Fashion Bullies Attack - in Middle School
Ariana, a young sixth-grader from Springfield Illinois has a closet full of designer clothes from Dolce Gabbana, Juicy Couture, True Religion Etc. Her wardrobe selected by her fashion conscious mother hasn't won her friends at school. Kids in her class told her she was wearing the wrong brands. She came home complaining to her mother that all the girls want to know if I will ever come to school without being so dressed up. Young teen and adolescent girls have long used fashion as a social weapon. In the film mean girls fashion-conscious clicks were prevalent among high school teams. Today fashion bullying has reached a new level of intensity as more designers launch collections targeted at kids.
This has resulted in an increasing number of school programs focused on girl-on-girl bullying are addressing peer pressure and the role clothing plays in girls identity. In a few states programs have been developed to teach girls relationship skills. A" bully quiz" asked the question" have you stop being friends with someone because you were close you didn't like?"
One professor of educational psychology in Illinois says she sees an increase in bullying related to clothes. She has been surprised by how kids revere those they perceive to have the best close. Having designer clothing allows them the opportunity become popular and this protects you and gives you social power and leverage over others.
Numerous designers have targeted the lucrative children and teens’ market. Marc Jacobs has expanded his line and dropped its price making it more affordable to a greater number of shoppers. many other designers have been targeting teens with accessories. Retailers also open boutiques specifically for children. There is a greater focus on fashion and teen magazines and on TV. The market is become more sophisticated. Kids today follow not only what celebrities where but find out what their children are wearing. David Beckham's son and Madonna's daughter each have their own stylist. Thanks to sites like Groupon and Living Social, parents can order online kids clothes for less. Groupon offers brand name clothing clothing for fraction of price. And with groupon promo codes you can buy nice clothing items for $10-$30.
More than one third of middle school students responded yes when asked if they are bullied because of the clothes they wear. The prevalence of fashion bullies is greater in wealthy cities and towns where more designer clothing is available but the problem also exists in poor communities. Teens are expected to wear not any designer brand but the right ones. If you don't wear them you get criticized. Parents often explain to their kids that they should ignore comments and just wear what they like. Several new programs are trying to help parents and teachers and girls cope with bullying. There are some nonprofit organizations developing curriculum that is catching on in several states. The programs encourage girls to look more closely at the messages they get from the media regarding fashion and clothing. They are trying to relay that what a girl wears should not define who they are.
Fashion bullying is happening at younger and younger ages. It can begin in the fifth and sixth grades. Ariana’s mom feels it important that her daughter not be pressured to conform to a dress down standard at her school. The mom believes that people favor those who " look good". She recently bought her daughter to Ralph Lauren dresses one in pink and one in green, but her daughter rejected them as she suspected her classmates would comment.