Thursday, September 18, 2008

Goth Style Remains for High Schoolers

Read NY Times article below:

September 18, 2008
You Just Can’t Kill It

DON’T know how it happened. It felt more like a gradual, irresistible drift, but in retrospect, it might have been a sudden, overnight conversion. Maybe our local video store rented “The Hunger” one too many times.

Perhaps one teenager too many lay awake after midnight, unable to get Edward Gorey’s disturbing Black Doll image out of his head. Maybe a girl with 14 piercings in each ear sang Siouxsie and the Banshees’s “Cities in Dust” to her cat enough times to warp the entire light spectrum.

But there was a distinct point in San Francisco, in the late 1980s, when all the postpunk wardrobes of my extended tribe — a lower Haight-Ashbury aggregate of motorcyclists, college dropouts, would-be artists and nightclub workers — turned as abruptly and completely black as if a wall of ink had crept up from the Pacific and saturated everything, save for occasional outcroppings of little silver skulls.

Secretly I nursed grandiose ideas that my funereal vintage attire aligned me with beatniks, existentialists, Zen Buddhists, French Situationists, 1930s movie stars and samurai. (In reality, my style could probably have been more aptly described as “Biker Madonna with mood disorder.”)

We were all young and poor: If your clothes were all black, everything matched and was vaguely elegant (especially if you squinted). Entropy was a thrifty, built-in style; if your tights ripped into cobwebs, that, too, was a look.

We lived in squalid tenements and worked until 4 a.m. Goth was a fashion response to doing infrequent laundry and never seeing the sun. A Northern California anti-tan could be an advantage if you made yourself even paler. On the bright side, our new monochromism was helpful to community building: We were able to recognize our neighbors as well as if we had all adopted regional folk costume. You knew you could rely on your blackly attired ilk to answer questions like, Hey, where should I go to get my 1978 Triumph Bonneville repaired/get green dreadlocks/get the word Golgotha tattooed in five-inch letters across my back/buy jimson weed/cast a reverse love spell for under $14/(insert your vaguely but harmlessly sinister demimonde activity here)?

“ ‘Gothic’ is an epithet with a strange history, evoking images of death, destruction, and decay,” the fashion historian Valerie Steele writes in “Gothic: Dark Glamour” (Yale University Press), a new coffee-table book, written with Jennifer Park. An exhibition of the same name, curated by Ms. Steele at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, unpacks the evolution of goth in fashion from its early beginnings in Victorian mourning to its most current expressions.

“It is not just a term that describes something (such as a Gothic cathedral), it is also almost inevitably a term of abuse, implying that something is dark, barbarous, gloomy and macabre,” she wrote. “Ironically, its negative connotations have made it, in some respects, ideal as a symbol of rebellion. Hence its significance for youth subcultures.”

But goth fashion is not just for maladjusted latchkey kids. A recent proliferation of Haute Goth on the runways of designers like Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh and the spidery crochet webs of Rodarte (not to mention various darkly inclined Belgian designers) suggests, once again, that black still is, and probably always will be the new black.

The goth subculture, however, for those who live it, is more than the sum of its chicken bones, vampire clichés and existential pants. It remains a visual shortcut through which young persons of a certain damp emotional climate can broadcast to the other members of their tribe who they are. Goth is a look that simultaneously expresses and cures its own sense of alienation.

This sentiment was echoed by Wendy Jenkins of Powell, Ohio, whom I contacted via a goth group on Facebook. “To me, Goth is like an escape,” wrote Ms. Jenkins, who is 18 and attends Olentangy Liberty High School.

“No one really judges each other,” she continued. “It doesn’t matter if you are tall, short, black, white, heavy, thin. Goth can fit everyone! I think it is a great way to bond with others who are different and who are just like you at the same time! Because we are wearing black most the time we are EZ to find!”

