the punk movement
Iconic Status within the Punk Movement
Iconic status is normally given to a set of props that represent an idea within society. The concept of punk is still recognizable and alive in today’s culture, 30 years on. Many people perceive the idea ‘punk’ as an exaggerated stereotype, mainly based on image and music alone. However, the movement had more significance than a mere simulation. The few icons that I will discuss all contributed different elements to start off the punk movement and without either influence; punk wouldn’t have reached iconic status. I am mainly going to focus on the British icons, considering it is the U.K punk stereotype that is recycled in popular culture.
Section 1: typical punk image
The main iconic element of punk that is seen in today’s culture is the ‘shock factor’ and Do-it-yourself concept, that is why the cultural stereotype has to remain exaggerated and not fixed to strict images, but an idea.
This is best illustrated through various punk album art and television.
One of the best examples, is Adrian Edmondson’s character Vyvyan in the ‘Young Ones’. The purpose of ‘TheYoung Ones’ was to challenge the middle England ideology and portray the working class youth cultures in the 80’s. Vyvyan represented the simulation of punk subculture and therefore was exaggerated, the sitcom showed him sharing a house with other recognizable social stereotypes that were being ignored such as the hippies, immigrants, fanatics. etc
Vyvyan from the ‘Young Ones’
The dyed hair and extreme piercings were key signifiers within the punk movement
The studs are symbols of the ‘hardcore star’ this connotes the notion of anarchy and the hardcore punk scene
The over-sized pad lock and chain around his neck is an exaggeration of the fashion launched through the ‘sex pistols’, thus reinforcing the concept of anarchy
The ripped denim jacket represents the Do It Yourself image concerning fashion, http://www.newmatilda.com/ – 12/04/06
as an attempt to reject mainstream.
The slogans on his torn jacket: ‘hurt your dog’, ‘you are dead’
Denote the punks’ attitude and shock factor.
The importance of music within the punk movement can also be seen here, as Vyvyan wears a ‘Hawkwind’ band t-shirt, also reinforcing the fact that Punk originated from the foundations of
Rock and Roll.
The eye contact with the camera is the most threatening, looks aggressive this portrays the negative violent stereotypes of some punks.
Another image of Vyvyan also reinforces direct reference to the Sex Pistols, proof that Sex pistols are one of the key icons through music and art within the punk movement. The picture was taken from a punk website selling punk music and merchandise.
The Mohawk hairstyle is typically punk.
The ‘V’ gesture: symbolic code, meaning the rejection of authority, the establishment and the monarchy.
The style of the image is done in the same style as the ‘god save the queen’ art that sparked controversy through Britain. The ransom style lettering has connotations of a serious political message and anti media attitudes.
This recently released C.D cover, shows a photo of the stereotypical punk scene in London.
Showing that leather, bright hair and boots were the main fashion statements of the mediated punk culture.
Also the fact that this ‘Instant Punk Set’ exists, is proof that the concept of punk has been reduced to a mere set of props and therefore been given ‘cultural currency’ within society. Also portrays the similar image to the ones I have already discussed. www.akrondesign.com16/04/06
The punk sub-culture emerged from the underground in 1976. The main factors that contributed towards the punk movement were the economic decline in Britain and the ‘bland chart music’, disco was predominant at this time1.
1976 was a time of economic crisis, the British government had to go to the international monetary fund in Washington DC for an emergency loan in order to keep the nation running. Britain also experienced the highest unemployment rates since the Second World War. There was also a drug panic over glue sniffing as it was seen as a huge threat to the nation’s youth2. In every generation, a subculture exists that’s main aim is to shock the establishment, in the 70’s it was time for the punks.
The youth believed that they didn’t have an identity or a future to look forward to, so they rebelled against the government system that oppressed them and adopted a new shocking attitude towards society. Their means of expression was solely through anti-fashion statements and music that embodied all the key themes of punk beliefs.
The word punk derives from the word meaning ‘worthless’ or ‘snotty’ and refers to a person who its disrespectful of authority and disaffected youth, showing that they were not a valued part of society. When punk was brought out into the mainstream, so were all the issues involved such as class debates, violence, drug abuse, Marxism, anti authority and revolutionary themes.
There were a number of contributors who helped start the Punk movement, each one has also added a different connotative meaning, although the punk values and stereotypical image still survives. However, it is the British ‘street punk’ stereotype that remains dominant in Western and European youth cultures.
