My musings on different political topics relevant to America today.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Segregation: by Kids for Kids

Youth culture, or should I say, youth cultures, are an interesting phenomenon.  Kids enter these youth cultures, which are tied together with their cliques.  Your identity is wrapped up in what you wear and what music you listen to, and your friendships are determined by this identity.  I will describe how kids fall into such a ridiculous arrangement in the first place, and why its asinine that its accepted as normal. Its segregation, intentionally fostered by kids for kids.  Individually, kids have good reason to play the game, find a clique, and adopt one of the myriad of pre-manufactured identities, but collectively it harms everyone involved.

 Kids go into cliches because they want to be accepted by their friends.  In addition, being part of a clique gives you much common ground with other members of that clique.  Say you are Emo (or scene or whatever its called now), then you will certainly find it easier to "click" (see what I did there) with another Emo person because you share much in common. You listen to the same music, like the same movies, watch the same shows, wear the same clothes, shop at the same stores, etc. etc. etc.  The list of commonalities goes on and on. 

Meanwhile, if you do not join a clique, life will be difficult for you.  Even if you have friends in a clique, until you conform, you will not feel at home.  You must adopt their fashion tastes and music otherwise the friendship will inevitably be weak.  Just as cliques give lots of common ground to those in them, they widen the chasm between those that are part of different cliches.  Cliques often share open animosity toward each other.  After all, their music, their clothes, and their activities are obviously inferior to your own. 

It sounds absurd when you point it out, but then why do so many actively engage in such ritualistic tribalism?  The dirty secret is that they do not feel confident enough as themselves.  They will pretend they are, because its cool to not care what anyone else thinks, but they actually do.  They care what their group thinks.  Its primitive, but its true.  What their groups thinks matters more than anything else.  Do whatever it takes to stay in, because acceptance is all that matters.  I mean, if a group rejects me, I will have to find other friends.  Not only will I have to find other friends, I will then have to conform to their standards.

"The Breakfast Club": a stupid
but hilarious 80's movie about cliques.
However, when you really get to the bottom of it, there is little difference between the different "youth cultures." They are all formed to satisfy that inner need for community in a savage world.  Your "gang" will always have your back.  Every clique hates every other clique because they are different.  Cliques perform active intentional segregation.  They intentionally separate themselves from each other.  It is ironic that America prides itself on ending segregation in the schools 40 years ago when students still actively segregate, without any legal prompting.  It is all the more ironic when one sees that all these groups are actually little different.  They are all composed of confused younglings trying to find their place in this world.  Besides their differences in fashion and music, they are basically the same.  They share the same frustrations, problems, and desires, yet they can't get past the shallow fads of the day for 2 seconds to realize it.

It is funny to think where all these cliques came from in the first place.  They never start with your average kid in high school.  That is a myth.  They are started by the collective fashion and music elite.  The cultural elites carve out niche markets and prey on the kids of this nation and their habitual stupidity for their sales.  No market is more exploited than teenagers, and the reason why? because they let themselves be exploited!  Kids will do anything to fit in, and all your favorite music labels and clothing stores know that.  They know they can get away with charging $100 dollars for a pair of jeans and kids will still buy it.  They know that all they have to do, is make what they sell fixed to an identity that kids identify with (or desire to identify with) and they will buy it.  See, these stores are not selling clothes or music, they are selling an identity.  

Kids have a high demand for these identities.  Its truly pathetic how easily manipulated they are.  Even worse, its pathetic that they think that they are acting on their own will.  That they are being "rebellious" or "doin their own thing" whenever they choose to buy the same clothes or listen to the same music as 30 million other Americans.  They are actively buying into the big money making machine.  They are actually on the side of big fashion and music, while their poor parents have to fight an uphill battle to knock reason into their kids.  We can only hope that one day kids will see the light that excluding people simply because they dress differently from you is just about the stupidest thing they have ever heard, and that buying jeans for $100 is idiotic.

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