Youth Subcultures 2020

Swedish Heavy Power Metal Band Manimal – AFM Records

Since my return to the US in 2020 and most recently after the partial lifting of Covid-19 social distancing restrictions, I’ve become aware of youth subculture groups in my community. I live in an Oregon college town with a diverse youth population. Each subculture has a decidedly unique “style”. I wanted to take photos, but didn’t.

Grime Subculture London – The New Yorker
Sneakerheads + Hypebeasts –
Haul Girl –
Tattoos and Piercings

While waiting behind a young goth couple in a shopping line, I noticed them eyeing me with caution and must have seemed like a relic…. They didn’t appear to have any visible areas on their body not covered with tattoos or piercings. I tried not to stare, while remembering how I squirmed years ago when getting my ears pierced and wondering if piercings to the tongue, eyebrows, and nose were painful. While waiting in line, I overheard their loud discussion of body “cutting”. Wanting to avoid being judgmental, I didn’t react or flinch. Today’s subcultures seem severe to me, but then, so are the times in which we live. sigh

Tattoos and Piercing –

I’m not a prude or stranger to the punk subculture which emerged in the UK and US during the mid-1970s – who could forget Sid and Nancy? The 1970s are sometimes described as a “pivot of change in world history, focusing especially on the economic upheavals that followed the end of the postwar economic boom”. At the time, I was living in San Francisco, a “city heavily affected by drugs, prostitution, and crime, and known for hippies, radicals, and a greater tolerance of diverse cultures”.

Youth Subculture China –
Lagos Youth Culture – Highsnobiety
Oregon v Berlin

Even during a recent three-month visit to Berlin, the subculture garb I saw didn’t rival Oregon – clearly a unique place in its own right. I confess to purchasing studded black leather boots during my time in Berlin, but stopped short of shaving my head or getting an offbeat hairstyle to blend with the locals. Berlin subculture fashion has tamed over the years – not so much on “the other side of the pond”.

Alternative Subcultures & Trends In the Last Decade –
Billie Eilish Nail Art – harperbazaar
Seapunk Fashion – Wikipedia

Online Subcultures

Internet articles I read expounded on examining youth subcultures online. They considered how “things had became blurred and confusing, compounded by the fact that online subcultures seemed to come cloaked in layers of knowing irony”. I felt the same, and wondered if what I was reading and looking at was “a joke or meant to be taken seriously”.

1970s Punk Fashion – Preloved

The conclusion was that “there’s plenty of stuff out there that seems weird and striking and creative, but there’s something oddly self-conscious and non-committal about it”. A final thought – “perhaps that’s the result of living in a world dominated by social media, where you’re under constant surveillance by your peers”.

1970s Punk Fashion – Pinterest
Goth Subculture – rebelsmarket
SKINPunk Weekend Berlin 2020 – gaytravel4U
Subculture Groups

At this moment in time, these appear to be some of the major subculture groups, apologies if the list is outdated. Surely there are more. These subcultures leave me a bit dazed, and some might have come and gone before I ever heard of them. Click on the categories below to read more:


  1. Garrulous Gwendoline

    Tattoos and piercings are very popular with my grandchildren – even when they are behind in the rent. And my daughter-in-law has full sleeves and back. It no longer signifies an economic class, but it does make you think it’s not the smartest thing they’ve ever done. At least hair can grow back (and I am forever chopping mine off) or piercings be removed.

  2. Don Ostertag

    I guess my grandkids, whom I always considered to the norm, aren’t. Not a tattoo in the lot, and the only piercings is in the girls’ earlobes. What I don’t understand is when a state begins to reopen, tattoo parlors are in the first list.

  3. lancesheridan

    No doubt ever society has had subcultures, viewed upon by ‘relics’ as being out of place, not fitting the norm. They’re expressing themselves differently, not akin to our so-called standards. An exceptionally written piece!

  4. Charlotte Hoather

    Interesting post I love people watching in the Cities I’ve lived in Glasgow and now London, I especially enjoy hip areas like NottingHill and Carnaby Street, I like to look at artistic body art but I wouldn’t have any because I get bored and you cant change them and I’ve heard its really painful to get the tattoo, I nearly cried when I had my ears pierced at 16 so I wont be in a rush to do that again either, lol.

      1. Charlotte Hoather

        I miss Glasgow but I don’t miss the winter weather, the shopping there was fabulous and Loch Lomond one of my favourite places to visit, the Kelpies are one for your list too. I did a tour of Scotland and went to the Shetland Islands so much space up there.

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