If your daughter is wearing one of these bracelets, it may be cause for concern. When is a fashion accessory popular among children more than a harmless fad?
That is the question that has been posited across the U. According to the whispers, the colorful jelly bracelets so beloved of grade- and middle-schoolers convey sexual intent and are used to arrange liaisons of an adult nature. Jelly bracelets are thin rubbery bands which can be worn — singly or interconnected — on the wrists, ankles, or around the neck.
The bands initially acquired sartorial cachet in the s when Madonna was seen sporting them, but fashion has its ebbs and flows, so that level of popularity was not maintained and the bracelets lost their appeal for a time. In the late s the bracelets came back into vogue, and they have gained additional status in the s as everything 80s has become cool again and new pop stars like Avril Lavigne and Pink are seen wearing these baubles. Recent years have seen several occurrences of administrators in elementary and middle schools banning or warning against the wearing of jelly bracelets by students: In October the Alachua Elementary school in Florida banned children from wearing the stylish accents in response to rumors of the bijous conveying sexual meanings.
Students at that institution said they used the gimcracks only for innocent fun, but their principal chose to inveigh against this popular form of jewelry. Officials at each of these schools have taken this stance not because the acts signified by various colors are being carried out, but to protect children from premature sexualization. Premature sexualization of young people is a valid concern, which is why parents are up in arms over the messages the bracelets purportedly communicate.
Such codes and rumors also serve to desensitize kids to the physical side of love, to lose awareness of its importance and specialness as sex becomes at least in their minds, thanks to this undercutting a mundane, meaningless activity one would properly engage in with anyone, even those of short acquaintance. Though the present incarnation focuses on cheap colorful bracelets, sexual themes that existed thirty years ago employed pull tabs from soft drink cans and labels from beer bottles.
Why any gal would be compelled to swive with a random boy for a pull tab was not a question that seemed to occur to the fellows, but then what has logic ever had to do with teen and pre-teen sex fantasies? At other schools a pull tab was said to be exchangable for a kiss, and in some versions of the rumor the condition of the item being presented dictated its worth: I remember that you would get more action if you got more of the top [of the can] off.
If you could tear it off such that the lid that folds down when you open the can comes with it, you got a blow job or a lay, or something. If you managed to tear the entire top off very difficult, but not impossible. Provided the labels were intact, guys could claim their rewards from any girl they liked.
Another bit of beer label lore also centered on the notion of a desirable outcome as repayment for, or recognition of, the skill it took to remove the label without tearing it. Some teen boys saw it as a sexual good luck charm, believing an untorn label indicated its remover would get laid soon.
Conversely, teen girls viewed such accomplishment as a proof of their purity, intact labels proclaiming virginity. How much simpler and less painful things would be if the one hungered for had to honor a coupon for a specific romantic reward when presented with it.
Yet it is not solely romantic yearnings and social awkwardness that give wings to such rumors — burgeoning sexual desire also plays its part. Boys caught up in the throes of hormonal tumult fervently pray for easy access to sex, so such a rumor falls upon their ears like rain on a parched field. Likewise, girls at that same stage are trying to come to terms with their impulses.
One of the ways they do so is by abdicating responsibility for their urges to someone or something else, leaving them to preserve a particular view of themselves. The concept of being required to have sex would hold certain appeal because such obligation would take the decision out of their hands.
While it is true kids of the new millennium have a harder time holding on to their innocence, so too do their parents. The adults who write almost always say their kids are never going to wear those bracelets again; on the other hand, almost without exception, the middle- and high-school kids from all across the U.
Aguilar, Alexa and Kaitlin Bell. NBC Channel 10 [Philadelphia].