Column By J1 Reporter Shelby Gerken
When I was in public elementary school I wore nothing but Justice brand clothes. I walked into school with a bright pink shirt with rhinestone hearts on it, the matching bright pink leggings, my twinkle toes and a bow on my high-ponytail, bigger than my head to top it all off.
I looked fabulous and I felt fabulous. I wore this format of clothes up until 6th grade because I noticed that girls were changing.
“Cute” clothes were no longer normal and I looked childish to other girls. The “new cute” resembled the sort of outfits my older cousins wore.
Now I had to go shopping for black leggings, PINK or Ivory Ella brand shirts, and Nike Tanjun or Roshe shoes. The high ponytail with a bow was out, it was replaced by a messy bun.
I remember wanting to steal my older cousin’s clothes and wear them because that’s exactly what girls my age were wearing too. And when my cousin finally let me borrow her PINK sweatshirt, I felt like I was 16 too. I felt like the coolest girl in junior high.
Suddenly, things became “cool” and “uncool.”
It is no longer “cool” to want to play tag or house at recess. All the “cool” girls go to the swings now to talk about which boy looks cutest today. If you still like the color pink, you are still a baby. Only “cool” girls like blue.
Most girls can relate to their distant aunts, grandparents or even random adults always telling them, “You are so mature for your age!” I always thought I was told that because I was an only child, but I realized that it’s not just me.
My cousins showed me pictures of how they looked when they were my age. At 13, they looked the same as I did when I was six.
I am 16 now, the age that younger me waited a long time to reach. I constantly wished to be older, and now that I am, I see the same things with my best friend’s little sisters who are in middle school.
They look so much older than we did at their age. They wear makeup that sometimes looks better than my own.
I was desperate to wear makeup in middle school. I had to earn each piece of makeup by completing a chore or doing enough extra homework. And 7th graders now walk out of the house with full faces of it.
They wear outfits I would wear, outfits I do wear! What happened to the awkward phase? What happened to the bright justice clothes, bad makeup, brace and acne phase?
But most insanely of all, they have Snapchat.
Getting Snapchat in middle school was the biggest deal in the world. I had to wait until 8th grade to get Snapchat, like most people. And before me, my older cousins had to wait until high school to get it!
This effect is even noticeable in this year’s freshman. I wish I would’ve looked like the freshman now when I was a freshman.
The freshmen look exactly like us! They do their hair like us, wear the same shoes, do the make up the same when it took me two years to learn how to walk into school looking like that!
I think that the reason behind this strange butterfly effect is technology and how people communicate. With the development of phones, young girls have information at their fingertips.
How older girls are dressing, how they do their hair, how they do their make-up, what shoes are in and which are out.
They open Tik-Tok and see a million different influencers twice as old as them telling them how to dress and which products to use.
The generation who got phones in high school (my older cousins), were at the same maturity level as when my generation got phones in middle school.
Girls no longer are girls, they are skipping an entire phase, a right of passage in life. The awkward phase. Girls hop right out of a onesie and right into Lululemon leggings.
Kids are growing up faster and faster. Before we know it, toys definitely won’t be “cool” anymore.