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Cambridge and its wonderful yet dooming teenage subcultures.

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Introduction

Cambridge and its wonderful yet dooming teenage subcultures Upon moving to Cambridge in September 2002, one of the first things I learned which intrigued me the most of was of the well-established teenage subculture system. By this of course I am referring to the 'labelling' or terminology of segregated groups of teenagers, based on the way they dress, the music they listen to and their attitudes to society. In London the categories were vague and not well known - you were either normal or you were a 'goth', and most people would then ask 'what's a goth?' Cambridge life I found fascinating because the typology was so advanced and specific, and so fundamental in the social workings of almost everyone there aged between twelve and eighteen. The little-known and often misused term 'goth' which I had had to make do with in London was replaced by the clearly defined terms 'greb' and 'goth' (this time with its correct meaning and usage); and the mass of 'normal' people were classed as 'barries' and 'shazzas', which are names exclusive to Cambridge as far as I know, as the general term in surrounding towns like Ely and some parts of London is 'townie'. ...read more.

Middle

For these types of people, weirdness and randomness in appearance come before attractiveness and certainly before fashion, and the types of music, though all immensely varied within the subculture, all tend to be the more obscure, non-mainstream and slightly more controversial kinds. Whereas the people who think of themselves as normal get their influence from the media and buy clothes from normal shops. These are very generalised stereotypations, and I could go into a lot more detail in describing the many differences between kinds of teenagers, but...well I'm just not going to. Even though when I moved to Cambridge it was almost immediately decided that I was a 'goth grunge greb hippie punk' or something along the same lines, I still maintain, or like to think, that I don't have a label and won't be categorised. This isn't just another 'I'm an individual I want to stand out from the crowd' clich´┐Ż. It is for a completely different reason, which is simply that much as I was impressed by Cambridge's brilliant class system, I don't actually think that one subculture is any better than the other. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is the condition of adopting a name which is already in existence and has already accumulated a reputation. Categorising is all very well, and will be inevitable as long as people continue to communicate with ideas and words, but one of the frustrating side effects is the restraint it puts on people's view of their own freedom. I think that having things such as categories, stereotypes and subcultures is great fun, and is also in a sense necessary for small societies and society as a whole, but my warning is for those who may be tempted to believe that categorisation is necessary for each person as an individual - and we mustn't ever let names influence our styles or identities, for if we did we would be forgetting that concepts always exist before their names, and never vice versa. Ask Plato. We should never feel restrained from buying a certain thing, or going to a certain place, simply because of the 'type of person' we have arbitrarily decided to label ourselves as. Manipulate your label around who you are, and not who you are around the label you have chosen to burden yourself with. ...read more.

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