Self-presentation and Clothing - Personal Experience

Essay by spoonman419College, UndergraduateA+, May 2004

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A knee peeks through a gaping hole where jean fabric has been torn away. Ratty pant-cuffs grind under my filthy shoes as I casually strut my way down the sidewalk. The sound of a wallet-chain banging repeatedly against my leg gives rhythm to movement. A shirt, far too large for a child of nine, drapes down sloppily to my sides, presenting the name of the music that influenced it all, Nirvana. As the initiators of the "grunge" look of the early 90s, Nirvana appealed to the masses of bored youth and exploded as a backlash to the 80's superficial "me" generation. It happened to be my time, and I utterly embraced the concept.

The whole point of the "grunge" look was that I did not care what other people thought about me, so I presented myself in a manner that was generally deemed unacceptable. The irony of it at that age, though, was that I actually wanted them to notice my shaggy, unkempt style and misinterpret it, because I knew better.

In the beginning, I did not really have an understanding of sociology; I just knew that my cool, older sister was doing it, so it must have been worthwhile. Eventually though, I presented myself as such even without the greater influence of a sister, and it grew to be a part of my self-image. People would stare, gaping at me, and think I was some sort of social degenerate, but I found satisfaction in knowing that they just acted on ignorance. Because of this, my "grunge" phase led to a greater grasp of social interaction for me while growing up, and it taught me a valuable lesson about misconceptions.

As I aged and powerful social cliques began to form with my advancement...