We sat positioned around a small round table. Some of us ordered beer, a few others tea. We all shared the veggie pizza. Vibes are good on Thursdays, no matter where we are, because being with friends and sharing our week’s disappointments and triumphs is one of the points. It all started with one friend’s need to have more “girl time”, and grew into a tight-knit “club” of ladies who love and support each other.
Last week we talked about high school. The consensus was that we all hated it. As each of us went around the table, we all had a resonating comment. We all had friends, but happened to be friends with most everyone. We all had friends in lots of different cliques. One girl had a best friend whose goal was to be in the popular crowd. My friend refused to make it her goal because popular kids always had people they picked on and made fun of, and my friend never wanted to be cruel to anyone.
Recently I ran across something on the internet that sums it all up. We just wanted to belong. Like any other kid, we girls just wanted to be accepted as the individuals that God created us to be. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to only having an elite group of friends, but wanted to find joy with all kinds of people. I think one of the easiest ways to fit in is to be nice to everyone. Like my girlfriend expressed, she didn’t want to exclude anyone. It was this ad that I saw online:
Some of you may be familiar with the Italian clothing company Benetton. They were known for their photo-journalistic ads that promoted equality, love and made it their social responsibility to keep the world informed of global happenings. They were my heroes in the early 90’s. My bedroom walls held a few photos of Christian Slater and Ethan Hawke ( I was a teenage girl after all!), but mainly displayed these magazine ads: (Yes, I specifically remember having these exact ads on my wall):
Their ads depicted a variety of shocking subjects; most of them were comments on religious, racial or sexual conflicts which made Benetton more socially involved. Many ads showed news photos of real, high-drama situations: a man dying of AIDS or a ship being stormed by immigrants.
Then Benetton’s advertising photographer, Oliviviero Toscani, along with graphic designer Tibor Kalman and Karrie Jacobs founded COLORS magazine in the early 90’s.
COLORS was a quarterly magazine that maintained a global outlook in its coverage of issues like AIDS, hunger and music, plus everything in between.
I love the company (they make exquisite sweaters!) because they ultimately want unity in the world. Their tagline is “United Colors of Benetton; All the colors of the world.” They brought things like racism and the AIDS epidemic to light in a way that no other fashion retailer had done previously. Through their ads, they were able to make us think about more than just the clothing they were selling. It made us aware that things were happening in the rest of the world that we knew very little about (this was before the explosion of the internet).
Here’s the point: The common thread in our girl’s group is the one friend who started it all. She had all of these random friends from different parts of her life-work, church, music, etc., and she invited all of us to hang out together. Even though our “clique” of artists, musicians, mothers, writers, travelers and teachers assembles weekly, we all have friends outside of this group. Many years after high school and we’re still not limiting ourselves to one herd. There are so many fascinating people in the world-why confine yourself to only knowing a few?
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