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The Teen Scene: School Domination, Where Fashion Meets Attitude and Academics

October 8, 2010

Today’s teen ideal of fashion purely surrounds who looks and who is the hottest.  Who’s the sexiest is a little extreme to me, I mean, what the hell do teenagers know about who’s sexy?  Seriously!  I thought George Michael was sexy when I was a teenager.  I thought leg warmers and head bands, and white sun glasses were sexy when I was a teenager.  Look at how times have changed.  We’ve gone from the 80’s teen scene which was a little more moderate and preserved, but teenagers then maintained and held a unique fashion sense.  Today it’s all about who wears the tightest jeans and the lowest cut tops; micro mini skirts and bright colored hair.  The guys, it’s all about the hair, the cool clothes, the pierced ear, how much moose he uses, and the best hair cut — the level of finesse he carries in trying to impress the ladies — where brains meets coolness. 

Going to school is no longer just about getting a solid education to create building blocks to establishing a successful career.  No, it’s about fashion domination…what attracks and what doesn’t…who’s in and who’s out…who dresses the best and who should just leave it in the closet.  The girls are sporting 4-inch high heels to school, skinny jeans that practically cut off their circulation, and tops where their cleavage is lower and more popping than my own — and I’m 43!

A girl dating the hottest guy in school has to be deemed as probably one of the prettiest girls in school.  She’s got the looks, the fashion, the accessories, the style, and oh, yeah, the guy!  She is the envy of every other girl around with views met with both negative and positive feedback.  Grades don’t really make much difference only because it’s about how looks are viewed. 

A girl who carries herself in a negative image based on how she dresses and how she acts is bound to be viewed wrongfully.  It may be taken totally out of context, but then again, who knows.  The point we’re missing is you can still dress like a normal teenager and still be viewed as one of the hottest (and likeable) person in school.  It doesn’t have to be entirely about fashion, sex, and school domination.

As a parent of a teenage girl, what disturbs me the most about teen girls particularly is that they are missing the point of what their obligations are in terms of learning responsibility, establishing the right level of independence, and practicing abstinence the right way.  Looking sexy shouldn’t coincide with how smart they are, nor should it be a right of passage to adult hood.  And girls being so worried about which boy likes them, and what girl is in their way of getting that guy blocks their focus and ultimately will affect their grades.

The fashion domination is taking over the world in who can look and be the hottest in school has to be at an all time high, especially in how teenagers are commercialized and misrepresented in social networks, television, and entertainment.  The importance to keep up with the today’s trends is expensive.  And to the families who just cannot afford to buy the best this or the best that, their teenagers are viewed differently sometimes.  Teenagers can tend to be cruel and heartless if not properly taught not to mistreat those who have less.

Believe me when I say that the money that gets spent on clothing alone for girls is astronomical — in some cases it can be higher than it is for boys, and I have never understood why.  What kills me is at the end of the month (if not the end of the week) after you’ve spent your entire paycheck on school clothes you’re likely to hear “I need a new pair of jeans” or “I need a new pair of shoes.”  I know, been there, done that!  My 15-year old (soon to be 16) daughter has done this to me on occasions after having gone shopping for clothes, getting over $300 spent on her over a 2-month period — and this includes shoes and trips to the hair salon, too.  So, yea, I know.

Today’s teenagers are a different species and this is contributed to what they are exposed to than what teenagers were exposed to back in the day.  Television fuels attitudes and ways of thinking.  Some of the music they listen to sends the wrong messages, and many of the social networks that they are associated with can create unsettling emotions.  Some of the girls just got it twisted, and some of these boys have one agenda.  Combining them with looks, attitudes, what one will and will not do creates tension.  And the parents?  Well, as parents we are working well over time to keep their heads in the right place when academics are in the middle and are a key factor in going to college and starting their own life.  But it’s difficult to a degree when your teenager is so concerned about appearance that nothing else matters.  When not having a boyfriend or girlfriend can wreak havoc on emotions that grades fall to the wayside.

As we reach a new error, appearance is everything.  Pants are getting tighter, tops are getting lower, skirts are getting higher, shoes worn to school are becoming more dramatic, and the attitudes are continuing to shift gears.

Don’t be surprised if your 13-year old daughter says, “Hey, mom I want a nipple piercing.”  Don’t faint when your 14-year old son comes home and shows you a tattoo of something.  Don’t start taking Prozac when you find that your daughter suddenly went from the smartest and brightest student dressing decently to goth.  It’s supposed to be a phase that many teenagers go through, experiencing at one time or another.  I wont even get on the subject of teen pregnancy because that’s when all hell breaks loose.  Fashion changes altogether at that point.

Fashion in school is looked at as one big case of self-expression.  To deny them of that right to find their own style, to express themselves — well — let’s face it, you’re creating a monster.  What you don’t let them wear at home, understand some of them are sneaking it to school or buying it on the down low, leaving it in their locker, and wearing it anyway.  We have the right to give them enough rope to hang themselves when freedom of self-expression becomes the highlight of their life, at the same time, we should let them experiment with fashion with scrutiny.  After all, we are still their parents and clothes does affect how one acts that’s why it’s up to us parents to shape those attitudes early on and instill in them what is and what is not tolerated, and what is and what is not appropriate, and what’s important.

To all the parents who took time to read this post, we are all living in a fashion domination existence, where fashion meets attitudes and academics.  They are like mud and sugar, they often don’t mix, but yet it is our job to add the glue and tape to make it stick providing their focus remains on their academics.  We have to cope and co-exist with our ever-changing teenagers, be their biggest fans and let them know we’re in their corner no matter what.  It won’t be as hard for them when change becomes the biggest factor in their life.

My hat goes off to all the parents who are pulling double duty to keep your teenagers in check.  We can’t shelter them from the world out there and we can’t protect them all the time, and we can’t make them yield to a better way of living.  We can only do our best, love them with everything we’ve got, discipline them when it’s necessary, and let them be themselves.

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