Missy Graf, 20, of Edmonton, Alberta, became fascinated by the goths at her Catholic high school. “One of the goth girls was in the choir with me,” she wrote in an e-mail message, “and we talked about depression and God’s apparent absence from her life. It was one of my first encounters with the world outside of the ‘Christian bubble.’ ”

“I guess I slowly became (eh-em) ‘goth’ starting a year and a half ago,” she added. “I was afraid of what my mom would think (she is still convinced that goth is associated with Satan-worshipping and that dying my hair black is one more step into the oblivion ... oh mom! You dye your hair red. Don’t you know that Satan panties are red, not black?). Whatever. Eventually I got to the point where I stopped trying to make people accept me.”

The Bay Area was home to a number of influential goths. Courtney Love successfully introduced the kinderwhore look: filmy Victorian nightgowns with fright-wig doll hair and heavy makeup. The band Specimen kept an apartment in the Mission District strewn with artificial cobwebs. Diamanda Galas frequently gabbled in demonic tongues on concert stages with her grand piano. I was privileged to direct the poet/performance artist/goth icon Danielle Willis in “Breakfast in the Flesh District,” her candidly hilarious, autobiographical one-woman show about working in the Tenderloin’s strip clubs as a self-styled vampire.

Ms. Willis, who embraced goth the second she saw Tim Curry’s “sweet transvestite from Transylvania” in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” used to write great articles on the ironies of goth fashion, like “Lord Damien Stark’s Makeup Tips for the Bleak” (originally printed in Ghastly Magazine):

“Whiteface should create the illusion that you really are that pale, and not that you have a bunch of makeup from Walgreens caked all over your face. Done badly, Gothic makeup can look painfully stupid. After spending money on a decent base, take the trouble to apply it evenly. It’s appalling how many Goths overlook something so basic and vital to their entire aesthetic. Equally bad and unfortunately just as frequent is the tendency to overpowder and the tendency to end one’s pallor at the jawbone. I can understand someone having difficulty with liquid eyeliner, but some mistakes are just inexcusably stupid. Don’t make them.”

I just wore black, but Danielle Willis was a Satanic blood fetishist who had her own 19th-century phlebotomy kit, permanent fangs dentally bonded to her eyeteeth and serious drug problems. I once teased her about her decorative penchant for red velvet chaises, heavy curtains, ball-and-claw side tables, stigmata and other forms of morbid opulence, saying that they didn’t necessarily mean she was goth, just Italian. She clocked me pretty hard.

THE origins of contemporary goth style are found in the Victorian cult of mourning.

“Victorians had a joke when women got into fashionable mourning dress — they called it ‘the trap rebaited.’ ” Ms. Steele said, showing me one of the highlights of the F.I.T. exhibition: a 1905 Victorian cult-of-mourning gown by Desbuisson & Hudelist that was off-the-shoulder, had a plunging neckline and was covered with matte-black sequins.

The show also makes a healthy foray into what Ms. Steele calls the “diabolism, dandyism and decadence” of Dracula. “Just as the devil is the prince of darkness, the dandy is the black prince of elegance,” she explained. “And the paradigm of the gothic man is a dandy vampire aristocrat.”

The vampire introduces the idea of the “erotic macabre” into gothic fashion. There are stunning examples in the show of vampiric sex appeal — e.g., a voluminous blood-red gown by John Galliano for Dior, printed with a Marquis de Sade quotation: “Is it not by murder that France is free today?” (Which, accessorized with its huge chain and cross made of railway spikes, would inspire even the Easter Bunny to absinthe and Emocore.)

One display acknowledges the fetish culture’s influence on goth (“kinky nihilism,” as Ms. Steele describes it): buckled PVC corsets and other snazzy bondage accouterments in addition to the usual Morticia Addams styles.

But to Wendy Jenkins, vampires represent more than just a hot batch of spooky formalwear. They provide a romantic narrative for sympathizing with her own perceived abnormalities. She wrote to me: “I think vampires are freeking sweet because they have such true emotions that no mere mortals can express! I too at times think I am a vampire being with my hate of garlic and how my eyes r sensitive to light.”

