What, you mean apart from because your Prime Minister told you to?
What kind of a subject are you?
I quite like wearing hoodies. It’s not exactly the sexiest outfit I can manage, but they provide a feeling of warmth and security that few other items of clothing can provide without being far too heavy.
Clothes are strange things aren’t the. Ostensibly protection from elements, but also protectors of ‘modesty’ and in fact, more commonly used as cultural signifiers.
I dress the way I do to look sexy and different. But then, I also sometimes wear certain things to feel more solid and real and within myself.
I wonder why ‘the youth of today’ as a construct is so fond of hoodies?
I’m sure the ASBO-lovers would point to the identity concealing benefits of pulling a hood up. The modern day ringwraith is a child on a bmx with a hood pulled up an exposing nothing but a facade of darkness.
But honestly, I suspect it’s a question of comfort and security.
Old people seem so scared of young people. So ready to assume the worst, that the hoodie has become synonymous with delinquency. And it’s utterly absurd.
The fact is that kids are kids who are just little people. They’re dealing with a world just as strange as the one we’re living in, only they’ve had less practice. They have these huge spongy brains that haven’t yet grown stale and hard and so they make guesses as to how to act.
And to some extent, our world is teaching them to be selfish.
Consumerism is all about possessing as much as possible to be happy. Most people, particularly young people, can’t possess as much as possible. In fact, there’s always something more to hunt for, so even the older or richer people don’t find happiness that way, they just get stuck in a loop, or, if lucky, learn to not want for much more.
Kids don’t always understand that.
And I think they’re aware of how much they are assaulted by public ideas, assumptions and by media expectations and demands. And I think they don’t feel safe or welcomed.
It’s the kind of situation in which I’d retreat into a hoodie.
So I don’t think we should hug someone in a hoodie until we’re friends with them.
But we should always hug our friends. Hugs are great.
If you are going to label someone after their clothing, you are not reaching out to them. You are making as many huge and ridiculous assumptions as this bit of text is.
Instead of branding and labelling and guessing what people think. Go and talk to them. Don’t patronise. Just talk. And listen. I assure you the kids I talk to are much cleverer than the media assumes they are.
People are just people, they shouldn’t make you nervous.
But remember. Don’t hug strangers.
And don’t call people hoodies.
Call people people.
Illustration by Erin.