Monday, June 13, 2005

“From The Teenagers’ Point Of View”

This is a very controversial post. Feel free to flame me mercilessly.

I must be the only person left in the blogosphere by now that have not covered the Gunderson family and their Pure Fashion movement (I found the link on Arethusa’s site).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for modesty. My personal favorite way of dressing is hippie-style – long shirts, long sleeves, this kind of stuff. And I, too, have at times found it difficult to find clothing that wasn’t showing my belly button or too much cleavage – but it is entirely possible. My concern is of a different kind. Let me tell you a story from my own teen years.

When I was 16, our school’s principal called me into her office once, and asked how I would like to write an article for our local newspaper. I had always dreamed of journalism, so, of course, said yes. She then proceeded to pretty much dictate me the article – which issues it should cover, and what it should say on each of the issues. My job was to word it nicely and to put my name on it, but, in essence, it was nothing but a list of our principal’s personal opinions. She told me to title the article “From The Teenagers’ Point Of View”.

I got paid for that thing. What a sellout.

Which brings me to Ella Gunderson and her letter, that has been getting a lot of publicity lately. Unfortunately, while the articles are ecstatic, on every forum and every blog that I go to I see young guys that don’t know any better mercilessly ripping on poor Ella’s looks. This makes me sad. I used to look exactly like her when I was a teen, only my hair wasn’t red. Other than that, we could be identical twins. Puberty can be very hard on kids. Luckily, I grew out of that.

It’s almost like little Ella has set herself up for a certain amount of ridicule when she wrote that letter. Personally, I wouldn’t mind setting myself up for any amount of ridicule, flame and judgement if I were to speak my mind on an issue I feel strongly about. I’m prepared to take that risk.

Problem is, I do not remember feeling strongly about any issue at all when I was eleven. I was still in a state of confusion, trying to figure things out. My 12yo son is a very bright kid for his age, but he does not by any means have a strong opinion on any issue at all. He is still poking and probing and trying to figure things out for himself. Strong opinions come with age, and they come from extensive personal experience. Then how come Ella Gunderson is the only kid known to humanity to have a strong personal opinion of her own at 11, and that opinion is about, of all things, fashion? You see what I’m getting at?

I suspect that the adults dictated that letter.

Whether I agree with the letter or not is irrelevant. If an adult or a group of adults really did use a kid as their mouthpiece, I’m not liking it. It’s not right. Especially since it caused immature guys all over the world to make fun of the poor kid.

The letter is printed here.

What do you think? Is it an 11yo girl speaking her mind or is it a group of adults speaking “from the teenagers’ point of view”?

The Goldie has spoken at 6:10 PM

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