We’ve got the goon squad, and we’re coming to town….
— David Bowie, “Fashion”
When I was 13, I had only the vaguest stirrings of what would eventually make me into a feminist. But I was brutally aware, as only a 13-year-old can be, of the strict social caste system among kids. I was aware that I was not thin or pretty enough to be one of the cool kids, and I was too poor to afford the clothes that signified status. I grew up in a ghetto section of a large California city, part of and surrounded by poverty. If you weren’t from around there, you might think that the poor kids wouldn’t care as much about having the right clothing as the rich kids, but you’d be wrong. Designer clothing was EVERYTHING. To the point where many of our parents sought out cheap designer knockoffs for us at the swap meet in the hopes of helping us fit in. If you showed up at school in a dress from K-Mart, everyone knew it and would mock you mercilessly. They always knew where the cheap clothes came from.