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She comes in colors everywhere... she's like a rainbow....

 
 
Reply Sun 16 Apr, 2006 05:35 pm
I'm putting this in the teaching category because it seems to deal with education....

The young lady who is my neighbor is a wondorous animal, I do so love her. She has a style that is all her own and it is different from most young women's styles.

Said young lady, let's call her Beauty, attends a prestigious private school though she is not a child of priveledge. Her father died and her education is paid for by his social security benefits - her mother and step-father feel that the money is hers so they spend it on her exclusively.

Beauty is going to Paris for spring break along with her class. She was pulled aside and told that her sense of style was perhaps a bit..... obscure?... and it was suggested that she pack only jeans and T-shirts, along with one "real" dress up item for the trip.

Her mom divulged all of this today after I commented on how I so loved her unobvious daughter; after I commented on how I hope Mo can keep such a sense of self despite the dangers of being so individual.

Beauty begins high school next year and she will be attending public school once again. I/We know that they will stuff her into a "click" once she gets there and I can't help but feel sad over a certain kind of death for Beauty.

I will miss Beauty.

I guess my question is...

How do you start to fit in and how do you retain your own sense of you?
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littlek
 
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Reply Sun 16 Apr, 2006 05:51 pm
I think that even if she loses her beautiful style in high school, that she'll regain it when she's done.
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msolga
 
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Reply Sun 16 Apr, 2006 06:38 pm
Interesting thread, boomerang. And a shame that Beauty was expected to alter her natural, lively style to conform with her school's expectations. (We wouldn't want them to be embarrassed in Paris <gasp) would we? Laughing ) When I hear stories like this I always think: "Thank god for art education in our schools!" Art programs often provide a little bit of sanctioned subversion & a tolerance for difference in even the most conformist school. I suspect Beauty could find an appreciative outlet for her creative talents there. But I don't believe you can really change peoples' natures, despite the best efforts of the arbiters of "good taste", so I tend to agree with k.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Sun 16 Apr, 2006 07:34 pm
Hi girls!

I really hope that they can't change Beauty's nature because she really is an amazing kid.

The wierd thing is is that the school she goes to has always seemed to embrace her otherness.

The school is for grades 6-8 only and it only has about 70 students so there is a lot of room for otherness. Although most of the kids that go there are wealthy they have always seemed to foster an attitude of independence.

Maybe that is why this bothers me so much. I just can't imagine this school saying "your clothes are too wacky" for our trip to Paris. And I really can't imagine Beauty deciding to be other than Beauty for the duration.

B.b.b.b.b....but.....

I remember talking to my gorgeous purple haired, multi-pierced, be-tattooed niece about why her mom was a bit upset about her "look".

There is a really fine line between what you feel and what you need.

If that makes any sense at all.
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Linkat
 
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Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 07:06 am
I think it depends on the child. I am in sort of agreement with msolga. If this girl has a style all her own and is strong - I think she will always keep her own style. They may have her "alter" herself on the outside, but you cannot change what is inside. I also don't think it is necessarily "bad" to ask some one in certain circumstances to dress a certain appropriate way. In "real life" you may have to tone down your dressing for certain reasons. As long as it is explained appropriately and handled in the correct way and this girl is allowed to express her dress in other situations and in other ways it may actually teach her something about the world around her.

In this line of thinking - one thing that did bother me a bit once was a comment my daughter's teacher made about a picture my daughter colored. She colored some one's skin purple. The teacher made a comment "purple skin?" I just thought my daughter is thinking outside the box and colored what she felt. I suppose the teacher just wanted to make sure she understood certain basics like appropriate skin tones or something. But I thought it odd - art should be a form of expression (however this picture was not for art class).
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DrewDad
 
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Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 07:16 am
There is a certain practicality in knowing when one should blend in and be part of the herd.
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Linkat
 
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Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 07:29 am
It also could "teach" her about respecting another culture. For example, imagine going to a Muslim country and wearing a bikini. I think as long as it is explained to her correctly, it can be beneficial as opposed to holding back her creative side.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 08:04 am
I think it would make sense if she dressed provocatively but nothing could be further from the truth. She's way more flower power than anything else: hippy skirts and tie dye with mixed up patterns worn together.

And we aren't talking about some little town but Paris, where I imagine one would see all sorts of different styles.

I can understand having a dress code for such a trip but it still seems so strange that her attire would cause such concern.
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eoe
 
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Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 08:23 am
That was my first thought. Going to Paris, of all places, should afford this young girl the opportunity to express herself freely from a fashion aspect.

It seems you are implying that it is, perhaps, her mother who has a problem with this child's style of dress and she may have made the school a scapegoat in her desire to squelch her daughter's individual style.

In other words, she's lying through her teeth???

