issue 160 - June 1986
Not only fun and games
Life-styles show - amongst other things - how fashion-conscious you are (or whether you think clothes don't matter), your interest in politics (or lack of it) and how rich or poor you are.
Teenage life-styles cover that 'in-between' period between being a child and being an adult: they show what sort of adult you can (and want to) become. It's easy to think that teenage life-styles in the West give people in the rich world complete freedom, but we don't think things are that simple. Life-styles are like a card-game, in which you have to make the best of the hand you've been dealt. Your choices are limited, and skill is needed if you are to feel that you've made a success of your life.
You play by figuring out what you want from life, and then working out a way to get it. Winning a round, or a trick, means that you've got more control of your life. Aces, Kings and Queens have the highest value; ones, two and threes the lowest.
Hearts show the start you had in life; whether you were born into a rich or poor family, your sex and your race.
Spades show whether your schooling helps you to pass exams or not.
Clubs show whether you stand a chance of getting a job
Diamonds show whether you can find friends who share your point of view, and can help out when things get tough.
A joker means that you've lost control often because of things you do very little about - like discrimination or unemployment
Jane needs to test her feminist views in the outside world, where she will constantly get up people's noses.
King of Hearts: Trendy parents give Jane every encouragement.
10 of Spades: A private all-girls school enabled Jane to get good exam results
King of Clubs: Jane is likely to go to university and get a good degree, and the chance of swell-paid job.
8 of Diamonds: Jane has left-wing and feminist views, and spends as much time with girl friends as with boys and listens to Joan Armatrading and Joni Mitchell.
The Joker: Jane slowly realises that she's more attracted to women than men. She's happy to be a lesbian, but will encounter all sorts of prejudice from those who think she's 'abnormal'.
Tricks won: Becoming a feminist allows Jane to understand why most women get a rotten deal. Jane is confident enough to enjoy the times when she is not 'going out' with anyone. She does not fell odd for being on her own.
Tricks lost: It's difficult succeeding as a feminist in a career dominated by men. Jane drops out from law-school.
Coping with a job-market that rejects him, and a society that dismisses his views as just a 'phase'
Queen of Hearts: Both parents would prefer Sean to stay on at school
7 of Spades: Went to an inner-city school which didn't help him pass exams, but opened his eyes to how politics affects us all.
2 of Clubs: Sean has little chance of being kept on after his apprenticeship finishes.
8 of Diamonds: Sean became a punk-anarchist wears black, listens to bands like The Ramones and has lots of friends.
The Joker: Because he has his hair cut in a Mohican, Sean will encounter prejudice and hostility at work and on the street.
Tricks won: Unemployment doesn't affect Sean's life-style. 0 Sean gets support from hanging around with other punks. By ignoring others' disapproval he has found a set of life-long friends
Tricks lost: Sean's lack of money, due to unemployment, will mean that he has to eat cheaply and that he can't afford new clothes or records.
If Mark is to make friends and be more fulfilled he needs to change. But with everything going his way, why should he?
4 of Hearts: Mark's Dad shows \mark no affection. His Mum is very fashionable but often ets depressed being stuck at home.
9 of Spades: Mark attends a local school in and expensive suburb but it doesn't teach him much about difficult issues like why the third world is poor.
King of Spades: As a computer-buff, Mark will be able to work as a programmer and earn a high salary when he's 21
2 of Diamonds: Mark's father has taught him that winning matters most. His school friends don't like his competitiveness.
The Joker: Pressure at work, without support from close friends, means Mark will be an alcoholic by the time he's 45.
Tricks won: Mark's wealth will finance businesses and earn vast sums of money. His life-style means he will easily find a woman willing to marry him
Tricks lost: Mark will depend on his wife to give him the emotional support that he can't get from friends; but she will leave him as he does not return her affection.
Monique feels she won't be a real adult until she is earning a wage. She needs to develop a political understanding of how the racist job market excludes her if she is not to become hopelessly depressed and despairing.
5 of Hearts: Monique's parents have found that racism means they can only get low-paid jobs, they are continually hard-up.
2 of Spades: An ill-funded and badly equipped school, which Monique left without passing any exams, made her think she is stupid.
2 of Clubs: In the inner-city where Monique lives, unemployed amongst young black runs at 85 per cent.
10 of Diamonds: Monique get a lot of support from the black community, especially from the church where she sings.
The Joker: Monique thinks that marriage and motherhood will solve all her problems; but she forgets the loneliness of caring for a baby, especially when you're poor.
Tricks won Monique's stylish appearance is a way of showing that she values herself, despite rejection by employers. Monique is 'discovered' as a soloist in the choir. There is a chance of becoming a professional singer.
Tricks lost Monique loves reading, but shies away from night-schools or libraries, so only finds out when she is much older that there have been many brilliant black writers and artists
Name the biggest problem or conflict that faces you.
Hearts: What do you think of your family?
Spades: Your schooling?
Clubs: Your job oppertunities?
Diamonds: Your friends?
Tricks won Which two aspects of your life-style are you most proud of?
Tricks lost What's the worst decision you've ever made? Why did you take it?