This sense of bathos-dripping, emotional fragility draws no small ridicule to the idea of “goth.” The word still brings to mind Anne Rice à la Renaissance Faire, moody bodice-ripper connotations, as well as ruffled shirts, tarot cards and sad girls who wistfully change their names to Pandora and Esmeralda (a tendency finally ridiculed to death in the “Saturday Night Live” sketch Goth Talk, with its teenage hosts, Azrael Abyss, “Prince of Sorrows,” and his friend, Circe Nightshade).

Nocturne Midnight, a k a Josh Klooster from Millet, Alberta, a 17-year-old student at Leduc Composite High School in Edmonton (and another goth in the Facebook group), prefers “a suave gentleman style,” he wrote. “Dress shirt, dress pants, top hat, spiked collar, light make-up. It makes me feel like an aristocrat.”

Tia Senat, 15, a sophomore at Ellsworth High School in Ellsworth, Kan., identifies her goth-influenced style as “emo.”

“Some Goth people seem different, but really they’re just normal people hidden behind a sort of personality ‘curtain,’ ” she said. “Emo is being extremely sensitive and showing your emotions.

“What drew me to it was because it basically explained how I acted. You can’t just decide to be. It really just happens. Many people believe that all teens such as me participate in self-mutilation, or cutting, and that they whine about their life and how bad it is compared to other people. Not all Emo kids do this unless something very very traumatic happens, believe me.”

Mr. Midnight takes exception. “Emos tend to take themselves far too seriously,” he said. “Every emotion they have is one extreme or another. Extremely happy, crushingly sad, screaming rage. Just too much emotion. All the time.”

Looking back at my own experience, it seems that black clothes were a response to certain catastrophic influences that came up with terrible regularity. We had all lost, or were in the process of losing, friends to AIDS, addictions and accidents. There were always disappointments in romance, and no surplus of mental health or functional families. Boots, black and leather provided a certain group with a certain emotional exoskeleton, a blustering attempt to express an edgy, careless willingness to hurl ourselves into oblivion. But the writing on the collective black flag, for all our reckless posturing, may have been best articulated as: “Ow, I’m hypersensitive. Please don’t hurt me again.”

Nocturne Midnight explains the importance of being goth: “It’s a part of who I am,” he said. “Nothing else worked. Goth just seemed to fit. I suppose Goth invokes in me a feeling of happiness, of belonging.”

Later Wendy Jenkins wrote to tell me: “Case you didn’t know, I am in a wheelchair.”

There are certainly worse ways to misspend a youth than living it in a vampire costume. After all, sometimes the most sympathetic character in a story is the villain.

But being goth doesn’t mean you have no sense of humor.

“Gothic style should be as opulent, decadent and individual as possible,” Danielle Willis wrote. “If you’re not up to making the effort necessary to carry off this most high maintenance of affectations, try wearing plaid shirts and listening to Nirvana instead.”

Friday, September 5, 2008

Slam Thoughts and Questions

Below is some information about Hornby from his publisher and some basic reading/discussion questions:

About Slam
Fifteen-year-old Sam is an avid skateboarder and fan of the legendary American skater Tony Hawk, whose autobiography Hawk Occupation: Skateboarder he has read “forty or fifty” times. In fact, whenever Sam is troubled, he talks to the poster of Hawk that hangs in his bedroom. And, believe it or not, the poster talks back – in appropriate passages from the autobiography!
As if this weren’t weird enough, when Sam’s girlfriend, Alicia, announces that she’s pregnant and the boy once again consults the poster, it not only offers the usual (fairly obscure) advice, it also “whizzes” him into the future! How weird is that?
Worse, the future proves no less confusing than the present. For the fact is, neither Sam nor Alicia is prepared to become a teen parent (though Sam himself was born when his parents were only sixteen) and both will soon be called on to make some very adult decisions about their lives.
While Nick Hornby respects the seriousness of these subjects, he also manages to write an irresistibly funny, heartfelt book that is filled with quirky, engaging, and believable characters struggling to make sense of lives as suddenly bumpy as a ride on an out-of-control skateboard.

