For too long, say activists, the world has been engaging in an insensitive, even ruthless act of cultural appropriation by wearing traditional American blue jeans, an item of great symbolic value developed in California at the birth of the West.
“Every time I watch the news or a Netflix movie and see some punk-rocker from England or an protestor from Hong Kong wearing blue jeans, I just want to cry,” said Tom Higgins, a 56-year-old rancher from Oklahoma who wears the same Levi’s 501s that his granddaddy, and his granddaddy’s daddy, wore. “These urban hipsters don’t know what blue jeans represent to people like me.”
Since the advent of rock and roll in the 1950s and the explosion of youth culture, fashion-conscious people in many parts of the world wanted to get in on the hot blue jeans action without giving thought to what blue jeans mean.
“Blue jeans are more than just a pair of work pants that I can also wear to church as long as you pair them with a decent button-down,” Higgins said. “They mean that you grew up watching shows like ‘the A-Team’ and that you know what a Hot Pocket is, and how long it needs to be microwaved.”
“Between 40 to 50 seconds, at least on my microwave,” he added.
The continued widespread global disrespect of blue jeans are what prompted Higgins to create Stop the Cultural Appropriate of Our Cherished Blue Jeans, an organization dedicated to spreading awareness about the item’s place in American history and culture. So far, Higgins is the only member.
“If I can get one Bangladeshi teenager or Russian hacker to stop wearing jeans, or at least to do so in a way that shows respect to our culture – such as by making sure to listen to Bruce Springsteen at the same time – I will be happy.”