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Objectification Of African American Women

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Clothing and Teen Cliques

There are approximately 31 million Americans between the ages of 12 to 19, and they spend $153 billion dollars a year (Teen Market). Most of their money is spent on clothes. Clothing is a language; a nonverbal system of communication that conveys information about the wearer to the viewer. Many opinions are formed and based solely on a person's outfit. This is especially true in schools across America. Adolescent dress represents teenage values of identity within a particular group, which causes discrimination between other groups of teens.

Before people speak to one another, their clothing makes a statement that expresses their occupation, origin, and personality, gender, age, and class. People often send messages such as conservatism, flamboyance, sophistication, or toughness through their clothing. This form of communication appeals to teens because it gives them a way to express themselves through their clothing.

Teens are preoccupied with social acceptance, social affiliation and "coolness" attached to make the "right" clothing choices. They judge other teens buy the clothes they wear. Teenagers wear certain clothes to fit in with other teens. The initial sign in identifying a group is through their clothing, since it is most visual. The clothes define the group and its members. Clothing selection signifies their attitudes, how they interact with other groups. For example, in gangs, members have to wear a certain color and dress in a particular way to be associated with that group of people.

On May 5, 2001, Javier Hernandez was washing and waxing his car. He was wearing baggy shorts, had a shaved head and tattoos. He was not a gang member. But his look may have gotten him killed. "Somebody may have thought he was a gang member," said Detective. Mike DePasquale, homicide coordinator at LAPD's Pacific Division. "That's the only clue we have right now, the way he was dressed ()." Because Javier was wearing a certain type of clothing, the rival gang in his town shot and killed him.

Cliques in school are also formed by race. People of the same race tend to dress alike to fit in with each other and popular culture. For example a majority of African America teenagers wear certain brands and baggy clothing to fit in with other teens of their race. The stereotypical brands that African Americans wear are Sean John, Roca Wear, Phat Farm, Baby Phat and FUBU. If a Caucasian wears those brands or baggy clothing, he or she is considered a "Wigger". The term is the combination of white with a derogatory term used to describe people of color; it basically means a white person acting black. Caucasians want to dress like their favorite rappers but are ridiculed at school because they are trying to be "posers". This is just one example of when teenagers wear particular clothing in an attempt to keep up with a particular branded image but instead of receiving social acceptance, they receive rejection for conforming to the behaviors of the group.

The African American stereotypical dress is so well know in America that police use it "solve" crimes. Racial Profiling occurs all over the United States. The profiling dress code is surprising. A baseball cap, worn at any angle, accounts for 10 percent of police stops. A bandanna, particularly red or blue, hints at gang involvement and accounts for 20 percent of police stops (Reeves).An XXL hooded sweatshirt accounts for 20 percent of police stops. Between them, Hispanics and African-Americans make up about 25% of the U.S. population; this majority is the target of the most racial profiling (Hisley). But Whites donning similar clothing rarely are stopped.

A Black undercover cop in Atlanta, says his commanders often asked him and his colleagues "to dress the part," or, in his words, "look ghetto fabulous," when going out on sting operations. "We blend in nicely, but our White partners always seem to mistake us for the criminals," the insider says. "We've been shot at, injured, and killed by our own partners because of what we were wearing. Isn't that racial profiling (Reeves)?"

A stereotype of Asian American Teenagers is that they dress in clothing that does not make them stand out. The purpose of dressing in this way is because they are self conscious of their ethnic makeup, such as their slanted eyes. They use the bland colorless clothing to detract the attention from themselves (Understanding).

Many Teenagers in America copy styles they see on their favorite Television Show. Nearly every high school girl portrayed on TV dresses like a supermodel; Teenagers view these images and think it's essential to copy them. Female Teenagers purchase



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