We've had our friend GG (who is almost 17) with us for the two weeks of her Easter vacation from boarding school. In an effort to entertain the poor kid beyond our usual daily routine of farm chores, schoolwork, reading, housecleaning, etc., we've taken a few excursions into the city just for jollies.
If you think an extended stay on a farm is boring, just try finding something to do in a city that doesn't require large outlays of cash. We've actually wandered through two malls just for slips and giggles, and all four of us (myself, Older and Younger Daughter, and GG) find ourselves agog at the awfulness of them. Rather than energized and refreshed, we come away foot-sore and critical -- even GG, who is a self-described confirmed urbanite.
One moment was pretty funny. We walked into a mall and stopped at the Mall Directory to get our bearings. "We have to go THIS way," said Older Daughter. "Or is it THAT way?" I replied. We got our bearings and started walking, after which I said to Younger Daughter, "That's it. This confirms us as a bunch of country bumpkins."
As usual, our biggest chuckles came from shoe fashions. I confess, current trendy women's shoe fashions just floor me. I mean, really... why would anyone wear these? And how do they do it? It's like walking around on tippy-toe all day. Ouch.
The girls decided they had to try on a pair. So while GG was occupied in looking for a pair of sensible flats (which was the reason we were in this shoe store to begin with), Older and Younger Daughter each slipped on a pair of heels. Then balancing carefully and pulling themselves upright with the help of the shelving units, they paused long enough for me to take a picture before collapsing back on the bench. Phew, what an ordeal!
(Momentary digression: On the other hand, these shoe fashions are certainly no weirder than what's gracing fashion catwalks these days, such as: Bricks on the feet...
...and an urban interpretation of the Wild West. The caption reads: "Suffer for your art: The heels can only be worn for several hours at a time before becoming too uncomfortable."
Okay, end of digression.)
We paused by a store selling "nail art" and agreed the results liked like pretty and decorative vampire claws or something. We also speculated on what it would be like to milk a cow with these things on. Poor cow.
I took special note of a store targeted specifically at little girls...
...because of how outrageously fluorescent this year's fashions appear to be. No sneaking through the woods watching deer in these colors!
The, um, "messages" displayed in shop windows are questionable at best. (And this doesn't even include the Victoria's Secret windows, which we passed in a hurry with eyes averted).
(Oddly the most interesting store we encountered -- and I'm kicking myself for not taking photos -- was a store selling... reptiles. Yes, really. It was a large place with many display cases selling everything from chameleons to pythons to turtles to tarantulas (yes I'm aware tarantulas are not reptiles, duh) to anoles to iguanas. It was like wandering into a small zoo. The display cases were beautiful and everything was nicely maintained, squeaky clean, and fascinating. Why on earth a store like this was located in a mall, and what volume of business they must get, can only be surmised.)
The rare trips to these cultural icons confirmed my low opinion of malls. To me, they're the epitome of an "American Idol culture," full of shallow and vain interests. Once in awhile this country bumpkin mama needs confirmation that raising kids in the country isn't such a bad thing.
Malls also reinforced the stupidity of fashion trends in general. In the past, readers have sent me stuff that would make your eyeballs bleed.
Consider these: Mantyhose... designed for "warmth and comfort."
The article mentions these trendy items are also called "brosiery," "guylons," "he-tards," and "beau-hose" -- and assure the appalled reader that "Function over form may be the truest drive behind the sales" since "figures that show sales are strongest in some of the world's coldest countries."
Or consider these: Manties. Yes, that's manly panties.
Somehow coupled with all this nonsense pop culture fashion, it didn't surprise me to stumble upon this horrifying article about a Toddlers & Tiaras mother who modeled a G-string in front of her two-year-old daughter to help her become "culturally diverse."
Apparently this woman -- a mother of four -- was being photographed for a racy calendar and insisted her daughter watch the shoot. She told the photographer, "My style of parenting is extremely different. I think exposing your child to whatever you can is just a really great way to be culturally diverse."
The mother also said, "She know, and has full comprehension of how the business works. She has a vast understanding that some seven-year-olds, six-year-olds don't have." She also believes her daughter is more like a 17-year-old than a toddler. Way to mess up your kid, lady.
The implications of this woman's actions and the repercussions it will have on her children are absolutely beyond belief.
You see, to me this whole fashion thing is just a continuum. The stuff we see in malls is at one end; the (cough) "mother" who sticks her naked butt in her toddler's face in the name of "diversity" is at the other end.
In the end, it's the children who suffer. And those children will grow into adults who think this stuff is normal.
Okay, I'm done ranting.