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Forums > Social Chat > Subculture vs. Mainstream

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Another rant/interest in opinion type thing.

Again, PWB and I were out today. We stopped in a shop known for catering to subculture fads and trends, mostly punk-goth-esque stuff.
PWB and I shop there alot, but I usually get stuff for my shows, or the for fun stuff, not items to represent a lifestyle.

And every time we go in there, one of the clerks inevitably treats us rudely. I don't know if they take our interest as making fun of them, but just because I am not wearing the leather spike collar does not mean that I am not interested in many of the items. In the past three months I filled my frequent shopper card enough to get a discount, if that says anything. One of the guys in the store was trying on dresses and skirts. I made a genuine opinion about like one skirt on him over a dress and three people got put off by it, as if I was picking on the thought.

Here's the kicker. These are the kids who chose to present themselves as "living on the fringe" and ridicule people for judging them without knowing them, and yet this is what they were doing to us.

I got the same treatment in a tatoo parlor, and even sometimes in business meetings when they expect me to walk in looking the part of the strung out artist, and I show in business attire.

I am really perplexed by this obvious contradiction in behaviour and was hoping for others to share thier experiences and insights.
Thanks all for listening (and hopefully sharing).

Love to all, no matter what you look like!


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK


Astar
member
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.
Member Since: 8th Nov 2002
Total posts: 1591
Posted:Some of the rudest most elitist people you will find are the ones that consider themselves on the fringe and constantly preach about fighting conformity and having tolerance for things diffrent.


Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13919
Posted:Hypocracy is an equal-opportunity behavior.

I once saw a bumper sticker that said "I am funkier than thou." It was clearly a joke, but that's exactly the attitude I run into a lot. OK, so I look more like a frat boy than a lot of the people I hang out with. I don't have piercings or tats or dreds or anything else. I dress pretty conservatively. Great. I'd love to have a big old piercing sticking out of my upper ear, but I can't because I have professional obligations to meet. But my friends see who I am on the inside.

I went to the video place the other day (it's a local independent video store with a both a counterculture and LGBT theme to it) and I was still wearing my white coat from having just seen a patient. I got theee sterraaangest look from the girl behind the counter when I walked up and checked out two anime films.

People judge you on how you look. I just learn to deal and to be confident in my own appearance and to hell with what the rest of them think.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura


poiaholic22
member

Member Since: 22nd Dec 2002
Total posts: 531
Posted:I think John Lydon (bka Johnny Rotten) put it best when he said "The punks ruined it by adapting to a uniform dress and attitude".This was in reference to the punk scene circa 1977-78 in a film documentary about the Sex Pistols called "The Filth and The Fury".

For me the punk scene showed me the door to my individuality however,I have noticed that a lot of so called punk rockers think that being "punk" means that you're supposed to have a bad attitude and crazy hair and shop at Hot Topic.Punk is about being yourself.End of story.

On the topic of judgemental people,if I had a camera so you all could see some of the faces people make at me when I walk by them with the mohawk all done out and the labret spike.I'll have to get myself a camera one of these days.

Though one of my favorite mohawk moments was in NY.I was walking to a subway station and a guy walking behind me had one of his kids walking with him.Well obviously the child was enthralled by my appearance and said something but the part that still makes me smile was the father saying to him "You see that.That's not a no-hawk,that's a mohawk!". God I love having a mohawk.



s-p-l-a-t
member
Location: Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Member Since: 8th Mar 2001
Total posts: 383
Posted:I saw a bumper sticker the other day that also said 'funkier than thou'!!!!

Damn...they must be allll over the world.. *wondering how many ppl actually own that bloody sticker*

I also frequent shops that seem to have a 'dress code' sometimes... and I've not really had a problem with this much at all (to my knowledge... I'm rather scatter-brained though so prolly wouldn't notice if someone was worried that I didn't look a certain way)

However... *once* I did notice... and I was all dressed up business like as well (data entry temp job required me to look 'smart') .. noticed the shop attendants just weren't as friendly as they normally were.

It's terrible they would go to the point of being *rude* though?? Maybe having a bad day?

I know a punk chick in Briz, Mike, who actually has gotten around in a white lab coat splattered with 'blood' (red paint) just as a thing to do. She had a green mo at the time, and is the kinda chick that always seems to have a manic expression on her face so needless to say stood out a bit in some areas of the city. (Not many blood splattered white coated ppl to blend in with out on the street e.g.)

Anyways...just some thoughts ..


The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.- B.B.King


Astar
member
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.
Member Since: 8th Nov 2002
Total posts: 1591
Posted:Heh how much of it is about individuality and how much of it is about getting attention?


Miss Ruby
member
Location: Darwin............
Member Since: 13th Feb 2003
Total posts: 44
Posted:DISCLAIMER: all stereotypes mentioned in the following post are not judgements on the poster's behalf, just included to simplify.....


I live in a suburb of Brisbane that has a bit of money around, but also a large "alternative"/feral element. I have worked as a waitress in a few cafes in the area, and in this job you get to learn a bit about people.

There are the 'snobs', who are monied, bored and very exclusive in who thay will associate with, the middle people (I think of myself in this category) who aren't particularly concerned with appearances, and the ferals who, as you say are supposedly living a lifestyle without judgement.

The snobs look down their pointy little noses at the ferals, consider them 'dole bludgers' and the bane of society. The ferals feel the same way towards the snobs, consider them to be missing the point because they are just following society's standards.

