That is so punk

Though social media may have reduced it into an aesthetic, the alternative lifestyle has always been more about beliefs than appearance

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Kaylee Hoguet

People who consider themselves alternative usually express it through social media posts, but what people consider “alt” has its roots in punk-rock—and in social politics.

Alayna Majkrzak, Staff Reporter

Loud music fills the sky just as patches fill the holes in their black jeans. Their patches and buttons reading “COEXIST” and “Black Lives Matter.” Their makeup dark and bold as they walk down the street, the platforms of their shoes hitting the ground, catching the attention of those around them. 

Being alternative has become a more known style of fashion due to its presence on media like TikTok. But, there is more that goes into being alternative than just dyed hair and eyeliner. Features like music preference, fashion, and political beliefs also go along with different alternative subcultures.

Punk-rock and riot grrrl are some of the most influential subcultures in the alternative community. Grey Siminak, who identifies as a part of the punk community, explains that being punk is not all about the way you look. “The punk subculture directly correlates with progressive movements, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, and advocating for LGBT and women’s equal rights,” Being silent in the face of an oppressive system, he says, goes directly against punk ideologies.

The punk community has gained many members and evolved as a movement since its start-up in the 1970s. With its focus on progressive values, helping others, and giving oppressed groups a voice in the world.

“As long as you believe in the ideology that oppressed groups deserve to have a voice, then you should be welcomed with open arms,” Siminak says about the punk community being accepting to people who want to explore Punk culture. “Besides, the punk style is super cool! Who are we to stop someone from dressing the same way?”

The ideologies of punk culture are also deeply intertwined with those of the riot grrrl culture, however, riot grrrl started as a statement against the misogyny of the very group with which it is so often associated.

This movement started in the early 90s as a feminist movement, It encouraged women to get involved in male-dominated punk and hardcore scenes. Riot grrrls were painted tough and gritty, and it proved their ability to be seen in the Punk movement. Their core beliefs center around the equality of women to men. Their goal was to show that women were just as capable of creating punk music as men and that women deserved to be seen and listened to in society just as much as the men they are often compared to. 

Riot grrrl music is usually loud and aggressive. Bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile and Mommy Long Legs take center-stage in the riot grrrl scene. Riot grrrl principles go against the societal norms that women are held to. The movement is all about rebelling against society. It shows women’s individuality, and how they don’t have to deal with the things men do or say to make them feel belittled because men do not define a woman’s worth. 

There are many alternative subcultures out there, including goth, grunge, and scene. Many of them are very accepting with open arms. But, it comes down to more than just how you dress and what music you listen to. It is also about the beliefs you share among the community and believing that silence in the face of oppression is siding with the oppressor.