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.

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  • http://americancannibal.org/ American Cannibal

    666Eye<3PeerPressuredFoursomes666

  • Anarchy Pony

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

    • Andrew

      I guess Manson really wasn’t born with enough middle fingers.

      • Simon Valentine

        black holes have middle fingers as well as ‘hairs’
        damn power vacuums
        “that’s a Dyson mf!” responds the guy duped into slavery

      • Gjallarbru

        Manson, the guy with too much makeup? Yeah, he was sure dangerous to young minds.

        • Andrew

          A middle finger is more dangerous than a gun.

        • kowalityjesus

          And then it was so ironic how collected and intellectual he was in interviews. Who would have thought a mind as great as Nietzsche could inspire “The Dope Show.”

    • mannyfurious

      The funny thing is now that I’m turning 30, I’m already hearing a bunch of people my age complaining about “how bad these kids are these days.” I’m like, are we that fucking old that we can’t even remember how demonized we were? Everybody can talk shit about Manson all they want, but he was a much more interesting provocateur than, I don’t know, Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus.

      • Anarchy Pony

        Do kids these days even listen to music that’s actually subversive?

        • echar

          It’s out there, I am not sure if they are listening to it though. Maybe Death Grips? or this song…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQnvBiygT9Q

          • Anarchy Pony

            Where’s the anger? Where’s the indignation? At best there’s a little contempt in there. Needz moar PUNK ROCK!

          • kowalityjesus

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZlzAlPOWBY it may be a well-worn mold, but it came out 5 years ago.

          • Anarchy Pony

            That is some retro shit right there. Sounds like 80s punk.
            I like Strike Anywhere these days.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cNukU1QkUg

          • kowalityjesus

            I guess they got the name from the matches? I wonder if they’re from Ohio. I haven’t hung around thusly for quite a minute.

          • Anarchy Pony

            Richmond Virginia actually.

          • echar

            Anger literally makes people stupid. What’s more subversive than hedonism?

          • echar
  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

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

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

    • Anarchy Pony

      Totally is. What is it?

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        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.

        • Anarchy Pony

          As an arythmic american I just can’t relate.

  • BuzzCoastin

    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

      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.

  • Simon Valentine

    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

      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

        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

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

        • Gjallarbru

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

          • kowalityjesus

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

          • Oginikwe

            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

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

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      i like your new picture

      • Simon Valentine

        it’s, uh, integral to my new groove :0

  • Damien Quinn

    Who going to take the responsibility for my intoxication now?

  • Hadrian999

    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

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

  • Oginikwe

    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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