chapter  1
15 Pages

‘More than the Xs on My Hands’: Older Straight Edgers and the Meaning of Style

WithRoss Haenfler

This chapter shows that for most older participants, straight edge becomes less of an embodied stylistic display and more of a personal philosophy or expression of lifestyle politics. It explores how older adherents of straight edge—a clean-living youth scene associated with hardcore punk music—interpret and display their straight-edge affiliation as they age. Straight edge emerged as an offshoot of the US punk scene, specifically from Washington, DC, hardcore band Minor Threat, whose 1981 song ‘Straight Edge’ provided the movement with its name. In the course of her fieldwork, the author observed a trend repeated in a variety of music scenes: younger kids new to straight edge and hardcore spent the most time, effort and resources fashioning a straight-edge style, ‘looking the part’ of a straight-edge kid. While all older straight edgers expressed that straight edge had become a more personal philosophy, they differed in how best to put this insight into practice.