Counter Culture refers to any large social movement that directly opposes the status quo, especially in terms of promoting alternative lifestyles, clothing, values, religious beliefs, relationships, sexual practices, or even serious changes in any area of life including the arts such as music. It actually sprang up every time serious effort was made to suppress and control popular practices or behaviors including sexual behaviors. It first got real notice in America during the age of prohibition when attempts to stop all sale of alcohol simply produced a landslide of cash for organized crime. It seemed the bulk of society rebelled not only with Speak Easys selling poisonous alcohol, but with the first real “sexual revolution” during the “Roaring Twenties”.
Later it happened again in the 50s with “Beatniks” and again in the late 60s with the Hippie Peace Movement with a focus on rejections of orthodox economy, diet, clothing, hair styles, marriage structure, racial segregation, and almost everything their parents had always insisted on. At the same time alternative religions ranging from fairly orthodox, but unfamiliar Eastern traditions through newly created fusion faiths such as Wicca became much more popular. Wicca takes many forms, but the early traditions such as Gardnerian Wicca are a potent blending of Druidry, Norse Heathenism, and Ceremonial Magic with Hindu ethics, philosophy, karma, dharma, and reincarnation theories as the heart and soul of the various Wiccan traditions, at least in the opinion of this social scholar. (although the sources of such things is almost always hotly debated)
After the Hippie Peace Movement, the Punk Scene, Goth Scene, Cyber Punk, and the androgynous “Hair Bands” led the rebellion against rigidity and status Quo. Along with this, there was a greater public awareness of Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgendered, and Gender Androgyny groups coming forward to demand civil rights equal with that of heterosexual mainstream. Even the BDSM and Swinger groups became much more open and public in this new age of somewhat increased social tolerance.
What is surprising is that, in response to the radical anger and rebellion of many previous counter culture groups, we have come almost full circle back to the age of the gentle Hippies, but in a form that is utterly opposite in terms of dress, hygiene, and formality. The early 21st century seems to be the age of Steampunk! Steampunk was originally science fiction set in the Victorian era, but it has now, like anime, and science fiction in general, left the pages of it’s books and become a 3 dimensional reality in a variety of fashion trends, conventions, performance art, and even music today.
This ranges from “Hard Core Steampunk Lifestylers” that want a hard hitting socially progressive eco-friendly and anti-discrimination, anti-materialistic subculture (which they are actively building by the way) to the majority who actually just like the fun, the fashion, the cute girls in “Steamy attire” etc. While Steampunk may be far from the most shocking counterculture movement we have encountered, it sure gets some stares on the street or subway, and certainly is one of the most glamorous and shiny ones ever to appear! Local Events range from The Difference Engine Steampunk Convention in Fort Worth, Texas to various one day Steampunk events every year in Dallas.
I will personally explore, attend, interview, and write on many of the above forms of counterculture as well as the new and growing Vampyre Culture and even the Therians who are a growing shapeshifter – Lycanthrope oriented culture as well as their actual practices and lifestyles. While some of this is not available in an organized form here locally, the nearest large events will be explored where DFW area Vampyres and Werewolves, were cats etc. are prone to gather. It should make for interesting reading to say the least!