I was browsing the outerwebs of Tumblr in search of pictures for my other blog that focuses on overcoming self-harm. I saw this. And now, my blood is boiling. The Out For Blood Bracelet by That's Pretty Jewelry is described on their page as "Strikingly bright and strangely enticing, this solid brass bangle is generously coated in blood red enamel to give a beautifully realistic feel. - Matching necklace and ring available." Really? Just really?!
I may be out on what my former Finnish teacher would call a coyote-attack sort of rant, but I just could not pass this by. In our society, self-harm is still very much stereotyped, looked down upon, misunderstood as a desperate "emo" cry for attention, or completely ignored as something disgusting and inhumane. Just like any other worldly issue, it ought not to be toyed with. Self-harm is a dangerous addiction, performed for various sorts of reasons that always, and I mean always, stem from real, difficult problems in one's life.
I use the word addiction mainly because that is how I myself have experienced it, and it is how my friends who have done it have described it as. The infliction of pain upon oneself creates a boost of endorphins, as does any wound. This infliction, then, can result in this momentarily feeling of content of wellbeing, or just a balanced-out stage between good and bad where you are comfortably numb. This is what one gets addicted to, be it an outlet or a way of reducing stress or a way of punishing oneself, you get caught up in the moment. It is a real problem. And healing from it, overcoming it, takes so much time and effort. So much. I can tell you from experience.
Thus the marketing of jewelry in resemblance of a self-inflicted wound, to me, is high inappropriate and hurtful. It is (like the world is) laughing at what is a dangerous and sad part of so many young lives. It is wiping away the years of struggle we have to go through in living with it and overcoming it. All of this hurt, this pain, this confusion, this shame of having to hide your body; all of this hiding, all of this loneliness that surrounds a self-harmer is scrunched together into "the beautifully realistic feel" of this bracelet.
What's next? Are people going to dress up for Halloween as self-harmers? Cutters? Emos? I wandered around google for a bit more and, surprise surprise, found a comment on Pinterest by a person called Mike Merrill stating:
Interesting bracelet- Out For Blood Bracelet by That's Pretty - I think the emo kids are going to love this
What worries me more is what I saw in another glimpse of advertisement for the product over at MakeDirect, stating that: Pushing the boundaries of traditional concepts of beauty, their designs are strategically focused to force us to reconsider "pretty".
So now you're telling me blood is, after all, pretty? That I shouldn't have been ashamed and afraid of people seeing my cuts and that the ones who told me that they were disgusting were just, secretly, afraid to admit they thought they were beautiful?
I doubt the world needs more grounds for stereotyping. I know I may be ranting, but I had to give my two cents on this. What do you think?