Writer, director, and actor Mindy Kaling recently wrote an open letter to today’s teenagers for the online magazine Rookie’s forthcoming print publication, Rookie Yearbook Two. In the letter, in an attempt to decide whether she hates or pities today’s teenagers, Mindy listed out the things that are easier and more difficult about being a teenager today, as opposed to in the nineties. The letter was published in a Vanity Fair exclusive. Here are the highlights.
2. Teenagers today have cellphones, as opposed to landlines.
“You all have phones that your parents can’t hop on. My dad used to get on our landline at home and interrupt phone calls with my friends by saying, “Is this really something you can’t talk about tomorrow at school?” And I would want to die.”
3. But they also have to deal with their awful teenage years being documented on said cellphones.
“I was disgusting as a teenager. My hair was greasy, I smelled weird, I wore stretchy boot-cut jeans two sizes too small, and I had terrible cystic acne that frequently gave me whiteheads. Whiteheads on brown skin. I was a monster. But according to the Internet, I never really existed until I was 22. I am so lucky.”
4. Teenagers today have full access to their heroes.
“When I was 15 I used to cry myself to sleep with how much I was in love with Dana Carvey and how I would never, ever get to meet or talk to him. Now, Dana Carvey would be on Twitter and I could send him Vines all day of me doing the Church Lady and we’d probably be collaborating on a pilot.”
5. But they have to spend time on upkeep of their social media profiles.
“I would die if I were 15 and had to fill out a Facebook profile PLUS a Twitter bio PLUS update an Instagram to make myself appear cool and beguiling. And that’s all on top of doing homework and chores and stuff… I basically would have never completed high school if social media had existed.”
6. Teenagers today can do all their homework on computers.
“As a teen, I was forced to handwrite essays. In cursive, guys. Do you even know what cursive is? It’s this pretentious, fancy handwriting so annoying it makes you want to curse. Actually, do you even know what handwriting is?”
7. But it’s harder to get into college.
“Now it feels like you need to be a straight-A student, speak an obscure language, and also have spent a year living with brown bears or something to get into college. In the 90s you just had to be a pretty good kid and do O.K. on a standardized test.”