I'd personally rather see a young lady in flowing skirts than ripped and faded jeans. And a whole gaggle of them? How boring.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 08:29 am
No no no. Beauty's mom has her own rather unusual sense of style. I don't think she has any sort of problem with Beauty's style at all.
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Linkat
 
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Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 08:30 am
I once went to Italy with a friend of mine. We were in Rome - she was dressed in ripped jeans and a concert T-shirt. I was dressed in a casual jean skirt and a nice knitted no sleeve shirt. We are very different, but best friends nevertheless. We were going to see the Sistine Chapel. Upon going in, a nun stopped me - pointed at my bare shoulders and shook her head no. I put on the jean jacket and I could then enter.

I agree you would think that Paris would be fine to wear such outfits, but for whatever reason the school or her mom decided it wasn't appropriate. Who would have thought that ripped jeans and a concert T-shirt would be appropriate whereas my neater more conservative outfit would not. Whatever the situation sometimes you need to conform or not get something you want. I wanted to see the Sistine Chapel so I put a jacket on. She wants to visit Paris and no matter how inane the request is - if she wants to do this - she has to comply.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 08:39 am
It's not a grudge match but a "Huh. Well okay." kind of thing. Like most teenage girls she has a closet full of jeans and t-shirts. (Although she will typically put a hippy dress over even that ensemble.)

Nobody is tantruming about it.

It just seems strange to me. Anyone who knows her will admit that she dress a bit wacky but it is so very much "her".
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CalamityJane
 
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Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 09:00 am
boomerang wrote:
No no no. Beauty's mom has her own rather unusual sense of style. I don't think she has any sort of problem with Beauty's style at all.


Hm, but shouldn't the mother then insist that her daughter's individual
style won't interfere with Paris? I would tell the teacher/school that
my daugther is wearing the clothes she feels most comfortable with
and we won't change this.

In fact, I did this once, when a teacher noted my daughter should
have a larger backpack (I had bought a cute one in Europe) and I
declined. She insisted and I declined again. End of story.
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Vivien
 
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Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 09:04 am
it sounds like the school who are 'keeping up appearances' and being rather silly. Groups of children from abroad always stand out as 'different' from the locals anyway!

It seems a shame but is perhaps a lesson in the fact that sometimes we have to conform a little and the best solution is to find an angle on what is acceptable but still 'you' and dress as you want away from school/whatever.

The Jesuits used to say 'give me a boy till he's 7 and I'll give you the man' - so her sense of style should be preserved Very Happy
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sozobe
 
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Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 09:13 am
Nothing labels you "American tourist" in Paris quicker than jeans and a t-shirt.

A long flowing hippie skirt and tie-die would fit in a whole lot better, especially in this particular fashion moment.

(I took unseemly pride in the fact that when I traveled in Europe, nobody thought I was an American. Parisians thought I was Spanish, Germans thought I was French, etc.)

It does seem like if it's at all important to her, it's fight-able.

I was lucky in that I got a lot of positive reinforcement for my own unique style throughout. My family had very little money and my clothes budget was miniscule -- I didn't have a "real" pair of jeans until I was 20 or something (and that was through the uber-designer-jeans years) (though that seems to be coming back). I did the long flowing skirt thing too, and ventured into punk, and a lot of vintage/ thrift shop stuff. I rarely bought anything that cost more than $5. But I was still first runner-up in the "best dressed" contest in my (ENORMOUS -- 8,000? students) high school. (The gal who won DID wear the designer jeans and all the rest of it, but still...)

Hope Beauty keeps that throughout; if I found it 20 years ago, it's possible.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 09:30 am
I don't think there is any kind of fight brewing or needed. Beauty just seems to think the whole thing is stupid.

Her mom thinks she is old enough to make her own decisions regarding the issue.

But now this question has morphed into something that is really puzzling me...

Are your kids or your clothes really something you would fight the school over?

I've had jobs where I had to dress a certain way and I never really felt it was anything worth fighting about.

Admittedly, I am really not at all into clothes.
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CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 09:37 am
My daughter wears a uniform to school, nonetheless,
I saw no need to change the backpack and if a teacher
insists (without valid reason), I won't comply. I don't
fight.
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CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 09:37 am
My daughter wears a uniform to school, nonetheless,
I saw no need to change the backpack and if a teacher
insists (without valid reason), I won't comply. I don't
fight.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 09:47 am
Totally depends on the situation, but I can situations where I'd fight, yeah.

"Fight" might be too strong a word for this situation -- just, if it's important to her (if), something like, "I don't see a good reason to bring only jeans and t-shirts so I'll be bringing some of my more regular clothes too. Meanwhile [moving on to some other subject]."
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2006 09:57 am
If the school doesn't let Yaya wear a mullet, then they're in for a world of hurt!
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