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Pte 70 Score Essay on “Young People are Slaves to Fashion. Discuss”.

Young People are Slaves to Fashion. Discuss.

Young people, or teenagers, are an invention of the American exploitation of the early 60s. The contemporary hype built them up into a separate class of society, and since jobs and money were plentiful in those days, the promotion of fashion in dress, music, politics and general outlook proved very profitable. Prior to 1960, people aged under eighteen were children; above eighteen, adults.

The cult swept the USA, then Britain and Europe, and finally many Eastern and Far Eastern countries, even where it was proscribed, as in China and pre-Gorbachev Russia. The promoters made full use of two factors common to the thirteen to eighteen age group; adolescent insecurity, and the concomitant desire to conform to peer pressures. Hence they became slaves to fashion.

As already indicated, fashion applied not only to clothes but to the whole of life. Some of it was harmless enough. Throughout history, the instinct to conform to current clothing styles was an unchanging phenomenon in the adult world. Up to the 60s, young people wore school uniform; in leisure hours, adult clothing.

The radical change in the early 60s reflected the post-war instinct to defy conventions which were basically pre-war, and therefore associated with adult repression. So the tee-shirt and jeans culture was born, the tee-shirts carrying anti-establishment legends, references to hard left social policies, the lure of uncontrolled sex, the support of homosexuality, the attractions of the drop-out culture, and the wonders of the fast-growing hallucinatory drug scene.

As mentioned, some of this was inevitable and harmless. Some of it was pernicious. The pernicious element was centered in San Francisco, though it later infected London, Paris, and other major cities.

Alongside this arose the pop music cult, and the successful stars and groups became the objects of hysterical teenage adulation. Presley, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles became the wealthy heroes. The subversive and corrupting views of some of them did immense harm. The fashions they set became irresistible. In the later 60s and 70s, violence as well as drugs, alcohol and indiscriminate sex became fashionable.

In Britain, for example, teenagers of both sexes joined one of two fashionable groups, the Mods and the Rockers. The Mods wore trendy, velveteen styles and rode mopeds.

The Rockers dressed in leather and rode powerful motorbikes. Large groups of each faction would foregather in the main seaside resorts and engage in pitched, sometimes bloody battles. Later, the same cross-section turned to violent protest, vandalism and football hooliganism. The police have managed to stamp out most of this, and most teenage hysteria is currently connected with the pop scene and the occasional acid house party. For thirty years, the slavish following of fashion has led many young people astray.

But not all. Every coin has two sides, and despite all the foregoing, many, perhaps the majority of young people, are proving to be a very fine generation. Certainly they conform to teenage dress norms, enjoy pop music and modern dance, but in all essential respects they are first-class, certainly far more worthwhile than most of my contemporaries at the same age. We were conformist to adult ideas and attitudes, but in many ways we were lazy, self-Interested, and entirely lacking in any real social conscience.

We were quite oblivious to the overseas poor, the environment, the victims of disaster, whether natural or man-made, and to the animal world. In fact, we were selfish, and rather self-indulgent. No drugs, certainly, but plenty of cigarettes and alcohol.

Today, many admirable features are seen in the young. They are individualistic rather than conformist. They eschew smoking, drugs and alcohol. They are fitter and generally more athletic than their predecessors. Many do social work in their spare time and some spend a year on voluntary service overseas. They have a conscience about people less fortunate and about the well-being of our world. They work hard and prepare for a market in which jobs are far from plentiful.

Admittedly, the media nowadays bring the world’s suffering and problems to their attention with in immediacy unknown in earlier days. Yet the fact is that they respond. They are slaves, not so much to fashion, as to their consciences, and that is by no means a bad form of slavery.


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