The punk movement was meant to shock, and to rebel against anyone with higher authority, they expressed through fashion, art, punkzines, music and spoken word albums. The punk music industry was a reaction to the mainstream ‘disco’ music and stressed individualism. The punks rejected the remnants of the hippie culture as they try to step away from their previous generation in the 60’s.
The punk movement was an underground scene until punk rock bands emerged through London and New York’s music scene. Most fans believe that the American rock band, The Ramones had said to have started off punk because they were inspiration for the punk icons to follow.
Rock critic John savage pointed out that ‘punk drew on all pre-existing popular music genres’3 mainly influenced by Reggae, blues and Ska elements. He also criticized the punk fashion as being a slightly evolved glam rock, rockabilly image.
It is mainly through British punk being represented in other ‘national and regional contexts’ where cultural background has resulted in numerous‘re-workings of the punk style and aesthetic’ today. This is what has helped punk achieve its iconic identity in popular culture4.
The punk movement was originally known as “street music” as the bands were unsigned and wrote music independently, giving the youth a voice. There were many influences that first formed punk, lending components of existing genres to create a unique identity which is still mainly visible in western cultures.
Different punk bands have had different iconic images, yet all the ‘punk’ elements have been passed down the decades where the exaggerated image of the punk stereotype remains.
The major influences of the punk movement- Of the mainstream
New York: Punk Scene
Fig 1http://www.3ammagazine.com/ – 3/04/06
‘Country, Blue Grass and Blues’, more well known as C.B.G.B’s, was the club that gave birth to the punk scene in New York. Unsigned bands and poetry readers were allowed to perform original material and this later helped bring the movement out of the underground. C.B.G.B’s was opened in 1973 and by 1976, more people began to get involved with the “street music”.
Even the image of the C.B.G.B’s logo is still recognizable and significant in the punk culture today, seen on t-shirts and alternative clothing.
The band most credited to have put C.B.G.B’s on the map is the rock and roll band, The Ramones. Their lyrical content shocked and encapsulated the Zeitgeist and the mood of the youth culture with songs ‘I don’t want to grow up’ and ‘now I wanna sniff some glue’. However there are many debates whether the Ramones were actually ‘punk’. At the same time in London, the Sex Pistols had one of the biggest influences for the future of punk. The street where C.B.G.B’s lies, has recently been renamed to ‘Joey Ramone Place’ after the late Ramones front man, proof that the Ramones are iconic figures in the punk scene.
Fig 2.http://www.c-rap.com/ – 02/04/06
Many other band members contributed towards the punk scene in C.B.G.B’s such as Patti Smith and Television. However, Ramones seem to be given the most credit towards setting up the Punk sub-structure in New York.
Each of the following bands brought their own contribution to fashion and beliefs of the punk movement:
Many punk fans believe that The Ramones were significant in the start of the punk movement in New York. Predominately, they were a rock and roll band that formed in the early seventies. Their music however, reflected the attitudes of the youth at that time when it came to: being forced to grow up in a capitalist world, dominant western hegemony, escapism within the drug culture and songs on relationships. These themes were a part of the punk foundation, through which the movement grew from.
The Ramones music video ‘I don’t wanna grow up’ was their first conceptual music video, the previous ones were simply live footage. Initially the Ramones music genre was originally considered as rock and roll but later became key iconic punk figures. This music video basically set down the punk beliefs for the icons to come.
Their image later had a huge impact of the punk fashion, the Ramones were iconic for wearing studded leather jackets, baggy t-shirts, converse tennis shoes and tight-fitting jeans, normally ripped. The aspects that were not adopted later by the punk movement were the shoulder length, thick fringe 50’s hairstyle each member sported. This was probably because it was already an iconic statement of rock and roll and lacked the ‘shock factor’ that punks were looking for, however punks have constantly gone back to the Ramones influence when it comes to punk covers. Their stereotypical image very image is portrayed in the chosen music video I am going to deconstruct.
‘I Don’t Want to Grow-up’ – Ramones music video
The music video depicts the band playing the song ‘live’, however the connotations of the background are constructed in the form of a comic book street scene, the intertextuality of the text denotes that music is an escape in a seemingly fake world. The band performs in an animated alley way. The main themes running throughout this video is strong Marxist views, drug undertones and the negative effects of the media on ‘impressionable’ youthful minds.
