Can We Drop The Prison Aesthetic?
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Can We Drop The Prison Aesthetic?

There's nothing funny or 'edgy' about prisons, alright?

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This past weekend NovaDance hosted its annual event in which members ask others for donation to help children with cancer. Some of the ways they do it include a full day and night of dancing for as long possible. On the second to last day, they had people 'locked' and were asking people to donate money as a form of 'bail'.

You see where I'm going this. The prison aesthetic is almost everywhere- dance groups, movies, music, you name it. Most likely you've probably seen people dress up as police officers and prisoners and it's all good and fun right? It's cool, Right?

It's not. At least in this country, it's not. 'Prison' aesthetics is not funny or 'cool' when police brutality exists. It's not funny when mass incarceration is an ongoing issue. It's not funny when the United States has about 2.3 million people in the prison system. It's not funny when an unproportionate amount of prisoners is made up by black males.

(And yes, I know, I'm not black but that doesn't mean I can't notice these things.)

It's not funny when a majority of prisoners have a mental illness and the conditions there only exacerbate the symptoms. It's not funny when prisoners once they've been released, more than half will return. It's not funny when prisoners have essentially lost all of their rights as citizens even after they've served their time.

What's the point of me listing all of these things? My point is that there is nothing funny or quote-on-quote edgy about prison. But when people make it so, the ones who see that don't see mass incarceration or the US prison system in and of itself, as an issue. The people who put on these 'funny' or 'cool' portrayals of prisons out there are also frequently white people, people who are less likely to be arrested and convicted for small crimes like cocaine possession or petty theft. These are also the individuals who probably have the money to afford bail in the first place. The ones who are affected don't have these privileges and it's not their fault.

Look, I get that talking about these issues can be stressful. Mass Incarceration is a very political issue (especially in comparison to children with cancer) and it is heavily linked to to the racial tensions and conflict the United States has had from its very formation, but that's no excuse to trivialize it, especially if it isn't an issue that directly affects you. It's like cancer, something that you can fight against even if it hasn't affected you. Basically what I'm trying to say is just let go of the prison aesthetic, please. There are plenty of other aesthetics you can take on that doesn't trivialize political issues- like I don't know, the marine aesthetic, the fairies, woodlands, I don't know. Just look at it this way- you wouldn't make cancer or children with cancer look 'cool' or 'edgy' or 'fun' so what difference is with prisoners?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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