Mean Girl Plastics Can Melt, Too
A look at the harm of labelling people, whether it’s the Plastics or the Emily Stranges that are your worst foe.
Smell the lamb, my friend… Ruby Mae looks at the powerful connotations of labelling, whether it’s the Plastics or the Emily Stranges that are your worst foe. Don’t be afraid to be labelled as a misfit – most people are. But do have the balls to compliment that Plastic on her shoes…
Picture the scene. You and about 500 of your nearest and dearest mates are crowded around your favourite table in the pub/student bar/lunch hall when a group of Paris Hilton lookalikes wander by dragging their pet “jocks” with them. You give your friends that knowing look as they sit down to powder their plastic noses. What a bunch of sheep! Honestly! Look at them… all dressed in the same fake designer gear sitting at the same table as always and sneering at all those who don’t fit into their crowd who pass by.
Know it well, eh? Before you start to think that I have it pinned down, take a minute and look around your table. Notice the amount of King kerosin/Cyberdog/Harajuku labels showing? Notice the rainbow of hair colours? The names of bands on your tops and bags? Also, have you noticed that you sit at the same table every day and the first thing you did when the Barbie patrol wandered in was to judge them on how they looked? Oh my! What is that sound? Sounds like “baa…”
It’s amazing isn’t it? Everyone wants to rebel against the “system” today. Be it Emo, Goth, Guy in a bear suit, you are making a strong political statement about your place in society and your uniqueness. Baa! Before you pass that judgement over to those you see as plastic, think for a moment about what it is you hate about them. They wear the same labels, judge those different from themselves, have their own little social groups. Well last time I checked, you were doing the same. I bet you have a wardrobe full of Death kitty, King Kerosin, Lucky 13, and oh yes, Emily Strange. No? What about Lover’s house? Cyberdog? Heidi Seeker? Gotcha! Also, I am pretty sure that Emo, Goth, Grunge, Kawaii, Rockabilly, Electro, Raver, and Hippy are social labels too. When was the last time you owned up to your rocker friends that you actually like Westlife?
I do know that of which I speak. I went through it in my teens. I started off Grunge, then Goth, Rocker, Hippy, Rocker again, then a bit Folk, strangely. It was only when I got to university and saw it for myself I released how woolly I was. All the tables had different communities on. The Goths outstared the Rugby players. The Ravers looked at the hippies with contempt. I thought “Sod this” and came out of the closet as a Chas and Dave fan. At 22, I know better that to be ruled by i-Pod selections.
I know labels are sometimes unavoidable. I admit to having Rockabilly tendencies with a big dollop of Electro and lashings of Kitsch. But I own up to it as well, knowing that I am cool the way I am. Having Abba and Marilyn Manson in the same CD isn’t a crime. The trick is to stop lying to yourself, admit you are part of the system whether you like it or not, and stopping kidding yourself that this makes you 100% unique. No one is. Not unless you go for true rebellion and do crazy things like wearing a coat made of crisp packets (and that gets you locked up into a whole different system).
The things that make us different is acknowledging our true selves, saying “I like this style, but I also like this too” and telling your judgemental peers to stuff it. Now go and tell Paris girl you actually like her shoes. If she hasn’t got the balls to stop judging people, then maybe you can show her how it’s done.
Oh, and how did I know about the shoes? Lucky guess.