Are you kidding me? Little girls are bullying each other because they're in the wrong brand and color? Wait, am I kidding myself? It was a big deal when I was a pre-teen and teen and I remember precisely when it started.
That's right. Baby Brooke in her provocative picture with tight Calvin Kleins that nothing came between. Everyone had to have them. Before Calvin, it was gauche to put a label front and center. After Calvin, everyone started doing it.
And Middle School suddenly got a lot more fierce. As if a hormonally challenged kid needs to worry about anything more. Now it's Dolcé and Gabbana or whatever.
The kids who grew up with Calvin are now parents. And they refuse to let their child suffer their own humiliation. No Gucci? Horrors! So parents will bend over backwards to keep their growing child's derriére covered in something fancy. Crazy:
School guidance counselor Angie Dooley sees the love of labels at Lawrence Junior High School in Fairfield, Maine, where some girls wear the same few brand-name items they own again and again. "They don't want anyone to know that's all they have," Ms. Dooley says.
In one study, more than one-third of middle-school students responded "yes" when asked whether they are bullied because of the clothes they wear. Susan M. Swearer, associate professor of school psychology at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, surveyed a total of more than 1,000 students at five Midwestern middle schools from 1999 to 2004, with about 56% of the sample female. While the prevalence of fashion bullies was greater in wealthy cities and towns, where more designer clothing is available, she found the problem is significant in poorer communities, too.
Teens and adolescents are expected to wear not just any designer brands but the "right" ones. "The better brands you wear, the more popular you are," says Becky Gilker, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from Sherwood Park in the Canadian province of Alberta. "If you don't wear those things you get criticized." In many schools, the most expensive designer goods, such as those by Chanel or Louis Vuitton, have the highest social ranking among girls. But popular teen brands such as American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale are also important. Miss Gilker says Hollister and Roxy are big logos at her school.
The solution isn't kid bullying classes. It's parenting classes. Do parents even listen to themselves? Are they conscious of what they're teaching their kids? It just seems like one more narcissistic pursuit. It isn't about the kid's moral development, it's about the kids making up for what the parent lacked.
And ultimately, the kids better like the clothes because what's filling them is empty.