NEVER read Number Two Pencil and Joanne Jacobs first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Kimberly comments about the start-of-school spending spree that many parents indulge in as they prepare to send their kids off to school. Granted, the article on which she bases her comments deals more specifically with college kids, but I have noticed that school shopping has become more of an MTV fashion extravaganza than what it used to be in my day: an opportunity for Mom to buy some clothes that didn't hang three or four inches above my wrists and ankles.
Nowadays, kids seem unable to go to school unless their clothes make a statement. As a youngster, my clothes always made the statement, "I'd rather be anywhere but sitting in this hyperboring sensory deprivation chamber listening to the worst teacher on the planet." At least, that's the statement they made about three weeks into the school year. At the beginning of the school year, my clothes always said, "I just came from Sears!" It always took me a few weeks to give them that stylish "lived in" look. Generally speaking, my Mom probably spent more time worrying that my teachers were thinking I must live in a hobo jungle than in a nice, comfortable suburban home right next door to the school.
The fact is, I never once considered what kind of "fashion statement" I was making. I was a kid. I always played (hard) in the same clothes I wore to school. Consequently, after about two or three months my trousers began to look exactly like a football uniform. Comfortable, but well worn.
I'm not sure who first came up with the idea of wearing attitude statements. Certainly it didn't used to be hard to tell who had money and who didn't. Now, however, it seems clothing needs to be edgier in order to be fashionable. It has to have some sort of "in your face" element before kids will even look at it.
Exhibit A would be this tidbit from Joanne Jacobs the other day. Joanne makes particular mention of the "It's Happy Bunny" phenomenon. "It's Happy Bunny" is the creation of Jim Benton, who appears to want to capitalize on the growing disenfranchisement of today's teens. His web site proudly proclaims that "It's Happy Bunny dislikes everybody." What fun! Of course, just to show that Benton really does have a sense of social and moral responsibility, his web site also states that "It's Happy Bunny" is "for advanced teens and up."
Whew! Glad to hear that! I'd sure hate for anyone to capitalize on some teenager's natural cynicism without taking some responsibility for it! I mean, we very nearly lost control of all those kids sneaking into R-rated movies without their parents. Aren't we glad there are controls in place?
Joanne, of course, hits the nail on the head:
Happy Bunny says: A lot of parents are wimps.
Fortunately, all is not necessarily lost. At least one principal was quoted as saying that such tee shirts would be considered a form of harrassment and not tolerated. At least, not at his school.
Come to think of it, Mrs. Woody and I won't tolerate that sort of thing in our school, either. Nor will we support The Gap™'s retirement fund while we're at it. Mrs. Woody's sister is just too good of a garage saler for that to happen.