Walking down the corridors of the mall on a Friday night felt more like skipping a few seasons and landing on Halloween.
All around me were teens dressed in Scene, Punk, Emo and Goth. Now most parents know what Punk and Goth are, but very few understand the world of Scene and Emo.
Years ago, my daughter was traveling through the self-identity maze in which she conjured up all types of styles and looks that definitely sent me to the cyber world typing in HELP! Teens with an Identity Crisis – STAT! All I knew was that there was a fast metamorphosis taking place in front of me and I needed to take action.
However, my daughter was able to keep me up to speed and explain quite a bit about why our teens were turning to these emotional based lifestyles and wardrobes, including herself.
Although some look very different from others and some look the same, they all carry with them something in common – emotional baggage. That is, they all start out wanting to be accepted by their peers. The lie is that many still don’t receive that acceptance which further isolates or leads them into more serious identity issues.
To help you understand, I have defined a few of these sub-cultures in order for you to comprehend the foundation and image that they are portraying. With this awareness, a parent can have more insight to deal with each identity. Since most parents have a basic understanding of the Punk and Goth world, I will only focus on the lesser of the known in today’s society.
Scene – Introduced in Britain in the late 90’s, it has traveled into the U.S. since the year 2000. Dressed in very vibrant and assorted colors along with florescent and neon, they represent more of the happy-go-lucky fun person that dresses to the mood of the music that they are into at that moment. Everything is better when it is bigger – bows, jewelry, sparkles, added in with some gangsta junk and cartoon characters. Their clothes styles showcase hip hop, emo, preppy and glam. Skinny jeans is a must. Colored hair is essential – especially the bright colors. Tattoos and piercings are popular among this group. Many confuse the Scene and Emo sub-cultures because of their clothing similarities. Their personalities however tell a different story. Like groupies, they all do the same thing simultaneously. Music genre is punk pop, hip hop, indie pop, and glam rock. Bi-sexuality is also more common among girls in this group although some are not truthful and instead claim to be this because it will give them more acceptance and attention. Some of their favorite songs/bands are Blood on the Dance Floor and Brokencyde.
Emo – Short for “emotional”. Most are viewed as very depressed teens that self-harm. They dress in skinny jeans and have dyed- black emo hairstyles often covering their face. They can dress in black, checkered or plaid with hints of color here and there.
Both genders wear very thick black eye-liner. Each day they live off of the highs and lows of their depression like any other teen with growing hormones, they however take it a step further by using their depression as their life expression of broken-heartedness and gloom. Although teen boys have more of a tendency to be shy, girls however can be ruthless and mean at times. Emo music usually tends to be screamo and heavy metal. Emo’s are extremely loyal and stick up for each other. Many believe in eating right and like to follow a vegan diet. Self-harm is common among Emo’s but not all do it. Bi-sexuality and gay lifestyles are known to be among Emo teen boys as well. Again, some proclaim sexual lifestyles just to be accepted but it is not always the case. Anime is their favorite pastime as well as hugging their ripped up teddy bears, drawing broken hearts and expressing their views on a society they hate.
Taking the time to understand each of these cultures will help you as a parent on how to address these issues in your home. Many parents think it is just innocent dress-up or a mini identity crisis, but I can assure you that you will be confronted with something way more serious than playing a costume party. This type of behavior affects them physically, mentally, psychologically and spiritually, especially when it comes to understanding their own identity or falling into an identity that could harm them.
If you notice that your teen dresses to the description of what was mentioned, don’t panic. Instead, spend some time with your teen to really get to know how they think and what their participation is in the group they are following. Many participators of these groups do not participate in a leadership capacity but more of a follower in order to be accepted.
Although many do not continue in this behavior after high school, there will be some who will have great difficulty in their future because of not really knowing how to identify themselves socially and in society. There is also a tendency for teens to change their identity from one sub-culture to another. I have seen and experienced that quite a few times with my daughter. Realizing who her real identity was in Christ, she had no need to follow anymore cultures. She became much more happier and peaceful with who she was and doesn’t struggle with who she is suppose to be anymore.
If you come upon and meet someone who is involved in these culture groups, please remember, they are hurting very deeply and need love and grace extended to them as well as offer of help if they ask. Because some of them come from broken families, they usually separate themselves from others outside of their group so they won’t be vulnerable to more hurt. Your constant and unconditional love will be the very thing that will help break the chains that bind them in their life and show them what real love is and their true identity.