In class we were asked whether we identified with any particular subcultures – be they punk, Goth, surfer, biker, skinhead, what have you. The truth is I don’t really think I fit into one of these well-known subcultures. However the moment the question was asked, the Scene subculture sprung to mind. Several of my closest friends had been through a Scene period, and I knew the culture well. However, when I really thought about it, I only knew about it because of my friends. Scene is not a subculture typically found in media and popular culture. This is interesting as one of the most prevalent subcultures in popular culture is the Goth, which is very similar to the Scene.
My former-Scene friend described the subculture as trying ‘very hard to be bubbly quirky versions of Goths and emos’. Their fashion tastes range from ‘tiaras to ripped stockings, leopard print and 1980s band T-shirts. Thick eyeliner and elaborately coloured, back-teased hair are mandatory.’ (Marcus, 2008).
According to TV Tropes, there are three types of Goths: The Lone Psycho, Perky Goths and Gloomy Goths, the latter being the stereotypical Goth most often found in fiction. Most Goths in fiction will be presented as eerie pale skinned brunettes who wear only black, leather getups and listen to loud depressing music.’ (2013). These ‘Gloomy Goths’ are extremely common in popular culture. S. E. Smith cringes at most depictions of subcultures in popular culture; ‘depictions are usually wildly inaccurate and misleading, since they’re developed by people who aren’t actually members of those subcultures’ (Smith, 2013). This relates, for example, to South Park’s depiction of Goth kids, in the episode ‘Raisins’ (2003). Stan becomes depressed enough to join the Goths, and they spend all their time standing around, flipping their hair and sighing. They seem closer to emos, since they lament about their sadness a lot. As TV Tropes says, ‘real Goths are mostly harmless and tend to have a (frequently dark or self-deprecating) sense of humor and irony […] which their fictional counterparts largely lack.’ (2013).
While Goths appear commonly in popular culture, Scene kids do not. Perhaps because Scene kids are a relatively newer subculture – while they’ve been around since the mid-2000s, in comparison to Goths, who have been around for decades, they’re still new. It’s even lacking in the media, aside from articles relating to music and bands that have been associated with Scene. Caroline Marcus wrote an article in 2008 in the Sydney Morning Herald about Scene, interviewing three teens who were part of the subculture. This is one of the only times I’ve been able to find Scene in the media.
It will be interesting to see if Scene continues to evolve and thrive as a subculture – perhaps in ten years it will have become a part of stereotyped popular culture too.
Marcus, C. 2008, ‘Inside the clash of scene culture’, Sydney Morning Herald,
Goth, 2013, TV Tropes,
Smith, S. E. 2013, ‘Subcultures in popular culture,’ This Ain’t Living, http://meloukhia.net/2013/02/subcultures_in_pop_culture/
South Park, 1997-, television programme, Comedy Central, America.