summers at her favorite beaches in Malibu.