Born in Redhill, Surrey, England, Nick Hornby graduated from Cambridge University and worked for a time as a book reviewer and a teacher of English to foreign students. His first book, a collection of critical essays on American novelists, was published in 1992 and was quickly followed by his celebrated soccer memoir Fever Pitch. The first of his internationally bestselling novels, High Fidelity, was published three years later in 1995. Three others have followed, including About a Boy (1998), How to be Good (2001), and A Long Way Down (2005). Slam is his first novel published for young adults, though virtually all of his work – including his many writings about music – has had widespread appeal to teen readers. He is a recipients of the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, his work has been shortlisted for both the Whitbread Novel Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and he is a New York Times bestselling author. Nick currently lives in North London with his wife and three sons.
For additional information on Nick Hornby and his other titles, visit


1. How does the author make legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk a character in this novel?
2. Sam says, “…telling a story is more difficult than it looks, because you don’t know what to put where.” How has Hornby decided what to put where?
3. Do you believe the “weird” parts; i.e., is Sam really transported into the future and why do you think the author uses this device?
4. Would you like to have Sam’s experience of seeing the future?
5. How does Sam’s experience with each of his own parents affect what kind of parent he hopes to be?
6. What does the story tell you about the British class system? Would the book have been dramatically different if it had been set in America?
7. What kind of person is Sam? He says, “I can’t be bad.” Is he being honest with himself? Does he change over the course of the novel? If so, how?
8. Does Alicia make the right decision in keeping her baby?
9. Will Sam still be in touch with Roof fifteen years from now?
10. What does this book tell you about the modern meanings of “family” and “home”?
11. What does Sam mean when he says, “I hate time. It never does what you want it to.”
12. Sam thinks he might believe that “you have to live your life over and over again until you get it right.” What do you think?
13. Twice Sam asks his mother to give him “marks out of ten” for “how he’s doing.” How many points would you give him? Why?
14. Sam says, “If you don’t know how something feels, then you don’t know anything.” Does Hornby let you know how things feel for Sam? How does he do this?
15. Is this a hopeful and optimistic book? Should it be regarded as a work of humor or as something darker?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Teenagers Changing Sexual Behavior

N.Y.Times article:

The percentage of high school students in 2007 who had ever had sexual intercourse declined by 12 percent since 1991, the percentage who had had intercourse with four or more partners declined by 20 percent, and the percentage who were currently sexually active declined by 7 percent. At the same time, condom use increased by 33 percent.

CDC Report:
Trends in HIV- and STD-Related Risk Behaviors Among High School Students --- United States, 1991--2007

Earlier Study of STD's from the N.Y. Times:
March 12, 2008
Sex Infections Found in Quarter of Teenage Girls

The first national study of four common sexually transmitted diseases among girls and young women has found that one in four are infected with at least one of the diseases, federal health officials reported Tuesday.

Nearly half the African-Americans in the study of teenagers ages 14 to 19 were infected with at least one of the diseases monitored in the study — human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, genital herpes and trichomoniasis, a common parasite.

The 50 percent figure compared with 20 percent of white teenagers, health officials and researchers said at a news conference at a scientific meeting in Chicago.

The two most common sexually transmitted diseases, or S.T.D.’s, among all the participants tested were HPV, at 18 percent, and chlamydia, at 4 percent, according to the analysis, part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Each disease can be serious in its own way. HPV, for example, can cause cancer and genital warts.

Among the infected women, 15 percent had more than one of the diseases.

Women may be unaware they are infected. But the diseases, which are infections caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites, can produce acute symptoms like irritating vaginal discharge, painful pelvic inflammatory disease and potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy. The infections can also lead to longterm ailments like infertility and cervical cancer.

The survey tested for specific HPV strains linked to genital warts and cervical cancer.

Officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the findings underscored the need to strengthen screening, vaccination and other prevention measures for the diseases, which are among the highest public health priorities.

