Dear Daughter and I have talked a bit about clothes and fashion. There’s a rule in my house that you can buy anything you want from the mall, when you are out with your friends or whatever, but you have to keep the receipt because I reserve the right to say, “Take it back.” For the most part things have been good, but I have said “no” to one pair of shorts.
The problem is that there are less and less options available that I would agree to. So… Why?
The whole answer is long and complicated, but the issue I want people to think about is an issue called the ‘Social Mirror’. The social mirror is when you look at other people and you see them projecting back to you, the same image that you yourself are trying so hard to show off. The social mirror is when you see young people in the media acting rather flippant about sexuality and having hook ups and one night stands and showing up the next day as if nothing happened or like it was the best and most refreshing thing that could have happened. So real young people act out the same behavior and feel hollow and rotten and worthless… but that’s not what it looked like on Netflix, so take a deep breath, put on a sincere smile and say the lines that you’ve been watching… So you project the image, and if the image that you are projecting is not what you are feeling for real inside then you are just being part of the mirror.
But, people want to see the fantasy of what we dream life is supposed to be like for everyone else, so we watch movies that show relationships that way, and so the media makes movies and tv shows and commercials and print ads and so on to satisfy what we all pay money to watch.
So with the media reacting to what we ask for, what about the retail stores in the mall? What retail buyer wants to fill their stores with clothes that don’t look the same as the sexualized teens in the media? What retail buyer wants to stock their store with conservative clothes that say, “I’m just a kid”? So in the end we have 8 year old kids wearing Daisy Dukes and padded push-up bras, and you have to wonder if there isn’t maybe something really broken with what we are doing.