We put a lot of effort into the way we look. We dye our hair, get tattoos and piercings, work out every day, practice guerrilla dieting, dread our hair or chop it all off, cake our faces in makeup, rip the hair off of our bodies… and for what? So we can be accepted by certain people.
I have been an active participant in many subcultures for as long as I can remember. Appearance, regardless of whether or not people will admit it, is valued more highly than anything else, even in the so-called “enlightened” communities. You don’t believe me? Take a look around at the next festival, beatnik poetry reading, or punk rock show you attend. Everyone looks like everyone else.
I, on many occasions, encounter people who say I am not a hippie because I look like a model. I encounter people who say I am not a real artist because I don’t have tattoos. And most of those people are apart of society’s subcultures- the very people who feel judged (by everyone else) on the way they look! Laughable, isn’t it?
It is the person who makes the person, not their appearance. Anybody can buy an outfit, get pierced or tattooed, go to the salon, etcetera. I’m a hippie because of the way I live my life. I do not have dreads in my hair or wear expensive hippie attire. Buying expensive clothing to fit in is actually very un-hippie. I do not cut my hair to look like a boy nor do I cover my body in tattoos, but that doesn’t make me any less an artist. I am an artist because I create art. Plain and simple. The rest is surface level.
This is an issue I fear will never go away. As long as we practice judgement, it will continue. As long as we keep teaching people that they need to buy this, pierce that, dread this, or tattoo that to fit in, we will perpetuate our race of insecure people who judge others for not looking like us and condemn those who don’t look the way we think they should.
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