About 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur each year among all age groups in the United States.

“High S.T.D. infection rates among young women, particularly young African-American women, are clear signs that we must continue developing ways to reach those most at risk,” said Dr. John M. Douglas Jr., who directs the centers’ division of S.T.D. prevention.

The president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Cecile Richards, said the new findings “emphasize the need for real comprehensive sex education.”

“The national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure,” Ms. Richards said, “and teenage girls are paying the real price.”

Although earlier annual surveys have tested for a single sexually transmitted disease in a specified population, this is the first time the national study has collected data on all the most common sexual diseases in adolescent women at the same time. It is also the first time the study measured human papillomavirus.

Dr. Douglas said that because the new survey was based on direct testing, it was more reliable than analyses derived from data that doctors and clinics sent to the diseases center through state and local health departments.

“What we found is alarming,” said Dr. Sara Forhan, a researcher at the centers and the lead author of the study.

Dr. Forhan added that the study showed “how fast the S.T.D. prevalence appears.”

“Far too many young women are at risk for the serious health effects of untreated S.T.D.’s, ” she said.

The centers conducts the annual study, which asks a representative sample of the household population a wide range of health questions. The analysis was based on information collected in the 2003-4 survey.

Extrapolating from the findings, Dr. Forhan said 3.2 million teenage women were infected with at least one of the four diseases.

The 838 participants in the study were chosen at random with standard statistical techniques. Of the women asked, 96 percent agreed to submit vaginal swabs for testing.

The findings and specific treatment recommendations were available to the participants calling a password-protected telephone line. Three reminders were sent to participants who did not call.

Health officials recommend treatment for all sex partners of individuals diagnosed with curable sexually transmitted diseases. One promising approach to reach that goal is for doctors who treat infected women to provide or prescribe the same treatment for their partners, Dr. Douglas said. The goal is to encourage men who may not have a physician or who have no symptoms and may be reluctant to seek care to be treated without a doctor’s visit.

He also urged infected women to be retested three months after treatment to detect possible reinfection and to treat it.

Dr. Forhan said she did not know how many participants received their test results.

Federal health officials recommend annual screening tests to detect chlamydia for sexually active women younger than 25. The disease agency also recommends that women ages 11 to 26 be fully vaccinated against HPV.

The Food and Drug Administration has said in a report that latex condoms are “highly effective” at preventing infection by chlamydia, trichomoniasi, H.I.V., gonorrhea and hepatitis B.

The agency noted that condoms seemed less effective against genital herpes and syphilis. Protection against human papillomavirus “is partial at best,” the report said.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Section1: First Thoughts

OK all--good week and good brainstorming on organizing our thoughts for Section 1.

What do we know for sure?

1. Section 1 should focus on the cultural identity of the adolescent informant. It is written for a reader coming to the material for the first time (not for the professor). Thus, it requires an introduction---or within a page or so if you are working for a more creative opening, enough information and context to identify the informants for the reader. Without being mechanical, remind yourselves of the sociological variables: age, gender,region, class, ethnicity, religion, etc.

It need not be "comprehensive": that is, it is not a full life history, but rather a "slice in time." The portrait reveals the adolescent now: but he or she can reflect on past and future (this will help us understand how they think of themselves in present time).
It is a collaborative portrait, constructed by you and the informant: the reader should hear both voices.

As this is an anthropology class, we should resist trying to "explain" our informants using psychological jargon. Rather, the premise is that identity arises out of particular cultural and social circumstances: we are who we are because our culture and society provide us with a "scenario" of beliefs/values/behaviors/social relationships that we must experience, and from which, forge "our singular identity."

The goal is to show how a person both "fits" within his culture, but also attempts to create something of his own: to be "an individual." And, to show a reader, no matter how different the informant appears to be, in his experience there is something we all share.

