Monday, September 22, 2008

More than a label: Why what you wear or who you're with doesn't define who you are by Aisha Muharrar

I had hoped to add this to my library collection and was very disappointed to find it out of print. I've been looking at various "issues" types of non-fiction for my teen collection. So far we've gotten Lauren Greenfield's THIN (horrific and chilling, but important) and I've ordered several others.

More Than a Label is a collection of surveys, interviews, and commentary on "labeling" in a high school setting. Now, it's not the last word on the subject, and there are quite a few things I disagree with - to start with the subtitle. If clothes weren't part of what defined us, why don't we all wear the same thing? And I think your friends do define you. The problem is when these things are the ONLY thing that defines you, or when they define you to the exclusion of all other elements of your personality.

However, it's a very authentic survey of different views on labeling - not all negative. It's written by young adults but isn't amateurish. It covers a wide range of various labels and prejudices and why they're harmful in an open, accessible way.

Verdict: For a more in-depth discussion of teens as consumers, I suggest Alissa Quart's Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenages and for a practical look at teens as independent adults I've ordered Grace Llewellyn's The Teenage Liberation Handbook. Muharrar's book is a good supplemental resource to these.

ISBN: 978-1575421100; Published April 2002 by Free Spirit (a library bound edition is possibly still in print); Borrowed from the library

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