Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fashion High School

Les Conformistes
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that "the virtue in most request is conformity." I could not agree more. As a student, I witness this sort of behaviour, this lust for conformity and quest for belonging at the cost of one's individuality on a regular basis. Is there conformity in high school? Duh. To see this, you need not consider more than high school fashions.

Whether through first-hand experience or courtesy of the media, we have all seen this stale story. We're all familiar with the different cliques and circles dressed almost identically, yet with wide smiles across their faces. We have the Preps, in their Abercrombie couture strutting around like they own the place; the hipsters decked out in "unrecognizable" American Apparel gear and ironic T-shirts; the Scene kids with their heavily lined eyes, bright accessories, piercings, and black shirts, broadcasting to the world which bands are on their iPods.

As much as people try to dismiss the existence of these groups and others, we all know that they exist. Most have of us have probably even tried to fit into one or two groups ourselves. I've just never been one of them. Strange, huh? I've never been able to give myself over to these different groups when it came to fashion. I just could never fully understand why anyone would want to dress just like someone else on purpose! I live in constant fear of the days when I'll show up wearing the same outfit as someone else (this actually happened to me twice this school year. Once with a purple TNA hoodie that I absolutely adored, and again with a striped American Eagle sweatshirt that I received for Christmas. I've since gotten rid of both of them. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Believe me. I'm working on it.

A Message To You!

For all of the young conformists out there, I have a message. Your conformity disgusts me. All of you, who go out of your way to look just like anyone else, be they your friends, celebrities, or the stars of today's newest TV cult, make my eyes roll and my fists clench. I cannot stand your blatant displays of dependence and insecurity or your desperate desire to belong, or fit it, or be accepted, or whatever it is that you're trying to accomplish.

Believe it or not, there is still something to be said for being yourself and being unique. I know, you're going to tell me that the way you dress is your "own style". That's rubbish, and you know it. Is it then a coincidence that the majority of your friends dress the same way that you do? Do you all just happen to have the same individual style? Rhetorical question. We all know the answer.

There's a place and a time...

Yes, conformity has it's place. I agree that there are some parts of the body that we should all do our best to keep covered, or certain offensive messages that seem funny when you're getting stoned in your buddy's basement that should be kept off of t-shirts. I'm all for conformity is that regard! But that does not mean that we need to conform so utterly and completely. Especially as young people! By the time that we're thirty, most of us will have way less freedom to choose what we wear to work that we have now, as students. So why are we wasting our youths by limiting our creativity to "what everyone else is wearing?" Save the shackles for adulthood, when many of you will have lost your desire to be daring!

Think about it!

Most importantly, conformity often requires that people compromise who they are in order to fit an ideal. Rita Mae Brown once said that "The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself." Is that a price that you're willing to pay?

To all of you who are yourselves and do not dress in accordance with anyone else intentionally, I commend you. Teach your misguided brethren the art of individuality. If that fails, rant publicly about their lack of uniqueness. Loudly.

So there. These are my views on fashion conformity in schools. If you disagree, that's very unfortunate.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it clean.