Teen culture has always had a distinct mark on general pop culture, whether it be large or small. However, once high school is long gone and algebra is no longer on the mind, it’s easy to forget about what the kids are into these days.
Magazines like “J-14” and “Tiger Beat” exist purely for this purpose — they cater to middle school and high school students. They create their own little hub of teen celebrity culture. The “big couples” that I remember were Zac Efron/Vanessa Hudgens, Joe Jonas/Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas/Miley Cyrus (RIP to all, but mostly Zanessa). Nowadays, these sensational celebrity pairings are long gone and all grown up — many of the people listed are engaged!
But, the teen universe must go on. And today, they lost one of their major couples — Millie Bobby Brown and Jacob Sartorius.
For the geezers out there who don’t know those names, here’s the lowdown: Millie Bobby Brown is a 14-year-old actress, most famous for her role as Eleven on the hit Netflix sci-fi series “Stranger Things.” The young woman is a bit of a pop culture phenom, with 17 million Instagram followers under her belt (she even hangs out with Drake!). Sartorius is 15 and became a viral star of the app musical.ly, which is an app where kids lip sync to pop songs. Sartorius was one of musical.ly’s top stars with over 14 million followers. His first single, “Sweatshirt,” was on the Billboard Top 100.
Obviously, these are two of the biggest teen stars out there right now. Their relationship was first speculated about in January, when fans noticed that they were commenting on each other’s Instagram posts. They then posted a black-and-white selfie together captioned with red hearts, which many took as confirming the relationship.
This Tuesday, they both posted statements on their Instagram stories confirming the end of the seven-month relationship. “The decision with Jacob and I was completely mutual. We are both happy and remaining friends,” Brown wrote. Sartorius’ statement was virtually the same.
Obviously, this is going to matter to teenagers. However, the story was picked up by multiple major news outlets, including the obvious People and E! coverage, and even reported on by Fox News. I understand why these companies are interested in reporting on it: They are both celebrities, they were in a relationship and then they broke up. And if they were 25, no one would even bat an eye.
But they are not 25. They’re 15 and 14. In my mind, articles like the ones I referenced above (the one I’m writing right now included) must acknowledge that while they are celebrities, their personal lives at this age shouldn’t really matter to anyone.
People began their article on the break-up by saying “young love is officially over.” A publication called East Bay Times titled their article “Millie Bobby Brown just broke up with her boyfriend in the most mature way possible.” They are teenagers — love is not over for them, nor do they have to be “mature” by adult standards. They are doing what teenagers do — maybe we should just stop qualifying it.