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Hot Topic Thinks Cutting Is Cool

I didn't even know what "cutting" was until around middle school when a friend of mine casually called a girl in our grade a "cutter." When I asked her what a cutter was she told me it was a person who cut themselves, usually with razor blades, because they wanted to make a statement to get attention. I'm pretty sure she also mentioned that cutters are always goth/emo. She was wrong in her assessment of what cutting is, but it's getting more and more clear where she was steered astray.

I don't think cutting is an issue that we're completely culturally aware of. Whereas eating disorders are becoming increasingly understood as exactly that - disorders - rather than strictly ways  for girls to get attention or direct results of narcissistic body obsession (although eating disorders are still a serious problem, believe me), cutting hasn't really reached that place in our social consciousness yet. We still see cutting as something related to the cutter's personality rather than a response of theirs to what is usually emotional trauma.

Hot Topic clearly didn't get the memo. They're selling a purse advertised as being "shaped like a razor blade." I guess they consider cutting to be seriously badass, which is basically what Hot Topic brands itself as. So now cutting is not only no big deal at all - it's a fashion statement.

According to I Heart Daily (who posted about this purse as well), teens and young adults are at the greatest risk for self-injury with skin cutting being the most common form. A recent study even reports that 46% of 9th and 10th graders have performed at least one act of self injury, including 14% who have cut or carved skin. And as KidsHealth.org reports, cutting is most often preformed by girls. If you're interested in reading some teen perspectives on cutting, I recommend checking out this website. While I could easily rant on why cutting is bad, bad, bad it's probably a better idea to hear about it from somebody who has actually been through it.

In the end, though, this purse is just another example of how big fashion companies need to be way more responsible in the products they put out there. It's not about being overly "politically correct" - it's about the message this company is sending to countless teens. I'm not saying a teen looking at this purse is going to trigger their eyes to glaze over while they almost incoherently mutter, "I think I'll go cut myself now" and wander off to find a razor. But it's just another way of reassuring teens who are already cutting or who are already susceptible to it that what they're doing is not just okay, but cool.

Cutting is not fashion, it's a serious problem. Apparently, that actually needs to be stated.



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Julie Zeilinger
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