Throughout the music video, the band are the only reality footage, the rest of the narrative is animated. The following scene shows a child lying in bed watching the television in darkness; the images on the television depict violence, competitions and sex, this denotes the media’s influences on mass culture and the younger generations. This links with how the younger generations at that time were brought up reading fantasy comics then realizing that its an illusion to the ‘rat-race’ of life. The competitions link to the capitalist ideology that we are forced in competition with each other in society. The hypodermic needle theory can also be applied to this music video as it portrays the youth in the eyes of the media as passive audiences.
This video then continues to show fear and disrespect for authority figures and family ‘ideals’, showing sinister images of threatening policemen, dentists and boy scouts. This immediately created the binary oppositions to the beginning of punk; it was the youth against the dominant hegemonic class, the ‘grown ups’.
The Ramones logo (right) has also made a comeback within mainstream fashion since 2000, there have even been Ramones t-shirts for sale in well known retail fashion stores such as Topshop.
Vivienne Westwood has been dubbed as the ‘queen of punk’ for help create the punk fashion. Westwood and Malcolm McLaren opened the S&M clothing shop called ‘SEX’ that sold ‘aggressive looking accessories designed for the London “scene” and punk music group the Sex Pistols’5.
In 1976 ‘Sex’ got renamed to ‘Seditionaries’ through which she designed specifically for the punk fashion inspired by the street punks at the time. Westwood believed that “fashion is about sex” and portrayed that through her provoking punk and bondage designs.
Even though the fashion for the subculture was initially started by a fashion designer, her clothing ranged stressed the ‘do-it-yourself’ elements, which is one of the strongest themes in the punk movement. This is mainly because all her punk clothes were mainly covered graffiti, ripped, torn or held together by safety pins, all to reflect the street scene and the individualist qualities within the punk ideals.
The image to the right depicts Vivienne Westwood wearing one of her t-shirt designs showing a swastika as the main centerpiece, Westwood, understood the importance of shock factor within the punk movement.
The swastika is still a powerful image to society, and to the punk culture regardless of different interpretations. The Swastika is probably the most taboo, recycled image through history, and its semiotic meaning has changed along the way. Originally it was a Hindu symbol representing peace and love. Then in the 20th Century; Hitler adopted the symbol where its new meaning was that of anti-Semitism and Nazi Ideologies.
The swastika was first introduced into punk through Vivienne Westwood’s ‘punk’ clothing range, this concept was originally suggested by Malcolm McLaren, this is ironic because he is quarter Jewish. This proves that there was no actual racial undertones connected and it was mainly incorporated for the shock factor.
However, this had a negative backlash. For some people, the swastika was taken literally and this is where Nazi skinhead punks emerged, this has created a negative myth about the punk icon ever since. The band the Dead Kennedy’s had written a song acknowledging this called ‘Nazi punks F**k off’ where they denounce the skinheads that took the swastika as a literal sign of racial hatred.
The racial stigma alone could be the reason that the only people widely represented within the punk movement are predominately Caucasian.
The Sex Pistols and Siouxsie were the first bands to wear the swastika symbol as a fashion statement. John Lyndon from the Sex Pistols explained that the swastika was employed in order to make a statement to society, Johnny Rotten stated that it was in order to ‘wipe history clean and have a fresh approach’ rather than reinforcing the Nazi Hegemony and the holocaust.
Nevertheless, punks were the hated by-product of society, their attempts to
make social statements through shock factor was frequently under-minded and
by society. The swastika was meant to act as a reminder of what society is capable of and the “atrocities it permits”, yet tries to ignore and ‘whitewash’6.
The safety pin is also an iconic accessory to the punk image, mainly because of Westwood and street fashion because it represented the ‘Do It Yourself’ attitude towards Music and fashion that dominated the entire movement. Not only was the safety pin used to hold together torn clothes, but used in extreme body piercing. Truly embracing modern primitive idioms, the punk subcultures emerged in developed countries and stereotypically engaged in primitive rituals and practices, such as tattoos, body piercing and branding 7.
Section 2: How the Media perpetuates cultural icons
The construction of the Sex Pistols
Malcolm McLaren – “Unless a piece of artwork challenged the status quo it wasn’t worth doing8”
Malcolm McLaren was the man responsible for assembling the first influential punk band in the U.K together and for naming them. Him and his shop assistant found Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones and Paul cook amongst the ‘Sex’ customers and ‘sex pistols’ was then born. The ‘Sex Pistols’ stand apart from any other punk band because they were the first to create a complete new image within a situated culture (through Vivienne Westwood), they could only be described as the opposite to hippy. And that seemed to be the intention in the first place, to shock people and move away from the previous generations.
