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Who Were The Skinheads? Essay

1826 words - 8 pages

Skinhead culture today usually brings up images of violent or racist gangs with shaved heads, however skinhead subculture had more humble beginnings. Skinhead roots began in the mid 60’s in Britain, when two other subcultures mingled to create skinheads: ‘Mods’, who were mostly middle class Britons that took much of their fashion tastes from the states. They were deeply influenced by the music scene and for the most part enjoyed R&B, and blues music; The other half of the emergence of the skinhead subculture was the ‘Jamaica rude boys’, who frequently listened to reggae and were also influenced by fashion, in which they wore nice clothes and suits . Self- image was very important to the skinhead subculture. The namesake of the culture came from the shaved head, in which a theory arose that it was done to avoid hair pulling or hair getting in the way during street fights. The look of short hair, collared shirts, jackets and boots gave uniformity to the culture and identity with each other . The Skinhead’s way of dressing represented both a ‘caricature and re-assertion of solid male, working-class toughness’. This was due to many factors linked to a decline in working-class communities. One example was the large scale immigration into these areas, mainly the East End, by poorer immigrants, who were perceived by the skinheads as destroying their communities and taking their jobs. In order to deal with this, the skinheads were involved in reclaiming territory. Many skinheads started to feel undermined by the middle class and decided to rebel against them in a bid to feel accepted . The skinhead culture was revitalized in the 70’s, and was largely influenced by the punk music phenomenon. This was when branches of the skinheads starting breaking off into smaller subcultures that would become known for soccer hooliganism, racist ideals and other violence including “neo-Nazi” ideas . These are the images of the skinheads that come to the minds of many when they see a group of people with shaved heads. Although popular culture has labeled skinheads as racist and violent groups with political impact, their history in embedded in a subculture of working class individuals with a taste for soul music, and a desire for identity .
The origins of the skinhead movement in Britain began in the 60’s. The Jamaican rude boy subculture blended with the British mod subculture. The Jamaican rude buy culture was defined at hooligans that were really cool and wild, with some violent and reckless behaviour. Rude boy culture has been portrayed in such songs as “007 (shanty town)" by Desmond Dekker . Rude boys often listened to reggae music and are fashionably dressed in nice clothes. The term Mod is short for Modernist. Mods had grown out of a Post-war Britain when the youth had more disposable income . Mods generally listened to modern jazz and dressed in sharp modern clothes. It grew from those who wanted an identity beyond their class distinction. This blend of...

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