Straight edge is a subculture
whose members do not take alchohol
and do not partake in casual sex
. It is also common for members to refrain
from eating meat
(perhaps even going full out vegan
), taking modern medicine
(whether just pain killer
s, or all the way up to the point it threatens their life
), or taking caffeine
(although this is actually rarer than you might think). Many believe if you've ever been a regular user of drugs
/alchohol, or even if you've used them at all, you can't be a true sXer. I am straight-edge
but only in the base definition.
There are a wide variety of reasons. Some simply don't want to mess up their bodies. Some don't want the shallow, immature thrills these substances will give (almost all are under 25 or 30 so social drinking consists of drunken binges rather than a calm beer). Some want to keep their bodies, or especially their minds, pure and free from chemical influence, whether through artificial or natural hormone. Others believe these things are what threaten the natural/sane/balanced way of life, or that it threatens the enviroment too much (these are generally the most rabid and those that dont take any of the above substances except perhaps caffeine. They blame overpopulation especially on these things, with not a little truth to it). Some simply are rebelling against the mainstream universality of these things. Some have been hurt by drug use and want no part of it.
I am straight-edge but not really in the subculture. sXe culture is centered around hardcore shows. It is not uncommon to see a sXer at a punk or metal show but their home is hardcore. I prefer ska, skapunk and punk to hardcore. However, many non hardcore scenes have largish minorities of nonhardcore sxers (South Shore of Massachusetts is one).
Straight edge members generally wear a large black X on the back of their hands. This is a reference to the marks that clubs put on minor's hands to indicate they can't drink. The subculture has hijacked this symbol of exclusion into one of rejection (similar to the "We're here and we're queer" manuever). Many choose not to wear the mark, I am one of these, because of a lack of desire to show off. Others don't wear it because at gutter/street punk shows fights often break out between drunk punks and sxers.
The name is based on a song by Minor Threat