We know this means teenage girls are a swirling vortex of pregnancy, STIs, alcopops, eyeliner and short skirt induced vulnerability. But what of teenage boys? Once dismissed as spotty yoof shut up in their rooms listening to angry music and strengthening their forearm muscles we now see them as sexual predators. Drunk on online porn they rampage the school corridors demanding smooth pudendas and unprotected sex, unable to think of anything else.
Jon Snow's recent unsolicited confession that he contemplates sex or 'what could be' with every encounter with an unrelated woman, the seemingly natural development from the current teen boy stereotype.
Boys...are given little allowance for nuance when it comes to their sexual thoughts, feelings and actions.
Ignoring the unflattering idea of 'evaluation' ladies apparently undergo upon meeting Mr Snow he went on to tell the Evening Standard that "While I aspire to be a feminist, I think I am guilty of just as many failings in terms of supporting women's equality. I couldnât say I'd really fought for women to enjoy many of the fantastic benefits I've enjoyed."
It's important that we are aware of what goes on in our heads, it's what helps empathy and understanding flourish and you can't help what pops into your mind. However when certain thoughts or opinions are seen as inevitable rather than a result of conditioning of thoughts we are reduced to the old 'boys will be boys' attitude that helps no-one. It's worth noting that he shared these thoughts at the Being a Man festival at the Royal Festival Hall.
Presumably the point of the Being a Man festival, in which subjects such as fatherhood, the male role model and "Why are our penises locked in the past?" is to move on from this unhelpful but commonly accepted idea of the man being a sexual predator in his mind and body from teenhood onwards. However Snow is promoting the male sex drive as insatiable, ever alert and easily inferred by women as sinisterly watchful.
Which leads us to Ally Fogg's piece regarding our reduction of the teen boy character. "I simply do not recognise the dominant media narrative in the young men I know. They are not sex-crazed monsters, treating girls as meat before casting them aside and moving on to the next one...I see young men desperately looking around and soaking up messages and cultural models for how to behave as a 'real' man, many of which are downright toxic. It concerns me deeply that the political narrative that portrays young men as sexually aggressive, abusive and violent can easily become part of the problem."
Because it is expected of men and boys to be sex obsessed and to act on it if given half a chance (or not) they are given little allowance for nuance when it comes to their sexual thoughts, feelings and actions. "Teenage boys communicate almost entirely in braggadocio and bullshit. To do otherwise is to expose oneself to emasculating ridicule. It should be no surprise that a 2009 report by ChildLine noted that boys were more likely than girls to call about being sexually abused; nearly twice as likely to call asking about 'the facts of life'; and six times as likely to call with worries about their sexuality."
To rid ourselves of the male sexual predator assumption (and to 'unlock the penis from the past' as it were) we must see teenagers - boy or girl or other as what they are: young, inexperienced and, thanks to us, ill educated when it comes to emotions and sex.