Why Can’t They Love Their Neighbor?
I was shopping with my teenager in Forever 21, a mediocre quality but low priced clothing store for guys and girls. I label it for “guys and girls” because it is my opinion that if men and women shop in a store named Forever 21, they possibly have an issue with embracing the reality that is their actual age and a major intervention is in order. “Put the leggings down, Grandma.” “Dad, let go of the skinny jeans and back away slowly.”
I am not a huge fan of Forever 21 but we were there because I was looking for exactly what they sell, mediocre clothing at a low price. My teen had a black and white sweet-sixteenparty to go to and the last thing on my agenda was buying her an expensive dress that she would wear for that party alone with no major event on the calendar to make it a worthwhile purchase. I may make her wear it for Christmas but unless we have a dressy event, it was a one wearing outfit.
What I noticed on our trip to the extremely-tight-dressing, black-eyeliner-sporting, way-too-high-heels-wearing teen haven that is Forever 21 was how mean girls are to each other. While waiting in line at the dressing room, I overheard two young girls completely rip apart the way another girl looked. It was private and to themselves, well, them and all of us in line but it was not to her face. She was cute and completely oblivious to the venom that was being spewed about her for no apparent reason other than she was, in fact, cuter than the other two.
Another group of girls almost jumped an employee before they realized she was on duty. The group thought she was a regular shopper cutting in line and taking too many liberties with the clothes on the racks. They got themselves so riled up over her being “rude” and wondering out loud about “who she thought she was” and “why she disrespect’in us (said with gang slang tone and head twirl)?” They tore apart her hair and her shoes and criticized the size of her backside to themselves and again, those of us lucky enough to be in line. All to find out she worked there and was just doing her job by entering the changing area ahead of them to sort the clothes that needed to be restocked. The girls did not laugh at themselves or even give a well deserving “my bad” to each other over their mistake. Instead they proclaimed out loud, “Well, if she was cutting I would have kicked her (insert harsh word for tush or alternative term for a wild donkey)”.
So what happened? Why are our young girls so insecure and self-conscious that they feel they need to trash other girls to feel better about themselves? When was it established that this is acceptable behavior? There are so many bible verses on how we should treat other that listing them would not even be new information for anyone reading this. What do we do? How do we convince young girls to respect each other, appreciate the differences and see each other the way God sees them?