Selling a "fashion item" that's a symbol for cutting is not only irresponsible, but also insensitive to the vast number of people that struggle with the urge to self-harm.
Katy Crittenden, 18, first spotted this bag at a Hot Topic in her hometown of Oakland, CA. "When I first saw the purse I laughed because I thought it was so ridiculous," she says. "After we left I realized how suggestive it was. It made me really angry, because as someone with a past cutting habit, I know how dangerous and addictive it can be."
Some facts: Teens and young adults are at the greatest risk for self-injury, with skin-cutting being the most common form. And a recent study reports that 46% of 9th and 10th graders have performed at least one act of self injury, including 14% who have cut or carved skin*. (Are you reading this, Hot Topic CEO?)
Dr. Esme Shaller, a clinical psychologist at the University of California at San Francisco who treats adolescent self-injurers, has this to say: "Cutting is not an edgy statement -- it is a serious behavior that people resort to when they are suffering. Things like this purse trivialize what hundreds of thousands of people are trying to overcome."
"I don't understand how a huge company would want to sell them," echoes Katy. "They either don't even realize the message they are sending or they don't care and want to profit off of it. I think it is seriously irresponsible, on a moral and on a business level."
Who would buy this? Well, the bag -- on sale for $11.98 -- has sold out. Are you upset about this as we are? To make sure they don't restock, please go to the Hot Topic website and write to them.
*Klonsky, E.D. & Muehlenkamp, J.J. (2007). Self-injury: A research review for the practitioner. Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session, 63,1045-1056.