To me, it's no different than banning any other group. It's discriminatory, dehumanizing and unfortunately, socially acceptable unlike a ban on black people on or gays. The article shamelessly refers to teens as "mallrats". I can't believe they can get away with such an insult. And if a teen reacts to this segregation of adults and minors with anger, they're the one who is immature. No one should have to "earn" respect or trust. Not allowing someone in a public place (which isn't adult-only like a strip club) just because of their age is incredibly disgusting.
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I have a very similar attitude towards this whole ageism as you do. I'm totally against it and I largely agree with you. I find it beyond disgustingly conservative and appalling that they can just ban teenagers from going to the mall on their own. We have similar problems in my country. We don't really have big malls but one controversial issue is whether restaurants or cafés should be allowed to set age limits. Here in Switzerland, it's not so much about teenagers but more about children. Unfortunately, Swiss people are not exactly child-friendly and so there some people who think it's great that some restaurants have rules such as "no children under the age of 10". There is also a kinda famous nightclub/bar that made the rule that nobody under the age of 35 is allowed inside (they even check for ID). It pisses me off that these kind of discriminations are even possible. I understand that it can be a little annoying if you're on romantic date and there's a baby crying on the table across the room but... for god's sake, this is not YOUR restaurant. Why should it be okay to just keep certain people out? A restaurant or bar or nightclub or café or mall is a place where anybody should be able to go, regardless of their age. Sure, teenagers can be annoying if they're kinda loud but how about these idiots who initiated this ban on teenagers take their stick out of their conservative asses and learn a thing or two about tolerance. There are other - more efficient ways - to deal with loud teenagers than just kicking them out of the mall. One particularly smart way would be to have a conversation with them. Maaaaybe they turn out to be more mature than you think and listen to you.
But of course it's always so much easier to make stuff illegal and discriminate people. And in the case of teenagers, it's particularly easy because they can't do anything about it. Some conservative people here in Switzerland say that it should be a restaurant owners right to decide who he will let inside and who he won't but in my opinion, that's an idiotic argument because how is that different from saying "it's my restaurant, so I can just right 'white only' outside on the door"? Just because a mall or a restaurant or a café is a private enterprise shouldn't give the owners/managers the right to act like total dicks.1