Not long after the turn of the millennium, a trend began growing among American teenagers. The “scene” movement began, largely attributed to model, makeup artist, and singer, Jeffree Star. The scene kids style could be described as 1980s punk meets Alice in Wonderland. The primary characteristics of the scene kid style incorporate neon colors such as hot pink and teal which were popular in the 80s, zebra-striped clothing and heavy makeup (sometimes carrying a high resemblance to goth makeup) with heavy eyeliner and other accents which draw attention mostly to the eye.
When learning about the scene subculture, it is important to consider all aspects of the movement to answer this question and not just members’ fashion choices. Most scene kids have chosen a specific lifestyle which is represented and supported by how they present themselves physically. Clothing and makeup are selected using specific parameters set by the scene culture, which generally consists of mostly teenagers. It seems to draw inspiration from the previously popular emo, grunge, and skater teen subcultures, but with more glam. Hair dying, makeup, tattoos and piercings are accompanied by glitter and bows, skinny jeans and skinny ties. As with the teen culture genres of old, painted fingernails seems to be common as are multiple piercings, especially facial piercings. Styled hair, often a choppy layered cut with side bang on girls, and glamorized makeup is then combined with wearing more casual and less conventional clothing such as trucker hats, t-shirts with graphic designs or cartoon characters and, in a tribute to the preceding dark-mood-driven teen cultures, combat boots.
That same criteria is applied to all areas of the scene kid’s lifestyle including music preferences, phrases, and even recreational choices. The music most commonly associated with the scene kid is less than mainstream. Most of the scene music, including Breathe Carolina and Blood On The Dance Floor, fall into the electronic rock or electropop music genres in which synthesizers are heavily used. Other scene bands, like Design The Skyline, play metal music. While some music, especially that of brokeNCYDE, has been heavily criticized within both the musical and the literary worlds, scene youths listen avidly and attentively, absorbing the messages within the lyrics. The common theme in scene music, as well as in many of the quotes that are associated with scene culture, is one of being misunderstood or alone or in some kind of emotional desperation.
Common themes standout in the recreational activities of scene kids as well. Interests and hobbies of the scene kids include anime art and literature as well as anime-based stories and TV shows. Many scene kids participate in “cosplay,” a costume-based version of role-playing, and are heavily interested in music and entertainment such as theater. Scene kids live all over the internet. They are tech-savvy enough to know and manage all of the social media sites and are flooding those sites with selfies and scene-based propaganda including song lyrics and quotes which feed into their “cry-for-attention” teenage agendas.
The scene culture is often accused of having ripped off the emo trends of earlier years. However, members of scene culture pride themselves on the uniqueness and individual expression on which they claim the scene world is based. Scene culture originated from the 70s term “scene queen,” which referred to a heterosexual musician who dressed and acted as if they were gay. The term changed from “scene queen” to “scene kid” denoting that the majority of those who subscribed to the subculture were teenagers or younger.
Scene culture, because of the gender bending styles and cross-gender trends, is often very attractive to LBGT and LBGT-curious youth. In most teen cultures, only girls where heavy or colorful makeup. In the scene culture, both males and females alike wear makeup, dye and stylize their hair, and wear both male and female oriented clothing interchangeably. Scene creates an atmosphere which encourages exploration of a person counter-gender aspects and is accepting of people without gender bias, although other biases do exist.
So what are scene kids? They are young people who are seeking a means of self-expression which allows for their own uniqueness to be seen while breaking the societal constructs which feel stifling and limiting to their growing character. In other words, they are teenagers growing up and trying to figure themselves out as well as figure out the challenging and yet enticing world they live in. Scene is about acceptance as well as individualism. Scene kids are just creative young people sifting through life’s emotions in an outwardly, colorful, and spectacular way.