A decade ago in Warsaw certain innocence prevailed throughout the dim greyness which surrounded the city. The teenagers continued to play in the courtyards of the high rise flats together in unity. You could observe teens playing hop-scotch or with skipping ropes or contently riding their bikes together or girls walking their dogs and giggling at the boys who stood at the opposite side of the courtyard playing soccer. With the onset of Capitalism and as Poland lurched forwards into the twenty-first century and contemplated joining the EU it seems this innocence has been suffocated by the green dollar.
In Warsaw some would argue that the new internet cafes, tenpin bowling alleys, cinemas, fast-food outlets, and variety of clothes shops ranging from H&M to Marks and Spencers offers the teenagers of Poland diversity and Westernisation. Instead of retaining their innocence, teenagers are now seemingly more open to the vices of modernisation as their skirts shorten, their language decreases and they are influenced by violence and greed. Am I being to cynical I hear you ask? Perhaps. Underneath all this pretension their still remains the innocent youth of Poland influenced by the Catholic Church, the ideals of their forefathers and a certain respect for tradition. Teenagers are all different as all people are unique. Teenagers from the rural areas and villages still seem to be heavily involved in familial responsibilities helping out with their siblings and helping on the farms. Many families are still poor and struggle to make a living giving teenagers either a survivalist instinct or else they turn to vices such as alcohol to numb the boredom and desolate image they have of life. Like anywhere in the countryside teenagers seem to entertain themselves with small town discos, alcohol and sex... starting a new generation who lives the same saga over again. However if born into a wealthy family, then Poland offers teenagers excitement and the same facilities as any modernised country.
It seems now that unless a teen is from the country, most Polish teenagers are the same as any other around the world. They dream of travel, of careers, of having nice materialistic items to satisfy their desires and are failing to notice that whilst doing all this they may be forfeiting their distinct essence of "Polishness." A polish teenager is no different from an American one; they are all unique, they all have their varied upbringings and ideals and they are all heading in the same direction.
Polish male teens are interested in sports, cars, music and trying to impress the girls. Girls are interested in fashion, music and trying to impress the boys. Capitalism isn't all so bad perhaps as it may be encouraging ambition and desire for this Eastern European country to forget its horrific past and build a safe and developed future. The greyness is being overshadowed by colour in advertising, fashion and perhaps the souls of the repressed Poles who are joining the rest of the world in delighting in the luxuries of technology and modern advancement.
Polish teenagers therefore are the same as any teenagers around the world. Ruled by ambition, hormones and the desire to be accepted many teenagers in Poland travel around the world, learn English instead of Russian and keep up with fashion. There still seems to be the prevailing desire to follow America and the whole idea of the land of dreams remains. With the decline of Communism Polish teenagers are now more knowledgeable and enjoy a youth similar to any other.