It is here that some "I am..." decisions will have to be made. It is here that a "scenario" will have to be constructed. And it is here that the sociological variables come into play. As this is not a class in "adolescent theory," you are simply required to tell your informant's story (the scenario) from a point of view that you believe best allows a reader to understand their voice/experience. You need not say ALL teenagers believe or behave like this.

The "scenario" or point of view should guide the reader's understanding of the informant's experience. Is this the life of a black teen? Is this the life of a female, black teen? Is this the life of an urban, female, black teen? Is this the life of an urban, female, Christian, black teen? How do friends/family/school/work/leisure fit into this scenario?

Remember some of the italicized intros to the teen stories in Adolescent Portraits:
"This Native American woman recounts her experience of living in two worlds." (pg. 15)
"Born into small town life, this college senior describes a life-long confusion about who he is and what purpose his life serves." (Pg. 43)
"Jessie, born in Puerto Rico,.. explores in this case how her strong family ties, others' belief in her, and her own commitment helped her avoid the possible dangers and complications of her urban community." (pg. 69)
"Eager to be accepted by American society and his college peers, Devneesh is devastated by the racist and misogynistic attitudes his first year roommate harbors." (Pg. 98)
"Growing up in a permissive family in Florida, Sarah slips into a pattern of binge drinking, drunkenness, and promiscuity." (pg. 189)

It is here that you will try to achieve the goals of #3 above:
The goal is to show how a person both "fits" within his culture, but also attempts to create something of his own: to be "an individual." And, to show a reader, no matter how different the informant appears to be, in his experience there is something we all share.

There is no one model for this and, since we are not trying to be comprehensive, the subcategories need only illustrate the above.

We have agreed that SUBCATEGORY 2 (after an INTRODUCTION) should be a physical portrait of our informants (this further introduces them to us, and is a good writing exercise for an anthropology student). We have also agreed that the FINAL SUBCATEGORY (or APPENDIX) should be a content analysis of the MySpace sites (and we have added personal statements, poems, drawings, etc.; The goal here is to add another dimension to the the "I am..." story).

After that---let's keep talking (most are doing 3-5 subcategories).

Next week--we'll connect section 1 and 2.

For now--re-think section 1, email me if you want, and I'll see WGs 1 and 2 on Tuesday.

And...if I've left out anything from the four sessions--let me know and I'll post it.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

9-12 Is The New Teenager

The New York Times

April 3, 2008
Skin Deep
A Girl’s Life, With Highlights

LEXI JAMES, 11, a sixth grader in Hope Mills, N.C., had been asking for a hair treatment, any hair treatment, ever since her older sister, now 13, first had her hair chemically straightened by her mother three years ago.

“Lexi’s hair wasn’t the right type for that treatment because it was too curly,” said her mother, Lisa Stasser, a cosmetologist. “It just drove Lexi crazy. Lexi found her own hair so boring so I gave her a few highlights and for a while, that was fine,” she said.

But, last fall, Lexi begged for more. “I wanted highlights, you know, and the salon thing,” Lexi said, explaining that the idea of being pampered seemed fun.

In her case, “the salon thing” meant a couple of hours at Toadly Kool Me, a children’s hair salon in nearby Fayetteville. For $45, Lexi would receive six caramel streaks of permanent color along her part, for a look she described as “a little punky,” followed by a blow dry and flat ironing.

“Lexi works hard, gets good grades,” her mother said. “I feel like she deserves a treat.”

Most adults want their highlights to look natural, as if they had just come from a wind-swept beach. But highlights that make a bolder statement, like chunky strips of contrast color, are in vogue among 8- to 12-year-old girls.

Hair treatments like shiny glosses or full-color dye plus highlights, once reserved for women with salaries and mortgages, have increasingly become the norm for pre-pubescent girls as more busy parents with discretionary income are willing to pay salon prices for what used to be done at home.

“We’ve had girls as young as 6 in for highlights, but 9 and 10 is more the norm,” said Tammy Currin, the owner of the Toadly Kool Me. “If it’s not a relaxer, highlights are usually the first step mothers will allow. Once the girls’ friends see them, they’re in the next week getting streaks of their own.”

