Friday, January 11, 2008

Fashion Labels Kids As Losers

For many years we have been accustomed to seeing tee shirts with all sorts of slogans and statements emblazoned upon them. Some of them are funny, some of them are clever, some of them are offensive and some of them are nothing more than advertising. Tee shirt statements can be political or social comment, and they can be provocative. And most of the time that’s OK.

But now concerns have been raised about a line of clothing aimed at kids as young as eight which has the endearing name “Little Losers”. Obviously it’s meant to be funny, but is it really funny when an eight or ten year old girl is out in public wearing a shirt that proclaims her to be “Miss Bitch” or “Miss Floozey”? Or how about a young boy with a shirt identifying him as “Mr. Asshole” or “Mr. Well Hung”?

Shocking, anti-social, rebellious statements are a part of growing up, but legitimate expressions of such thoughts usually come from teenagers, not eight year olds. And they are usually not thrust upon them by commercially driven adults who have no interest in the personal or social development of these children.

For generations, child development experts have advised us of the damaging effects of “labeling” children by calling them derogatory names and abusing them for perceived failures. Now we have a clothing company that wants us to literally label our kids as “Bitches” and “Assholes”. Now what does that do for the self-image of growing children? And what does it say about parents who allow it?

It’s a free country, with free expression, but with freedom comes responsibility. If we can’t be responsible in the way we bring up our children it’s no wonder we have teenagers who throw rocks and bottles at buses and cars and think it’s funny.

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