The reason why the ‘Sex Pistols’ were so famous is because of the way they were portrayed by Malcolm McLaren and how they tried to live up to their role. They all had strong attitudes against media, the mainstream, authority and politics.
They were also the first people to swear on live television in December 1976 on a British daytime show called ‘The Bill Grundy Show’. The media were then immediately aware of the Pistols existence.
The story was reported the day after in the Daily Mirror, reporting the shocking language used to describe the politics at the time.
The media was immediately curious about the shocking new band. This was the first time punk was seen in the U.K, due to many other punk bands banned from radios and being cast in a negative light, for example, the hit by Ramones ‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue’ was banned in Britain because of it’s lyrical drug content.
From then on they were portrayed as the ‘Nihilistic Rock group’ that disgusted the public and appealed to the angry youth and their street scene.
It is ironic that The Sex Pistols shocking language on Television, accelerated their success whilst it ended Bill Grundy’s career.
The whole purpose of the Sex Pistols as a statement was to ‘Wipe the slate clean’ and stick two fingers up at the monarchy along with authority and mainstream rock genres. The band members all grew up in lower class areas of London and therefore reflected the attitudes of the oppressive environment for the youth, destined for ‘no future’.
McLaren created the Sex Pistols just as any manager would have constructed a pop boy-band, however, they were created soley for shock factor, to challenge the hegemony and take as much money as possible. Through their art and fashion they managed to attain iconic status and therefore became iconic leaders of the punk movement.
Sid Vicious was born as John Ritchie, his band name was created from an ironic joke by John Lyndon, referring to his pet hamster. Sid Vicious was one of the last members to join the Pistols as the bass player even though he could not play, constructed as ‘anarchist poster boys’. Yet, the way that Sid was marketed by Malcolm McLaren, he was encouraged to live up to his ‘anarchist’ media persona. Sid Vicious as a “star text” can be seen as victim, despite his portrayal within the media. His real life mirrored the idea of ‘no future’ that was the main theme behind the Sex Pistols music, he was a victim of self harm, drug abuse and depression, yet was often demonized as ‘the other’.
This adheres to the concept that both the stars on/off screen personas should either match or portray uncanny irony. In this case, it’s uncanny irony. Sid Vicious was only portrayed as a threat through his on screen persona, and later on in his career became trapped within his own role. Malcolm McLaren stated that Sid was “hell bent in living up to his image” and consequently caused his downfall.
Most icons of the past have been associated with tragic occurrence in their off screen lives such as the tragic case between him and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. Despite Sid being one of the main suspects, it didn’t prevent the rise in fan bases.
This magazine cover of NME proves that Sid Vicious was one of the iconic figures behind mediated punk and was manipulated as an anarchy poster boy.
It was Rottens’ attitude that contributed to the many levels of meaning within punk. Johnny Rotten rejected all mainstream artists and previous rebellious movement, including shocking predecessors from the Rock and Roll generation. When Elvis had been discovered, Johnny Rotten was one of the first to show his pleasure in hearing the news.
The entire Sex Pistols group was responsible for laying down the punk fashion for the decades to come.
The sex pistols gave a new outlook on society and their generation. They believed that they were the products of economic alienation and expressed the struggles between classes.
Album Art – (Q)
it was the art through which the social issues of punk were illustrated.
Jaime Reed is the most well know artist to make art for the Sex Pistols. This is the most recognizable image to go with the band, the song ‘God Save
The Queen’ was released the same day as the Queens jubilee and was immediately banned, in the style of pop-art.
The original image had swastikas in the queen’s eyes and a safety pin going through her lips, these were stereotypical symbolic images that were portrayed by Vivienne Westwood and the Sex Pistols. However, this image caused too much controversy and wasn’t allowed to be reproduced. This song then went to number one. Art and fashion within the punk movement were now established .It helped to what kind of ideologies lay behind the band and what inspired the future children of punk9.
Fashion and sex pistols introduced the idea of anarchy in the U.K. this relates to Marxism and the concept of a social revolution against the capitalists. Also Marxist theory could be applied in how they rejected the capitalist mainstream and religion.
Art was an important aspect of punk especially in the form of pop art because it could enable expression and freedom, just as their social marking and music allowed them to do. Ideas and images are perpetuated through art forms within the Media; this is one of the methods through which they can achieve iconic status.
