Daily Prompt: New Sensation
From “A Hard Day’s Night” with The Beatles, 1964
Reporter: Are you a mod or a rocker? Ringo: Um, no. I’m a mocker.
I’m all over that! Jump on that bandwagon! Gotta get me some of that! I LOVE your hair, where do you go?
Fads, trends, we all subscribe or fall victim, as the case may be, to some form of them at some point in our life.
Fashion fads are easy for people around us to attack, they’re right there for anyone to see and judge. Does anyone else feel the irony of the blatant disregard for the golden rule of “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? We all of us do just that every day though, don’t we? I’m often tempted, when a stranger offers their opinion on my appearance to ask, “Are you this rude and judgemental with every stranger you meet or am I a special case?”
Trends serve a useful purpose. Yes. Yes, they do. In our teen years, in particular, when we are striving to find a place for ourselves outside the safe boundaries of family and close community. Being part of an identifiable group – usually identifiable by the clothes they wear – is a safe way to push those boundaries a little, while still feeling as part of a whole.
I’ve always believed that it’s important to respect the choices about appearance that others make. We don’t judge a person’s intellect, ambition or dependability based upon their choice of vehicle. Why do that based upon their outward appearance? This is not to say that certain professions and industries should not be allowed to establish their own dress codes. I don’t expect the world to bend for me. I do expect to not be marginalized or disrespected because I wear my hair differently than the majority.
The world can’t spend so much time nurturing and developing individuality in its children, only to quash it at the moment that our kid comes home with a blue Mohawk. Talk about a mixed message! See reference to “the golden rule” above. What is the worst that can happen? Your son has his nosed pierced at his high school graduation? If that’s the focus, you’ve missed the point. Your child is graduating! As a parent, I drew the line for certain types of fashion and adornment. I explained my position and was open to discussion and debate, as it came up. For the most part, this was respected and worked very well.
My own trend following actually is part of who I am. Like my taste in music, it hasn’t altered much over the years. I grew and matured, have held highly professional jobs. At the same time, I was able to preserve the uniqueness – fad, if you will – of me. I’ve grown to call this “playing the game” and it helps me to maintain a definition of myself that I like and yet to fit in amongst folk who are inclined to forget that they too, have and do follow fads. I don’t see anyone still wearing culottes or fedoras and so…
The most denigrated fads and trends these days are still tattooing and piercing. It should be pointed out that tattooing, with its lengthy history among many cultures and eras, can hardly be called a fad. In the Twenties, many (many) respectable women were having tattoos done. Like other “Power Periods” for women, the Forties, the Eighties; fashion extremes reflected a power shift. The Twenties is the time where colourful nail polish was born. There are countless examples of how fashion, body adornment, music, even makeup styles have been created and recreated. You’ve seen the eyebrows of the mid-two thousands, right?
The real question posed by today’s prompt was what trends did you follow? I grew up in a very fluid time for these things and as an adult, I embrace many still. If you ask me the name of my social tribe, I am a “Punk Rocker”. The grandmother of Romantic, Goth, Emo, et al. I’m pretty sure that my high top Cons and Ramones tee shirts were a little disconcerting to the rest of the PTA but I “played the game”. I no longer sport all the outward accoutrements but much of it, like the music is still very much a part of who I am.
Fad? Don’t think so. We’re going on thirty years with this particular style. We gather likeminded people, there are no “Posers”. Am I a poser because I like my Dad’s Led Zeppelin or my Mum’s Queen? Not even a little bit. Fads are pokemon cards and crazy bones. Style; whatever that may be for you, is simply a nod to one small piece of many that can connect us to each other.
20 February 2014 (Oops! I wrote an essay)