Every once in a while, a story comes along that makes us think, “Do we have a tag for ‘Duh’ yet? Because we need one.” This is one of those stories. According to the Guardian, a new poll has found that kids are ostracized for not wearing trendy clothing brands.
Oh wow, remember the old days when your placement in the social strata was determined by what you wore the first day of school? The “in” labels always varied depending on how old you were and where you grew up. Maybe for you it was Air Jordans and Jordache? For us, it was Guess jeans and Coach purses, and for guys, shirts by Tommy Hilfiger and Structure (remember them?). Every middle and high school had Those Brands that you just had to have or you’d risk being labeled a total tool, and apparently some things never change. Reports the Guardian:
Children who cannot afford the latest brands and fashions face bullying or exclusion by their peers, teachers warned yesterday. A desire to fit in plays a huge role in the products children want to own, a poll by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) found. Almost half of the teachers questioned said young people who cannot afford the fashionable items owned by their friends have been excluded, isolated or bullied as a result.
(Who are these “friends”? Do they, by any chance, grow up to work at Condé Nast?)
The poll found 93 percent of teachers saying brands are the top influence on what children buy. The influence of advertising and marketing is much more significant now, with more than 70 percent of teachers saying it has increased from ten years ago. Dr. Mary Bousted, ATL general secretary said: “Bullying of this kind can be quite insidious: it can just be a look that a child is given. Children feel under immense pressure to look right and having the key brands is part of that.”
These types of polls are always cited in arguments in favor of school uniforms. But if you ask us, some kids are just cruel little jerks by nature. If you have uniforms, they’ll just find something else to make fun of — like your face — so maybe it’s better to let them take their aggression out on clothes and then they’ll leave the rest of you alone. Sort of like giving your puppy a chew toy so he won’t gnaw as much on the things that really matter. —Noelle Hancock