For example, the well known icon Marilyn Monroe was featured in various different art forms from the time of her living and after her death; this helped accelerate her iconic status and became more meaningful within culture.
Glen Danzig, a front man to the horror themed punk band ‘The Misfits’, was fascinated with the speculation surrounding Marilyn Monroes’ tragic death and often expressed it within his own music and album art. The misfits represented a group of many sub-genres to spur of the idea of punk, the misfits helped bring the skull into punk imagery that is most dominant in the new generations.
Die, Die, Die My Darling – C.D front cover
This image shows Marilyn Monroe in comic/pop-art style, through which she has been widely represented in the past
It’s identifiable as Monroe because of the associated props off blonde hair, voluptuous lips and heavy lids
This image portrays Monroe as a helpless victim which contrasted with the popular media representation of her life.
The victim imagery relates to the ‘misfits’ gimmick which was shock through using the horror genre
The death imagery has denotations involving the demonisation of the U.S government.
The start of punk magazines and more punk coverage being mediated, youth subcultures immediately adopted these figures as role models, thus inspiring the punk movement to carry on10.
Section 3: the audiences’ role
Since the birth of Rock N Roll, rebels have been produced and marketed by the media as role models for the new generations. Elvis was probably the most significant for this reason, considering Elvis brought ‘sex’ and shock to dominant hegemony, however, eventually sold out to the aspects of ‘bling’. However the punk rejected Elvis because they saw him as fake through ‘selling out’.
The punks were also rebels of their time, yet managed to oppose the Western hegemony in a blunt manor; they simply rejected and devalued everything that held the hegemonic of capitalist values together.
The punk audience perpetuated the iconic status by getting involved with the punk movement. Most strong punk fans of the 70’s immediately formed their own punk bands after seeing bands like the Sex Pistols perform. The fans that were most influenced by the pistol went on to add their own contributions to the punk hegemony. The most recognizable and influential figure in this case is Joe Strummer from the clash.
Joe Strummer was first inspired to form a band after watching a live show performed by the Sex Pistols, grasped the concept of Anarchy in the U.K and later formed the Clash.
The Clash later became one of the most popular influential bands of punk history and reinforced the aspect of politics in the movement. They’re material often contained anti-capitalist views and spoke out against politicians who they saw as corrupt. The Clash also grew up in a working class background in London and was the reason for their political messages throughout their songs, also their ongoing conflict with authority figures for committing petty crime such as spray painting, typical of the youth culture.
The Clash were also the first punk band to mix genres of reggae and dance with punk music, which is evident in ‘Guns of Brixton’ and ‘Train in Vain’, this paved the way for a majority of punk rock bands that exist in contemporary times, such as: Rancid, no doubt and Greenday.
Joe Strummer was also the first man in punk to wear a Mohawk, while performing in the ‘Rock the Casbah’ music. This was later one of the most iconic associations made with punk.
The Clash, for many fans were seen as the first authentic punk band because unlike the Sex Pistols, they weren’t constructed as a boy band and had expressed their own independent political views, the clash were strongly against racism as is expressed in ‘white riot’.
Punk Mid -1990’s
Bands were formed under the influence of The Clash. The most popular punk bands of the 90’s to present day are Rancid, pennywise, Nofx and Offspring for integrating different music styles to create a modern but generic sound. These bands were later the foundations through where the ‘skate punk’ scene came about.
Rancid have been seen as the most popular iconic band since the first punk movement and have never sold out, due to the band refusing to sign to a major record label. Their current record label is owned by another punk band member of Bad Religion.
Rancid has also tried to reinforce the street punk image, the Mohawk, make up, jacket and boots are key signifiers to the early punk stereotype.
The spider web tattoo on the elbow of the punk, relates to prison tattoos and has connotations of authority struggles, the characters body language also signifies drug use and the concept of alienated youth. www.mp3.com – 23/04/06
The background connotes an urban setting, reinforcing the street punk theme.
Being in a band that devalued Western hegemony made it difficult to be successful without being categorized as ‘selling out’, punk movement had created an identity for the alienated youth and therefore couldn’t be solely based on capitol to have deep cultural meaning. Most punk bands continued to be signed to underground record deals in order to authenticate the punk ideals and prevents from been seen as a sell out.
In an age that is image obsessed rather than content, punk fans are more judgmental of punk rock bands in the media eye and the lengths they will go to reaffirm their controversial statements.
