Appearance Over Self-Value?
Prior to the Christmas holiday, Nike re-released Michael Jordan’s “Air Jordan 11 Concord”shoes, which are arguably the most popular of the entire Jordan brand. These basketball shoes sold for a staggering $180 a pair in the stores and upward of $400 on ebay. Within hours, stores were sold out of the shoes. When it was all said and done, the shopping frenzy for the famous footwear caused fights, vandalism to store property, arrests, stabbings and at least one robbery at gunpoint. When I think of the amount of violence that a pair of sneakers can generate, it really makes me wonder if one’s appearance is more important than self-value.
There are a lot of new words and terms out there nowadays. For example, the word “swag” is used a lot among today’s teens. It is used in music, media and everyday vocabulary. People use the word “swag” to describe someone’s actions, how someone dresses or a certain situation. There are phrases such as “so swag”, “you got swag” and “swag swag.” The word “swag” is used mainly to describe appearance. Count how many times swag is used to describe appearance. Then, count how many times it is said to describe someone’s personality. Notice that the word “swag” is used more to describe appearance. The word “swag” is over used and people tend to wonder what the word even means. The word “swag” in urban culture means arrogant or to be over confident. People say that the term swag can be used in whatever meaning that person wants it to be.
Another term that has to do with appearance is “dress code.” Don’t get me wrong when I say this, I care about my appearance but it’s not my main priority. The term dress code is used in today’s culture to express how well you dress yourself. For example, one phrase is, “you have a nice dress code” and that phrase means that you know how to dress yourself well in the eyes of other people. But some of that is based on what brand of apparel you wear. For example, some favored brands are: Hollister, Aeropostale, LRG, Abercrombie, and Polo. Some of the brands that kids don’t favor and tease other kids over are: South Pole, Ecko Unlimited, and Rockawear. Moreover, if you have on South Pole, kids would say, “No dress code.” If you have on one of the favored brands, they would say, “You have a dress code.” Kids get credit for wearing nice stuff to school but rarely will anybody get props for starting a club at school or something productive. Which leads to my question: Do kids care more about appearance than self-value?
Another term having to do with appearance is “hat game.” People tend to say that I have a nice “hat game” and that they don’t recognize me without my hat. Hat game is based on how many different hats you have, what sports team is represented on the hat, whether they are New Era, Mitchell & Ness or whether your hat matches your clothes. However, shouldn’t being respectful to everyone be more important? Doesn’t self-value mean more than appearance?
I was listening to a song by 2pac called “Keep Ya Head Up.” It was about issues in life, people’s insecurities and the importance of having respect for others. When I heard this song, I thought about how people think that their appearance is more important than self-value. Lil Wayne also made a song called “How to Love.” It stresses the importance of having self- esteem and seeing the beauty in one’s self.
I personally like the words, “don’t judge a book by its cover” and “don’t judge someone on how they look.” Self-value is more important than appearance. Someone could appear unattractive and his or her personality can make him or her beautiful or vice versa. Some people say “gotta dress to impress” which is fine, but I say, “it is the inside that counts the most.”
Kenneth Arnold Jr. is a sophomore at Stanton College Preparatory in Jacksonville, Fla. He enjoys skateboarding, composing rap music and aspires to be a writer when he is grown.