No one tracks how many girls 12 and younger go to professionals to receive lowlights that darken, pale tints of color, straighteners, curl-inducing permanents or full-color dye with highlights.

But, “the trend is definitely there,” said Gordon Miller, a spokesman for the National Cosmetology Association. “It’s a lucrative niche market for the industry that is beginning to be addressed at trade shows and other association events.”

Mark Goodman, the vice president of the association and owner of Hair Designers, a salon in Hilton Head Island, S.C., estimated that his preteen clientele now makes up about a quarter of his business.

“I’m hearing similar stories from stylists around the country,” said Mr. Goodman, who conducts color seminars nationwide. “Five years ago, the rule of thumb was 15- to 16-year-olds would come in for their first color. Now, that girl is 10.”

In his seminars, he now addresses how to market to preteens and even discusses how to keep them entertained in the chair (a wireless laptop or DVD player). “I tell stylists to get more involved in school and community events to reach out to these younger girls,” he said, adding, “they may not want to think in those terms, but these girls are our future business.”

Parents of this generation’s preteen girls may have been more likely to experiment on their own hair as teenagers, using at-home relaxers, color kits and spray-in bleaching products like Sun-In, according to stylists and colorists.

Today’s girls often want to their locks professionally handled, and salon-styling, even for 8-year-olds, no longer denotes beauty queen.

“It’s outsourcing,” said Nina Kovner, vice president for marketing at John Paul Mitchell Systems, a line of hair products marketed to salons. “Moms and daughters do it together. Friends do it together. We’ve become a salon culture.” She thinks heightened awareness of fashion and style motivates girls to seek salon hair treatments, as well as peer pressure — the desire both to fit in and stand out.

“Let’s just say it’s a great time to be in the business,” she said.

The professionalization of hair care means young girls across the multicultural spectrum can pay to get the sleek blond hair of Paris Hilton, the glossy black curls of Vanessa Hudgens or the white-blond skunk highlights of Hannah Montana, or to create a unique look that’s then the subject of instant messages long into the night.

And some stylists nationwide make it a point to be able to distinguish Ashley Tisdale of “High School Musical” from the singer Ashlee Simpson.

“These girls want flexibility to imitate the styles of their idols, and they need it to look right,” said Ouidad, who owns a Manhattan salon where she is also a stylist. “Girls as young as 10 come in with little support groups of friends who wait with them hours. And when I turn them into Hannah Montana or whoever they want, they literally jump and cry and scream,” and their parents are willing to spend $200 to $400.

And yet Ouidad said she feels conflicted: “I wonder what message we are sending the girls.”

Nancy Amanda Redd, a former Miss Virginia who was educated at Harvard, is wary of that message.

“I was never allowed this stuff growing up, and, there’s a reason,” said Ms. Redd, who wrote “Body Drama.” “Pregnant women can’t get highlights, what makes it safe for little girls? These girls are going from baby to mini-adult. They feel naked without their highlights. I think we need a giant dose of realism here.”

At-home treatments aren’t always a good compromise, especially when a mother’s efforts at playing Frédéric Fekkai fail.

“Oh, I’d never try it on her at home,” said Robin Bernstein of Manhattan, whose daughter, Tessa, 11, has the golden waves of grain look, with a few subtle salon highlights, any blonde would splurge on.

In a recent forum on Weary Parent, a child-rearing blog, one person admitted in a post that she had tried to give her 11-year old daughter the blond on brown look of Jamie Lynn Spears of Nickelodeon’s “Zoey 101.” “But that was a disaster,” she wrote. “I had to pull her out of school for a day so I could fix it.”

Many of those who made comments, however, echoed the sentiments of the blog’s founder, Charlene Polanosky of Fredericksburg, Va., who has refused to allow her daughter, now 13, to get a single highlight.

Ms. Polanosky said she will not give her consent until her daughter is in her late teens.

