What if not conforming were the ultimate cliché?


A couple of weeks ago, I spent about half an hour at the newsagent’s, flipping my way through the glossy pages of the higher end fashion mags.

They all have something in common: they pride themselves on their unique outlook, their unique style, their unique models, etc. So be it: twins are unique, in their own similar sort of way after all.

For the past three years, the unique look (for girls in western metropolitan areas) has been a bohemian- 60s baby doll- rock- 80s trash mash up. The shorts paired up with stockings are slowly being phased out by stilettos. Podiatrists and chiropractors world-wide breathe a sigh of relief as the recession drifts away with the incoming tide of twisted ankles and spinal injuries.

Also, if you happen to not have trouble with your eye-sight, I recommend you give your retina a swift poke with an ice-pick: retro- frames are all the rage, don’t you know?

Then there’s the more urban (or suburban depending where you live) look: designer track suit and limited edition runners, or something of that nature. I’m not sure, I think bling may have come and gone, or may even have migrated to boho-trash quarters.

These looks, along with the timeless rasta/ bongo look, V-neck and blazer look, ‘Euro-trash’ fur coat look, are not so much ‘unique’, or new as they are means for individuals of acknowledging the codes of a social group.

This is where I get patronising: by following these codes, individuals are demonstrating their adherence to the common beliefs and values of this group and showing their desire to be seen as a part of it. They are conforming to established norms.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Not that I am in any position to judge even if there was something wrong with this. I wear jeans and bathe. I’m sure this has met the general requirements of a social group out there, and that its universal chairperson has chalkedup one more for its global membership figures.

This diatribe was brought on by a comment made on a Bruce Springsteen performance, saying that the ‘The Boss » had a lame and conformist stage presence. Someone else pointed out that Lady Gaga (ugh) is better. I set out to prove that Springsteen was conforming neither at the time, nor would he be considered particularly conformist by today’s standards.

But is it worth it? Need I point out that he just seems to be doing his own thing? Need I ask since when doing your own thing and not adopting a clearly identifiable un-cliché (and therefore Uber cliché) attitude is proof of a conformist attitude?

I shan’t. I will simply politely agree to disagree. And find out if membership to that social jean & soap -loving group entitles me to any benefits.

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