I find it incredibly amusing that the snobs and the ferals appear to have the least in common, yet act in an identical way! The ferals are just as cliquey as the snobs, with their "don't even bother talking to me unles you're hardcore or have connections" attitude.

And us in the middle just carry on our unexclusive lives, getting the best of all worlds!

Knock yourselves out!


...a little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men...

Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.


PK_
PK_

Lambretta Fanatic

Member Since: 20th Dec 2001
Total posts: 4991
Posted:You've all seen what i look like by now. go figure i face this situation on a daily basis, in the street on the train, in shops.... where ever i go and who ever i meet i am faced with many coments and remarks about things that arnt really that bad.

if you go and dig out syphers tattoo thread that was presant about a month ago, i posted a link there and you can see what i used to look like and what i faced on a daily basis.
gotta make this point for you all now.... things may be different or acceptable in each country.


PK.

"To be an angel, one need not have wings.
In giving love there is an equal grace.
Nor need one seek the aura in the face,
As love unveils the beauty of all things."

*Francois Couperin.


thingeymajig
member
Location: London
Member Since: 14th Feb 2003
Total posts: 43
Posted:We have a similar shop in Oxford UK where I am studying. The girls behind the counter give you the dirtiest looks and often refuse to serve you if you don't look goth enough for them. (I go in there to buy piercing jewellry, but am not a goth)

The thing is, that I don't think all goths/alternative fashions etc. are like that,
i.e. that the attitude goes with the lifestyle. The problem is that you often get very insecure people in all walks of life, but depending on your lifestyle it depends where you encounter them. I don't agree with generalising anything, I know lots of punk rockers who are in it for the music, and I know people who are in it for the pretension. i.e. are trying to conform to an image so that they aren't judged as themselves.

We all know an asshole when we meet one, we don't need to pigeon hole them, just feel sorry for them not being able to be themselves.

xx


....so does it come with a hat?


Kali
member
Location: Berlin, Germany
Member Since: 29th Apr 2002
Total posts: 577
Posted:I've experienced this a lot in the subculture shops in LA and for the most part I find it really annoying and off-putting but at the same time kind of sad. It seems to me that a lot of these people just have a chip on their shoulder from being made fun of as little kids. But so what? So was I and it made me appreciate it when someone that wasn't part of the subculture I hung around with showed an interest in mine. My thing is I know who I am and what I like, so I don't have to walk around with all my shit on display all the time. I think a lot of these people are angry and insecure and just want to shun the society that they feel shunned them. Way to really show people that goths and punks and all those others aren't really assholes. (sarcasm)

I don't know what to say. It just seems that a lot of the people that are really into playing a certain role or having to identify with a subculture generally know themselves the least, don't step outside their groups to consider other possibilities, and consequently don't understand other people that do. I think it just goes to show that ultimately prejudice is a form of ignorance that can exist in every lifestyle. Bleh. Its kind of ironic the way that this group mentality has developed even amoung people that pride themselves as being individuals. I think it shows how much people need to feel accepted and loved though.

That's why places like HoP are good though, so people can get to know each other outside of their own groups and all that kind of stuff.
(I just wanted to end that on a more positive note because I was depressing myself a bit with my earlier stuff.)


Beauty is the conscious sum of all our perversions.-Salvador DaliHope without action is hopeless.


Aalathea
member
Location: Massachusetts, US
Member Since: 30th Oct 2002
Total posts: 80
Posted:hey, thought i'd ass my two cents.
i frequent goth clubs here in boston. and i normally dress quasi-goth. but on the days when i don't, i can tell i'm not as accepted by the same people.
it appears to be a widespread problem with the subculture forming its own culture, and instead of denying the mainstream becoming just an anti-mainstream, with all the prejudices and stupidity that goes along with the original.
while i really hate this, i try to forgive people their behavior. i think it must just be human nature to group together with others like yourself, and i guess even the ones who try to deny this tendancy ultimately succumb to it. though i've noticed that the goths or whatever you'd call them who i'm close friends with are not at all like this. i don't know if that says something about the people i associate with or if it means that they are in general not really as exclusionary as one might think.
the weird thing is that its sort of hard to define goth in any complimentary terms. so when people don't know you and sort of feel the need to represent their group to you, it can really only end in disaster.
my bf keeps threatening to wear his grateful dead tshirt next time we go out goth dancing.
it will be very satisfying.
by the way, anyone every seen the card game Gother than Thou?
its an excellent stab at stereotypical goth behavior.



Jello
ambiguous
Location: Mpls, MN, USA
Member Since: 29th Jan 2002
Total posts: 646
Posted:It's great how both extremes make you feel inadequate about who you are and your appearance. You'll never be counter culture enough or fit the norm enough, and if by some odd chance you are, you'll be all alone on that end of the spectrum. People will be like, woah, he/she went to far. But if you were to lighten up a bit they'd be like, yeah, what a poser, not going far enough.

People are just odd that way. I'd like to say that I'm above it all but I'm not. In certain places I often see people that look a bit out of place and wonder what they're doing there. And every once and a while I look at my own image and wonder if I'm up to the standards, if I have a right to be there as well.


_________________________________
Fuzzy Dice.......................................


Astar
member
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.
Member Since: 8th Nov 2002
Total posts: 1591
Posted:Leliel and kali I totally agree.



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