“To me, it’s like makeup for hair,” Ms. Polanosky wrote in an e-mail message. “I don’t let my tween wear makeup on her face either.”

Today’s parents must decide earlier on when is the right time to allow their daughters to take part in grooming issues like eyebrow shaping, upper lip hair bleaching and hair treatments.

Jane Ordway, a real estate broker in New York City, went to the Sally Hershberger Downtown salon last month to receive highlights, allowing her daughter to tag along. Ms. Ordway was a little taken aback when Ruben Colon, who was putting in her highlights, suggested that he add a swath of burnt orange to the bangs of her daughter, Olivia, 12.

Ms. Ordway eventually acquiesced.

“Originally, we went to the salon because Olivia wanted me to have my hair colored to cover the gray, which I did. But then it turned out she wanted a highlight herself,” Ms. Ordway said. “She does have a really good fashion sense and some of her friends have done it, and I felt we were in the right place to have it done well so I let her.”

But Olivia, who is thrilled that her bold stripe adds a “vintage-ish, rock-ish” look, might not secure her mother’s permission next time.

“Even now, if you were to ask me, ‘Would I let her get more?’ ” Ms. Ordway said, “I’d have to say, ‘I’m sure she’d love to, but that takes me to another place I’m not sure I’m ready to go.’ ”

Friday, March 28, 2008

End Game Schedule

Good class as usual my anthros: all tattoos will be revealed at the final pot luck lunch (either visually or in words).

Tuesday (April 1): Class canceled for Preceptorial advising

I will be in my office from 10-12, then I have a SOCY/ANTH Faculty Program meeting for an hour, and then, back in my office at 1 or so (if you are coming by, let me know).

Thursday (April 3): BRUNCH WITH THE ANTHROPOLOGIST: 10:30 G-Wing Cafeteria
A rare opportunity to have brunch with an anthropologist who will answer all of life's burning questions.


Tuesday, April 8: Working Groups 1 and 2 (TO DISCUSS SECTION 1: "I am..." etc. Subcategories for each informant required:

Working Group 1 (10:30): Gina Roseboro, Beth R., Tim, Danielle, Jinnie
Working Group 2 (11:30): Kelly, Katherine Quick, Lauren H., Elizabeth M., Gina Maguire, Jasmina

Thursday, April 10: Working Groups 3 and 4 (TO DISCUSS SECTION 1: "I am..." etc. Subcategories for each informant required:

Working Group 3: (10:30): Gaye, Devon, Sarah, Toni, Laurie V., Jennifer, Katrina
Working Group 4: (11:30): Kait, Cassandra, Kari, Rachel, Kia

Tuesday, April 15: Working Groups 1 and 2 (TO DISCUSS SECTION 2: Subcategories required:

Working Group 1 (10:30): Gina Roseboro, Beth R., Tim, Danielle, Jinnie
Working Group 2 (11:30): Kelly, Katherine Quick, Lauren H., Elizabeth M., Gina Maguire, Jasmina

Thursday, April 17: Working Groups 3 and 4 (TO DISCUSS SECTION 2: Subcategories required:

Working Group 3: (10:30): Gaye, Devon, Sarah, Toni, Laurie V., Jennifer, Katrina
Working Group 4: (11:30): Kait, Cassandra, Kari, Rachel, Kia

Tuesday: April 22: Full class to go over Working group discussions, and to schedule individual office appointments with me.

Tuesday May 6: Final Class, Pot Luck Lunch, selected, brief summaries of final sections (Full papers due on Turnitin).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Reconnecting: Tuesday's Class

Welcome back wayward fieldworkers!

All blogs read, and 1/3 papers done (guess what--they all came in last night!)

Let's re-connect and discuss final sections/blogging, etc.

I'm going to bring several material culture papers to class to read sections for form and language to use for final sections.

We'll start thinking about working groups and meetings.

And here's a short version of the graffiti film (style wars) to discuss the attraction of this style to teens.

And anything else we need to discuss to get us back into the world for the final push.