I know it’s been a while since I’ve written anything but I’ve been busy contemplating life’s big questions like, How do I keep the cut avocado from turning brown? or Why do I live in a state where my face is frozen for at least four months a year? or, and this one is really puzzling, Why do all the high school girls look EXACTLY the same?
This last one really has me perplexed.
Yes, I was a high school girl once and I remember the pressure to dress like everyone else – why else would I have donned neon – but it’s all so very Stepford Wives-ish. All of the girls have the same long, flowing straight hair, they all wear the same boots and they all carry the same bags. Lately I’ve been driving past a posse of girls on their way to school who are all carrying – in addition to their backpacks – a little Lululemon shopping bag.
Why are they all carrying the same shopping bag to school?! I guess it’s a status symbol but it looked really weird to see a bunch of girls who are not in the shopping mall carrying the exact same shopping bag. Sure, all my friends had on leg warmers when I was in high school but at least they were different colors! (And, yes, I know, that’s not a great argument.)
So, why do teenagers conform? Is it so they look like they know what’s “in”? Or, is it because they don’t want to seem different and stand out? If that’s the case, then why bother primping before school to look your best? If you are trying to look your best it’s usually because you want to get noticed (or is it because everyone else looks their best and you will stand out if you don’t try hard enough to look your best???).
I’m so glad I’m not a teenager anymore and I don’t have to figure it out. But wait, I am trying to figure it out…
I guess the question I have for us parents is what is our role in this scenario? If your kid wants to look exactly like everyone else should you let him? Boys don’t seem to care as much about clothes — although I have heard rumblings about crew socks and Timberland boots being de rigueur this season so I could be wrong. But even if it isn’t about clothes the boys still care about how they are perceived.
So, what would you do?
If your daughter wants to spend her money on those Ugg boots that she has to have because everyone else is wearing them, do you let her? Do you let your kids emulate the crowd or do you steer them toward something else at the risk of making them seem “different”? Do you stay silent or do you chime in about embracing their differences and finding their own style?
We could use your wisdom. Please share it here.