Back when I was in middle school, I decorated my locker with pictures of *NSync, all my friend, and a paper flower that my crush had given me. It was actually pretty awesome, not gonna lie. But today, middle schoolers are putting my feeble attempt at locker-decoration to shame.
Allow me to introduce Nola Storey. Storey is an 11-year old student at Rye Middle School in New York. Her locker decorations go above and beyond anything I could have thought of. Her locker is equipped with a polka-dot chandelier, zebra-print wallpaper, and a lime green shag rug.
“I’ve had a bunch of people stop by my locker, and say, ‘Wow, your locker’s so cool,’” Storey said.
Other trends in the locker-decorating craze include motion-sensor lamps that turn on when the locker door opens, magnetic wallpapers, and furry carpets.
So why are middle school students so obsessed with having a cool locker? If you really think about it, it all makes sense. Middle school is a time when students start developing their own individuality and they need a place to show that off. Lockers are also one of the first tastes of real privacy that students have, so it makes sense that they would want to decorate this special space in a way that reflects their own personal sense of style. However, it is also causing even more drama in a world that already has enough to go around.
“What value is added to the school culture for some kids so privileged to have these types of things and other kids a couple lockers down to feel less than equal?” asked Deborah Kasak, the executive director of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform.
Another person who does not seem to be too fond of this new trend among young girls is Rachel Simmons, the author of “Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls.”
“[This new trend] exemplifies the mixed messages that girls get about being powerful in the world,” she said. “Now you can’t just go to school and put your books in your locker between periods; it has to become a showcase for your design skills. You become a homemaker in the hallway.”
Despite the possible psychological consequences, many parents are still buying these products for their students. One company, LockerLookz, was created by two mothers in Texas to meet this new demand for the “cutest stuff” that their daughters’ friends wanted in their lockers as well. Target is also expected to begin carrying these products in more of their stores.
“Parents don’t seem to skimp on tweens,” said Paul Buckel, the president of Magna Card, a company that caters to locker-decorators.
Melissa Kane is one parents who does not want to “skimp” on her tween daughter: “It’s a big deal going to middle school because you’re not in one classroom like you are in elementary school. Doing her locker just helped me ease my nerves a little bit.”
Honestly, I agree with Kane. Students are going to decorate their lockers; it’s just a fact of life. Unless the locker decorations are causing a disturbance in the hallway, I say let the kids do it. Who knows, we might have the next Nate Berkus in our midst before we know it!
Story via The NY Times. Image via LockerLookz.com.