It is through the fan bases that punk still exists in today’s culture, influencing the new generations to carry on the punk identity.
How social and historical context that has shaped the iconic meaning
Because punk had risen out of the Western world, the western hegemony has an impact on the images recycled through popular culture.
Despite the majority of people whom identified themselves as punks, were middle-aged, white, suburban males. The lack of ethnic diversity almost contradicted their battle with the dominant class (which are the middle-age, white, suburban males).
Also, some punk fans had taken the swastika seriously, rather than a social statement. This caused a chain reaction where the Nazi skin head youth developed and bands like ‘Screwdriver’ would sing about White Supremacy. The swastika has created a negative backlash for some of the misguided alienated fanatics. While other punk bands tried to mend the negative portrayal of punk. Punks only main claim was to romanticize the concept of a social revolt. The Right-wing image of punk as general ‘whiteness’, reflected and reinforced dominant western hegemony which punks seen as corrupted.
Despite the lack of media attention, there have been certain bands belonging to the Afro-Punk genre who also wanted to embrace the ongoing punk movement and imply it with cultural and ethnic diversity. There was also an Afro punk documentary, made by James Spooner. A punk fan who documented the experiences of fans from African descent who had devoted themselves to the music, and culture of punk.
James Spooner also draws on the alienation as a person of colour in a predominately white scene11.
Feminism in Punk
Females had had just as big a part in the punk revolution as the males did, yet is undocumented in popular culture. This is seen as quite contradictive seeing as the main aspect of punk was to bring forth liberation to the youth.
Many punks had progressive political views and therefore internalized gender bias and therefore made it harder for the females to overcome gender issues. Therefore, if anything, women had more to prove in the punk movement.
The characterizations of punk rock clothing subverted the system, males would wear ‘ripped, tight dominatrix style outfits’. Women attempted to adopt a similar identity to challenge the dominant western values and etiquette, the ideology that ‘women should be seen but not heard12 ’ but more exaggerated in terms of make up, eyeliner. However, this only seemed to make the females subject for sexual harassment and was continued to be seen as sex objects.
However, women were then able to express their rage and feminism through their music and openly mocked the ideals of social etiquette that perceived them as ‘unlady like’.
Feminist punk bands such as Crass, Dirt and Conflict would write lyrics about everything that concerned the punk movement: attempting to battle militarization, political activities, sexism, rape and the commercialization of love.
Where as the Sex Pistols were mediated as rebels, within the mainstream.
There is much more opportunity for female punk bands to be represented in today’s culture, since the riot girl movement through the 80’s, more female punk bands have been influenced by the music.
Brody Dalle from American Punk band The Distillers, is the most dominant, strong portrayal of a female in the punk culture in contemporary media, yet still keeping the old values alive. Brody is always dominant in the positioning of the frame, showing her authority and power over the masculine band members. (see appendix)
Section 4: The punk legacy and conclusion
The factors that contribute towards iconic status within the punk movement is the integration of fashion, media, with the political and DIY ethic, which is central to the movement, and it’s the most untouched ethic by the media, as it promotes individualism.
Icons can contrast greatly from other existing icons within society and still have significant cultural meaning to generations of past, present and future. Different stars have been known to reflect ‘different, evolving societies’ through cultural representations and ‘material consumption. 13
This explains how Marilyn Monroe and Elvis can be icons of equal importance, yet reflect completely different ethics and “star currency”. Monroe was considered an icon, yet her meaning has changed since her death, in life, she was a glamour model who conformed to patriarchy. Yet, years after her death, she was appreciated because she was a mere simulation of femininity and thus started the bases for post-feminists14.
I have learnt the significance of media’s role in perpetuating iconic status and how it can alter meanings and future representations of that image or stereotype. Through iconic status, power is mainly achieved through the repetition of symbols, with deep cultural semiotics that represent the icons major themes and ethics.
The main themes of punk that have been constantly repackaged through the media are:
The music industry – plays a very important role in the punk culture as it was their means of expression, without having to go through corporate industries.
Politics was mainly where meanings would get confused. Most symbols used within the punk fashion, were employed mainly for shock factor, some people took the symbols literal which lead them down the paths of extreme anarchy to Right wing, Nazi skin heads.
The DIY ethic was the main frame of the punk ethic, which influenced the music, fashion and art. This factor remains the best preserved punk ethic because it cannot be repackaged by the media. And consequently lose the images potence.