An interesting epidemic of ignorance and prejudice seems to be blinding people in this area (New England) lately. My sister and her friends, who are only 2 years my junior, are all free spirits who mind their own business, adopt their own styles, and just want to be open and friendly to the people that they encounter. What is unfortunate is that adults, mainly local shop managers, have been profiling teenagers and stereotyping against them for their ages, the way they dress, and even their sexual orientations. There have now been several incidents at the Rockingham Park Mall in Salem, NH (at stores such as Icing and Claire's) where teenagers have been wrongfully accused of stealing, publicly embarrassed by false accusations, and then sent on their way without an apology. Store managers are attempting to keep their shrink from increasing, but while they are wasting their attention by focusing on people who are "different" in appearance, people who may appear perfectly "ordinary" are pocketing items while the innocent are being humiliated.
It is disgusting to me that these teens, who go to the mall as paying customers, are doing nothing more than being themselves and that seems to be cause enough for managers to toss them out of their stores. What is most disturbing is that a good number of incidents have involved gay or lesbian individuals, which makes me question if there is an agenda to these stores' accusations. Other individuals have also been subject to prejudice for dressing like "punks", "hippies", "scene kids", etc. It is not a crime to dress in a certain style, and it certainly is not a crime to love whomever one chooses to love.
The individuals that I know who have experienced incidents are some of the most down-to-earth, open hearted, fun loving, and free spirited people that I have ever encountered. My sister and her friends have been asked to empty their bags in front of dozens of spectators, told that they were not allowed in stores because they were "suspected" to have stolen in the past (even though the stores had no surveillance and no names recorded for theft), and publicly harassed. Mall security and store employees had different stories that did not match. They couldn't even say for certain who was involved in any of the accused incidents because they kept no records. They had only their words, and even those did not match up as they changed their stories repeatedly when I confronted them and found holes in their explanations. Since they have no names or photos, they go only by memory, which is not much of a system since it is fairly simple to find a dozen or so people who look very much alike and could be the culprits. My sister and friends have had fools made of them, and it is about time that someone made fools out of Icing, Claire's, mall security, and any others who may be a part of this ridiculous excuse for discrimination.
Someone needs to speak out against this new and ever-growing form of discrimination, and I hope that this blog will open people's eyes to this situation.
This inspired me to curate a set of items that encourage what America is SUPPOSED to be about: Freedom.
1. Peace Sign Messenger Bag
"Give peace a chance" as Lennon would say. Peace can only happen if we let it. This bag from Rainbow Swirlz spreads the word in a chic and practical way.
2. Stand Up Against H8
This shirt from fiftyseven-thirtythree apparel states "love ain't the problem". It's closed-mindedness that we need to watch out for. You can stand up to hate by wearing your thoughts on your tee.
3. Free Spirit Necklace
This immediately reminded me of my little sister when I saw it. It's sweet and unique, just like her, and the butterfly is open and free, which is everything that she stands for. She and others like her will love this pretty piece by Carol Love.
4. Winter Painting
This painting is beautiful and intricate, and though it is a stand-out piece, it is able to find a home in any room, making a statement that is simple and effortless. I would love to own this painting, because it seems to have the ability to transform an entire setting without looking like the home's inhabitant is "trying too hard" to be stylish and impressive. A piece of work that celebrates all that is beautiful shows us that a costume or way of dress may make up one's surface, but it is the mystery behind the mask that is most intriguing. Bravo to Jessica Ostrander for this breath-taking work.
5. Diversity Badges
What better way to celebrate diversity than a set of cute badges that you can pin to just about anything? Pick them up from Decaying Industries.
6. Marilyn Monroe Pendant
Marilyn is known as the ultimate sex symbol, but she was also a woman with brains. She was pigeonholed because of her looks, but there was a great deal more to her than a wonderful body and a sexy bleach-blond do. A woman who reveled in reading James Joyce's "Ulysses" deserves credit for more than her status as America's most intriguing sexual icon. You can take a peak at the pendant at Barker's Herbs and Heirlooms.
For whatever reason, many people still seem to find gauges strange and taboo, even though many cultures have embraced and encouraged this form of body modification for generations. These 6g tapers are a beautifully rich color and are offered by The Sage Arts.
James Dean also celebrates people of all shapes, sizes, colors, races, sexes, orientations, cultures, religions, styles, etc.
(hat available at http://jessicalynneart.etsy.com)
Have a lovely weekend and remember to show a little compassion to everyone, and think twice before passing judgment. People just may surprise you...
x's and o's