Wannabes, Goths, and Christians Post

This reading centered on how Wannabes, Goths, and Christians create their identities as a way of dealing with their problems as young adults. The groups are more alike than one would think as they are influenced by issues connected to gender, race, and class. The author seeks to show “the ways that young people use elements of subcultures to create individual and collective identities, and then how they use those identities to solve problems” (3). The Goths are “former Geeks” who renounce the fake, happy mainstream existence in favor of a more “freakish” and dark, “authentic” identity (5, 42). A definition of their sexual lives resembles the definition of queerness or queer sex as “they have sex in ‘freaky’ ways: they aren’t monogamous or strictly heterosexual, they endorse bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism; they have threesomes and group sex” (5). All that description needs is a discussion of nonnormative gender and you would have an adequate definition of queerness. However, even though the Goths reject American consumerism, puritanical sexuality, and attempt to reject sexism, they are still more privileged than their non-white or lower class peers. The production of their “own white middle-classness” and “hipness” made “a space and image that is exciting, even notorious, without integrating its long-term socioeconomic disadvantages” (29). The Goths can live polyamorously and against social norms without really damaging their social existences, a privilege people of color never have. The identity of Goth gave these shy, dorky kids more of a social standing by engaging in acts that lie on the fringes of acceptability. The sexuality of Goths is largely queer with a large amount of Goth women identifying as bisexual. Very few Goth men identified as bisexual, but the “courage” they would have to play around with bisexuality had the affect of making them seem more manly within the Goth community, whereas it was kind of expected that Goth women would be bisexual so there is more pressure for those women to identify as such (72).

The Unity Christians are kids who found themselves in a similar situation as Goths where they did not “fit in” well. This experience is far different from that of evangelical Christians in the South where they dominate. The Unity Christians strive to achieve “goodness” for themselves as “goodness…is an identity, one that can be achieved, used to solve social problems, and used to think of oneself as a deserving person” (89). However, this “goodness” often gets equated with being “boring” both by their peers and their own anxieties about seeming boring (90, 97). These Christians craft their own identity based on being “safe and restrained” (99). They have anxieties regarding their sexuality, so they embrace abstinence to put off confronting those desires under the guise of waiting until marriage. Self-control is seen as a necessary virtue to be a successful Unity Christian. Emotions are central to the Unity Christians because the “right emotions prove not only the authenticity of one’s Christianity but also the moral worth of one’s self” (111). They attempt to appear happy all the time, but they also seem “fake” because of this controlled happiness.

 

 

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