A recent trip to the Myer Centre convinced me that the latter day Leninist sects like the GreenLeft mob are on the wrong track with the protesting (and the infiltration of community groups, etc etc). The quickest and easiest way to destroy capitalism would be to convince teenagers to stop consuming.
A rather interesting article in today’s SMH poses something of a dilemma. Queensland banned under 15s from having body piercings (except for ears) and under 18s from having nipple or genital piercings by legislation in 2002. A rather short lived moral panic erupted a few years ago about tweens wearing sexy Britney style garb. And that was before Britney became a serial heterosexual bride. A legislator in Louisiana sought to outlaw hipster jeans.
The SMH reports on the increasing trend among teenagers to have cosmetic surgery. The worry is that the intense focus on body image at such an age is damaging. There is no doubt that the incidence of bulimia and anorexia among young men increased rapidly from the early 1990s in parallel with the increased sexualisation of male bodies in advertising and popular culture more generally.
Being officially part of the marketing niche called “hip mid-youth” (the mid 30s are the new 20s, etc), and possibly also a metrosexual, I’ve nevertheless resisted the urge to do anything about thinning hair or crows’ feet. I’m somewhat torn as to how to view this trend (although the SMH notes that it’s so far mainly an American one, it’s probably right to think it’s heading this way). On one hand, I think that all different body shapes should be valued, and health is a bigger concern than beauty. On the other, my libertarian instincts tell me to be highly sceptical of condemning personal choices. Even if I’d agree that these choices are overdetermined by the media and popular culture – it’s the corollary of the idea that our bodies are our own. And I think consistency in this argument is helpful to head off abhorrent intrusions into the privacy of people’s bodies like this proposed Virginia law that Miss Piss at Piss’n’Vinegar reports on.