What Happened to Identity?


I have heard a lot recently about young people lacking identity. I have heard a lot recently about radicalisation of kids that are looking for identity. There are scholarly articles explaining the social and cultural problems in our society and lots of psychoanalytic articles explain the why and wherefore. But, are they supposed to ‘fit’?

Skinhead Rockers 2I am talking about ordinary folk. When I was a lad I never felt part of society, in fact I didn’t want to be part of it. I was a Greaser, or if you prefer a Rocker as were all my friends. The enemy was the Skinhead. Later I became a Ted and the enemy became the Suedehead. Each group was united by fashion and music. We had our leather jackets, t-shirt, black drainpipe jeans and crepes or creepers (shoes). They had their Ben Sherman shirts with braces, Harrington Jackets, Levi’s and of course the Doc Martin Boots. We loved Rock’n’roll and they loved Reggae, Two tone and Ska.

Suedeheads      Ted   Before that we had Mod’s and Rockers and after that the New Romantics, Punks, Goths and on it went until; nothing. What do they have today? I see the odd Goth or Punk. But, they have nothing to belong to. What was the point of the rebellion of the 50’s and 60’s and the creation of the ‘Teenager’ which didn’t exist prior to the 50’s. Kids are supposed to be rebellious, they should want change and identity. I guess you have to feel sorry for them, maybe we sucked the teenage rebellion dry and left them with Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian. OMG 😉


About charliecountryboy

Part-time Carpentry Assessor. writer, runner, guitarist. Curious about life and all those wonderful people in it.
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18 Responses to What Happened to Identity?

  1. lol…I love the last line. I wonder if things are changing so much faster today than in decades gone by that the dust never settles enough to form group identity? On the other hand, identity seems expressed in more prevalent tattooing (at least where I have lived for the past 10 years). Now you have me thinking about this…interesting observations:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting comment, thank you. I think the music has quite a bit to do with it. There is no tribal music anymore and no strong fashion statements. The 50’s R’n’R singers wore leather jackets or drape suits. The ‘mod’ singers of the 60’s wore the fashion of the day, had beehives etc. The glam rockers wore sparkle and make up which progressed to the New Romantics. and on it went.When Brit Pop emerged then the bands went out of their way to wear their own clothes, such as Oasis, Blur and Pulp etc. The ‘image’ disappeared The youth have been disenfranchised in a way as musicians just wear whatever they feel like wearing, so there is no one to copy.Plus the music is not strong enough to be different enough (does that make sense?) There are no anthems. But I guess they only have doh.re, me far so, la,te and doh. to work from 😉 You have a point with the tattooing though that is a kind of tribalism.


  2. LOL. I see a lot of kids with their hats on weird and their pants down to their knees. I guess that’s the new rebellious fashion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, interesting about the pants down to their knees. I tell my students how that came about and it doesn’t usually last long. In American prisons if you were someone’s ‘bitch’ you had to wear your pants so your backside was showing. In that way others knew you were taken 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kerbey says:

    And all along, I’d just thought Morrissey made up the word “suedehead.” That shows you much 80s “new-wave” Americans knew LOL. Our teen identities were all tied up in music. When we were headbangers, we had long, feathered blonde hair and denim mini skirts and stiletto heels. Then boom, a year later, we had short black hair and listened to Depeche Mode and the Cure and dressed all in black. We all bought the same albums and danced three nights a week at clubs. It was fun, no matter how shallow, to belong to these groups. The thing is now there are no lines to cross. At the elementary school, I see 6 yr olds with fauxhawks and purple hair, Moms with bra straps showing and tramp stamp tattoos from long-ago Spring Breaks seeping into their bums. What is there to rebel against if Mom looks like that? I guess that’s why so many of my generation were preppies in our early years, rebelling against our tofu-eating hippie parents. BTW, all the boys in your pics look like they are trying very hard to be tough. 🙂


    • Really interesting points about parents. My parents were old school my Dad went from short trousers to long trousers, that was it. As you say no boundaries, I’ve even seen sexy lingerie for toddlers in shops; why anyone would want to do that to a child is beyond me. I don’t know if you had Suedeheads, they were a progression of the Skinhead, longer hair, crombie overcoats with a red handkerchief in the top pocket, Sta-pres trousers and sometimes an Umbrella (which some sharpened to a point!) and Bowler. I didn’t cover all the fighting, but yes they all wanted to be tough and there was a lot of fighting particularly on the council estates. The skinheads were generally racist and there was a lot of ‘Paki-bashing’ where I came from (Bradford) rockers tended to be more diverse and so there was conflict everywhere. Thank you for commenting 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. thefeatheredsleep says:

    This is truly, truly brilliance!!! Yes!! I have asked this before many times! We are so homogenized now! Dystopian sci fi seems the rule, being different for articles deriding it. Such a shame and how wonderful that you name it so eloquently. Well done!


  5. zipcoffelt says:

    I watch my grandkids play with cell phones, computers, or other singular activities. Yes, they get to go to sports and music and camp, but nothing holds their attention like screens. They are being ‘socialized’ for isolation. Sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes I missed the technology didn’t I? When they are playing interactive games such as Call of Duty I guess they believe they part of that tribe, but as you say they are in fact isolated. Thank you for taking time to call by 😉


  6. markbialczak says:

    Maybe they’re smarter at cloaking their identity from old guys like us, Charlie. Or, better yet, maybe they’re not tying it to such obvious things in mass-market ways. Now that would be the sign of an individual rebel.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very interesting comment Mark, like the fact that not having an image is in actual fact an image?
    😉 Thank you


  8. My kid’s generation is becoming an entire population of brain dead zombies. Just watch them walking around with their faces plastered to a smart phone screen. It makes me want to scream because I tried, I really did, to bring them up differently. Just how do you sell, thinking for yourself, when letting others, (parents, friends, government, etc.) think for you is so much easier?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Trinity says:

    My thoughts exactly, very well written! On top of that we don’t have much to listen to either! Where are the new bands we can identify with? Charisma and individuality are dying as well… maybe these are the signs that we facing our end as humans!! Lol Very boring times we are living since mid 90’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have to agree there, since the band explosion in the 90’s with Oasis, Blur, Pulp etc it seems to have got very ‘samey’ Thank you for sharing 😉


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