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Snopes needs your help! Youngsters signal sexual availability with jelly bracelets. When is a fashion accessory popular among children more than a harmless fad? That is the question that has been posited across the U.
According to the whispers, the colorful jelly bracelets so beloved of grade- and middle-schoolers convey sexual intent and are used to arrange liaisons of an adult nature. Jelly bracelets are thin rubbery bands which can be worn — singly or interconnected — on the wrists, ankles, or around the neck. The bands initially acquired sartorial cachet in the s when Madonna was seen sporting them, but fashion has its ebbs and flows, so that level of popularity was not maintained and the bracelets lost their appeal for a time.
In the late s the bracelets came back into vogue, and they have gained additional status in the s as everything 80s has become cool again and new pop stars like Avril Lavigne and Pink are seen wearing these baubles. Recent years have seen several occurrences of administrators in elementary and middle schools banning or warning against the wearing of jelly bracelets by students:. Officials at each of these schools have taken this stance not because the acts signified by various colors are being carried out, but to protect children from premature sexualization.
Premature sexualization of young people is a valid concern, which is why parents are up in arms over the messages the bracelets purportedly communicate. Such codes and rumors also serve to desensitize kids to the physical side of love, to lose awareness of its importance and specialness as sex becomes at least in their minds, thanks to this undercutting a mundane, meaningless activity one would properly engage in with anyone, even those of short acquaintance. Though the present incarnation focuses on cheap colorful bracelets, sexual themes that existed thirty years ago employed pull tabs from soft drink cans and labels from beer bottles.
Why any gal would be compelled to swive with a random boy for a pull tab was not a question that seemed to occur to the fellows, but then what has logic ever had to do with teen and pre-teen sex fantasies? At other schools a pull tab was said to be exchangable for a kiss, and in some versions of the rumor the condition of the item being presented dictated its worth: I remember that you would get more action if you got more of the top [of the can] off.