What Was Peer Pressure?

666girlsRemember “peer pressure”? Of late it has been largely discarded as the go-to means of explaining/demonizing youth behavioral patterns, but The New Inquiry offers a look back:

Parents have mostly given up on peer pressure as a paradigm defining element of molding their teenagers. Adults now do not believe in peer pressure so much as media pressure (“Miley Cyrus made my daughter a pot-smoking slut” instead of “Peer pressure made my daughter a pot-smoking slut”) or technological pressure (“My son doesn’t get any sleep because he stays up all night texting his friends”), fully embracing the awful politics of moral panics that dominated generational relations for the entire second half of the 20th century.

But what parents and educators so often labeled as peer pressure was actually the disease-like spread of ideas. It’s a degree of symbolic freedom and movement that made adults uncomfortable. The truly horrible things that happen to teenage lives are more the result of socioeconomic reality (gang violence), the failure of the mental health state (drugs, alcohol, shooting up the school), the horrific patriarchy of larger adult society (rape), or the all-around idiotic idea of the “school” as we construct it than they ever are the sole province of a teens en masse fearing social rejection.

…Comic books, movies, malls, feminism, Doom, gay-straight alliances, Tibetan Freedom Concerts, Woodstock, Woodstock ’99…grinding, Miley Cyrus, World of Warcraft, computers, cellphones, smartphones, Minecraft, Ray Bradbury, Beyoncé, vegetarianism, Marilyn Manson, Dance Dance Revolution, and teaching evolution have all at one point or another supposedly so threatened the total destruction of American youth to the degree that they warranted national media coverage.

37 Comments on "What Was Peer Pressure?"

  1. 666Eye<3PeerPressuredFoursomes666

  2. Anarchy Pony | Mar 6, 2014 at 11:18 am |

    I remember when Marilyn Manson was destroying my generation. It’s a miracle any of us survived at all.

  3. Minecraft -AND- DDR? I’m doubly screwed.

    Next someone’s going to tell me that Osu! is evil.

    • Anarchy Pony | Mar 6, 2014 at 12:12 pm |

      Totally is. What is it?

      • free rhythm game with user submitted beatmaps(and a system in place to keep them from being shitty on average). Most of it seems to be japanese music, and that might bother me if it didn’t fill my “rhythm game” void after DDR and Rock Band went out of style.
        Short answer: Elite Beat Agents for the computer.

  4. BuzzCoastin | Mar 6, 2014 at 12:03 pm |

    peer pressure, media pressure, group pressure
    welcome to the herd

    when you’re a teenager
    nothing is more important than fitting into the herd
    when you’re an adult
    the memory of conformity is persistent
    it dogs its victum like a cowboy wrangles a steer

    • Oginikwe | Mar 9, 2014 at 6:27 pm |

      Not all teenagers want to “fit into the herd.” Some realize the value of being different and appreciate who they are as individuals. The world is changed by those who dare to be different: being like everyone else is easy.

  5. Simon Valentine | Mar 6, 2014 at 12:44 pm |

    it’s that ‘adults’ … people … are slaves that hate their lives and when something might reveal truth to them, they react like trained slaves or mercenaries. or was it peer pressure that made them do it? my, i seem to have forgotten, counting so many bodies like sheep. fuck your lawns.

    • Gjallarbru | Mar 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm |

      Yup, many adults freak out when their offsprings don’t conform to their generational concepts.

      Strangely, I remember no pressure from my parents, my peers, the media or any groups. I never cared to mind such things. I would just fit where I found a place, and leave when there was none.

      I guess I didn’t try to step on that many lawns…

      • Simon Valentine | Mar 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm |

        lol lawns. twas an expression of a classical once-upon-atime such and such was a self-imposed thing, now people just get screwed over by absurd bullshit of the past morass, complaining about the state of things at the same moment they’re doing the things that keep the state that way.

      • kowalityjesus | Mar 7, 2014 at 12:42 am |

        we are brothers in archetype, which I could have guessed a while back

        • Gjallarbru | Mar 7, 2014 at 7:34 pm |

          That is very possible, although I would be unable to name that archetype.

          • kowalityjesus | Mar 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm |

            Maybe if Jung were still around… it is mighty esoteric, imho.

          • Oginikwe | Mar 9, 2014 at 6:25 pm |

            Could be the free spirit or the ugly duckling–it’s all about finding your “group” to support you and help you bloom while staying away from those who you to be the crossed-eyed cats that they are.

          • Gjallarbru | Mar 9, 2014 at 8:50 pm |

            Yeah, that makes sense. Don’t want to be crossed-eyed…

    • i like your new picture

  6. Damien Quinn | Mar 6, 2014 at 4:07 pm |

    Who going to take the responsibility for my intoxication now?

  7. Hadrian999 | Mar 6, 2014 at 6:51 pm |

    It’s funny, the kids are always so wise beyond their years, about to break apart the old order of the boring mindslave adults, and then 10 years go by and those cool kids are boring midslave adults crapping out the next generation of cool kids who are going to break apart the old order

    • kowalityjesus | Mar 7, 2014 at 12:40 am |

      well, its a sort of breaking and reforming, and an essential ingredient is naivety.

  8. Oginikwe | Mar 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm |

    It was. Thanks.
    I have to say, the part about the rise of heroin made my hair stand on end. But then, so does methamphetamine which is prevalent in my area.

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