Subcultures: Individuality or Conformity?

When Goth comes to mind, it is pretty safe to assume black makeup, safety-pinned ears and nose, dark screamer music, a smug attitude, and black appeal, which is usually safety-pinned together. It is easy to picture someone who is dressed in Goth, just like we can do to the same for a Prep, a Dandy, emo, hipster, or even grunge.  We can assemble a picture in our minds of what each person is wearing.  The hipster will be riding a bike over the Williamsburg Bridge, arm sleeve tattoos, wearing a flannel, oversized beanie, and skinny jeans with a pack of Marlboro Lights hanging out from the back of their jean pocket.  It may be easy to picture these subculture styles and piece together where their from and why their wear what they wear, however in Goth: Identity, Style and Subculture by Paul Hodkinson, he brings up the point of, is Goth individuality or is it conformity? Hodkinson, talks about the raise and fall of the Goth subculture, what it feed off from and how it innovated itself to what it is today.  Goth may be one way for many people to express who they are, just like an emo or prep would, but the question still stands if it is individuality or is it conformity?  Take New England for example, many people grow up going to their summer houses in Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, or somewhere along the east coast, growing up with universities like Brown, Boston College, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Yale knocking on their doorsteps, mother and fathers that went to these schools.  All of this feeds into how this area is shaped, and it becomes who these people become.  I am not saying that all of New England people are a bunch of preppy or waspy people, however I rather say that the environment in which we all grow up in influences us and might conform us to who we are at the present time.  Now, this might change depending on if we move or are influenced by other hobbies or interests, like moving to New York City from LA.  One could see their wardrobe might change from bright fresh colors to more blacks and darker blacks.  So are we really being who we are nowadays, are we expressing our true individuality?  Or are we just conforming to what our environment is, or who lives there, or just everyone else is wearing?  Do we truly know ourselves and are we expressing who we really are?

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