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Old 10-25-2007, 06:44 PM   #1
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Middle School Fashion Bullies

I remember being made fun of once around middle school age for something I was wearing, but this is getting extreme. It's sad, and it doesn't just go on in wealthy places either.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1193...s_us_nonsub_pj

Teen and adolescent girls have long used fashion as a social weapon. In 1944, Eleanor Estes wrote "The Hundred Dresses," a book about a Polish girl who is made fun of for wearing the same shabby dress to school each day. The film "Mean Girls" in 2004 focused on fashion-conscious cliques among high-school teens. But today, guidance counselors and psychologists say, fashion bullying is reaching a new level of intensity as more designers launch collections targeted at kids.

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."
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:11 PM   #2
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Oh, yeah, I got made fun of quite a bit in school for that crap, too. Hand-me-downs and stuff from Goodwill were just simply a no-no. If it wasn't Abercrombie and Fitch, or the Gap, or Old Navy, you just weren't "in".

It's ridiculous. Why does someone automatically assume they're better than me simply because they can afford fancier clothing? You can be wearing the most fashionable brand of clothes imaginable, but if you look down on people who don't dress like you, it doesn't make you cool, it makes you an arrogant snob.

Angela
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:53 PM   #3
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I was made fun of a few times for dressing weird in junior high, but never bullied.
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:59 PM   #4
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Clothes don't matter as much now, IMO. If you're popular, whatever you're wearing is OK, it seems, because you're cool already.

I personally have never had any issues with the way I dress, though I'm a guy, so, it's not really a big deal anyway.
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Old 10-25-2007, 08:04 PM   #5
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I'm a little confused about what exactly they mean by "bullying" in this context...are they more talking peer pressure, where your friends lecture you about how hopelessly uncool your clothes are? or are they talking kids other than your friends loudly taunting you in the hallway? or what? I don't know that I'd necessarily think of the former as "bullying," although it can be unpleasant.

Where I grew up there weren't enough people who could afford "cool" or "really nice" clothes for it to be much of an issue, although where I finished high school in NYC, there weren't many poor kids at all, and I can remember getting smirky "Nice outfit" "It's a Blue Light special!" and "It's the Brooklyn Hillbillies!" (added 'pun' on my accent)-type comments a few times. Then there were kids who weren't necessarily poor, but got similar comments for dressing "punk" or "hippie." I can't really recall kids actually teasing each other over specific brand names or fashion labels, although there were certainly ones like Firenza (sp.?) that obviously had more cachet than others.
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Old 10-25-2007, 08:30 PM   #6
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I went to a Catholic high school which had a strict uniform policy so this was largely absent. But I remember it well in 7th/8th grade. To this day I wonder why some parents would buy their daughters thousands of dollars of clothes a year.
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Old 10-25-2007, 11:21 PM   #7
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I was poked at and made fun of in middle school for the clothes I wore, too. Honestly, I don't see (and didn't see then) what the big deal is...they're just clothes. It's not life or death.

It's articles like these that make me feel that school uniforms aren't a bad option to consider, though.
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Old 10-25-2007, 11:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by ShipOfFools

It's articles like these that make me feel that school uniforms aren't a bad option to consider, though.
Yeah, I'm pretty torn about uniforms. I think this is a tender age. One that lends to torment, but also lends to self expression. I'm not convinced uniforms are the way to go, for there will always be "status" symbols that can be worn like shoes, jewelery, etc... I'm just not sure if you'll ever escape this.
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Old 10-26-2007, 01:02 AM   #9
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Hasn't it has been proven by the likes of Charles Darwin, Jonas Salk, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and just about every great mind that we've probably ever heard of that the biggest assholes on the face of the earth are adolescent kids who happen to be popular in school, for whatever reason.

I mean it's SCIENCE fuckers!!

In fact, I think Stephen Hawking once said, every 13 year old on the face of the earth should be able to murder at least one popular asshole 13 year old at some point. I think it's a plan worth considering. Some aspect of evolution. I bet the monkey's did it. You know they wouldn't have put up with this shit.

Okay, but seriously, what's less considered is that most of these assholes grow up to be assholes. They are indeed, everywhere.

The issue is about self-esteem on all accounts.
Teach your kids to have self-esteem, pride, confidence and do the best you can to let them know that the opinion of their school peers will mean ABSOLUTELY nothing about 2.2 seconds after they graduate high school and leave all those assholes behind.
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Old 10-26-2007, 01:07 AM   #10
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Count me in the group of people who got picked on for what they wore.

I challenge anybody to say they seriously enjoyed middle school. What a God-awful, awkward, crappy time in peoples' lives.
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Old 10-26-2007, 07:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2DMfan
Hasn't it has been proven by the likes of Charles Darwin, Jonas Salk, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and just about every great mind that we've probably ever heard of that the biggest assholes on the face of the earth are adolescent kids who happen to be popular in school, for whatever reason.

I mean it's SCIENCE fuckers!!

I have a friend at law school who took quite a few years off after college to raise a couple of kids. In high school she was one of the popular girls (still is to an extent) and apparently played a hand in torturing one specific girl who was in her mind a geek with no style and a total weirdo. We had our law recruitment first round interviews and hilarious thing is, we get the list of interviewers and for one of the biglaw firms, that girl is now a partner doing the interviewing. As you can imagine, my friend was absolutely horrified and humiliated. Just goes to show you that being evil to people as a kid can have a real way of biting you in the arse.
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Old 10-26-2007, 07:47 AM   #12
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im all for uniforms. you don't have to think what to wear, everyone looks the same i.e shit, and it looks nice when your at assembly.

for the record, i loved high school. but i wore the same blue red and white checkered dress in summer, and the blue red and purple skirt, white blouse, blue and red tie, navy blue blazer and straw hat with a blue and red ribbon around it every day in winter.
conformity - thats what you need at high school!
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Old 10-26-2007, 08:28 AM   #13
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I'm sure I got made fun of in middle school, but I did dress like crap. It didn't help that I was at least a year younger than most of the other kids. Not only did I not wear or care to wear the *right* brands, I couldn't even recognize them if I tried. Oh well, I'm over it. Stuff like that tended/tends to bounce right off me. In high school I developed more of a fashion sense, probably b/c "going out" meant wandering around the mall, not building forts in a leaf pile.
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Old 10-26-2007, 08:35 AM   #14
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Clothes are just a visible excuse to create subordinate hegemonies (cliques) within a given structure (school). Changing your clothes isn't going to make the "popular kids" suddenly think that you're cool; instead, they'll just come up with a different excuse to maintain the status quo of hating you.

As for idealistic ideas of "co-existence" and "tolerance," far too many adults are quite happy to congregate into subordinate hegemonies of their own (race, class, religion, and/or political affiliation, etc.) to justify hating "the Other," so I really doubt that we can make our kids live up to a higher standard than the standard we give ourselves.
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Old 10-26-2007, 11:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by dazzlingamy

conformity - thats what you need at high school!
Are you serious? That's dangerous thinking...
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