What is a subculture? How do we define it? The best definition is subculture is a group of people within a culture that differentiates itself from the parent culture to which it belongs, often maintaining some of its founding principles. These cultures develop their norms and values. Subcultures in America are more popular than anywhere in the world.
Speaking about subcultural movements, they can be geographical or something you are born into. For example, you can be Native American. Or you can be from the former Wild West. Then there are subcultures born from movies and television shows. For example, followers of Star Wars.
Many experts say that subculture is the new popular culture. And that might be the most accurate definition. Youth subculture has remained in constant conversation with mainstream society.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the popular subcultures in America.
You can love them or hate them, but people from the deep south differentiate themselves from others. There is definitely a distinct American subculture in the deep south. And that culture has its own distinct accent.
When people say traditional American culture, they think about a lot of traditions from the South. For example, some of the fundamentals like good food, manners, hospitality, are all part of the Southern subculture.
And if you want to listen to some of the best music, listen to some artists from the South.
We started off with a geographical subculture, but let’s move to one of the popular cultures. Skaters and their fashion has had a huge influence on fashion in the past several years.
Starting from the 2000s and moving into the 2010s, skating clothes have started appearing in the mainstream culture. Real skaters keep things core, they also love fashion’s interest in their culture.
Nowadays, almost every kid in America has worn Vans shoes, hoodies, or some loose pants. And once Lil Wayne embraced skateboarding in his 30s, people took notice. Even Kanye West dressed up his daughter North West in skatewear staples.
Some people work out to keep their bodies in shape. Some do it to lose weight. Some do it for health reasons (back pain, posture). And of course, there are professional athletes and sports professionals.
Bodybuilding is a sport, but also a subculture and a way of life for many people. Those that follow the social norms strive for physical perfection. And that means large amounts of muscle and very little fat.
This subculture started appearing in the early 2010s. K-Hole came up with the term to refer to the novel concept of rebellion through fitting in. And then in 2014, New York Magazine published an article detailing how New York scenesters started dressing like suburban moms and dads.
From there, the trend took on and the mainstream press started accepting its existence. Yes, the term flamed out fast, but the influence remained. Normcore affected fashion for the entire 2010s.
And that is why you see mom jeans and dadcore becoming trends. Even Balenciaga’s Demma Gvasalia dedicated his entire 2018 spring show to the dadcore.
We said in the beginning that there are movie subcultures, television subcultures, and cartoon subcultures. Well, this one falls into those categories. It is a fandom subculture that was started by fans of the cartoon show My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. Fun fact: we are talking about adult male fans here.
And female fans are called Pegasisters. Most of these fans have college degrees. And they do not care what you think about them. Bronies have monthly meet-ups to watch episodes and share clothing. They even create their fan art and exchange it.
Modern subcultures start online. Back in the day, people started subcultures in the streets. But with the new modern larger society, it is only logical that we have online subcultures.
Seapunk was the first online subculture to make it big. It was just a dream in the beginning. It started in 2011 when video director Lil Internet dreamed about a leather jacket crusted in barnacles instead of metal studs. He tweeted about it the moment he woke up. And from there, the culture exploded into the wider world.
The seapunk aesthetic includes plenty of aqua, green, and oceanic iconography like shells and dolphins. Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry, and many other celebrities started wearing such clothes.
Motorcycle clubs are very popular in the United States. At the most basic level, it is a cultural group of people who get together to ride and participate in activities surrounding motorcycles.
Often, they follow a specific brand and social norms. And sometimes, they can make their motorcycle club look and feel like a religion.
Clubs often show their logo on patches on their vest or jacket.
This is another male subculture that is mostly about fashion. These men wear expensive, designer clothing sloppily. And it has reached a stage where designer clothes look unfashionable and poorly put together.
It started in 2018 when Shia LaBeouf tried to combine normcore and skate style. Stylists like Karla Welch then pushed the look on their clients, mostly Justin Bieber. Johan Hill, Pete Davidson, and John Mayer followed suit.
The style helped make Jonah Hill an unexpected street style icon.
E-boys and e-girls
Subcultures remain largely youth culture teenage phenomenon. So, among the many teenage subcultures, let’s talk about E-boys and e-girls. It emerged on the Chinese social media application TikTok. There, Generation Z participated in hashtags challenges and silly lip syncing videos.
And while the trend is rather young, it has the potential to grow bigger. It combines elements of the 90s grunge and 2000s skater style.
Both genders paint their nails and wear long-sleeved stripped T-shirts under black graphic tees. Finally, they tuck everything into jeans styled with plenty of wallet chains.
This youth subculture almost exclusively appears on social media.
Theater culture or theater subculture dates back for centuries. Even before Shakespeare, we can argue people went to the theater and had their own culture and tradition.
Nowadays, you can easily tell people going to Broadway shows. Theater people are dedicated to their art and cultural experience. For some that is acting, for others costuming, and there are also those that love directing.
Among the many subcultures in America, the theater one is a talented and passionate one that is often dramatic.
We cannot talk about subcultures in America without mentioning the military subculture. After all, the US is among the most powerful military countries in the world.
Those actively in Service and their families know a little bit more about military culture. Generally speaking, it is a culture of self-discipline, hierarchy, respect, and ceremony. And military spouses mostly hang out with other military spouses. Why? Because they are the few that can relate to their difficulties and challenges.
In the past few years, we have seen a rise in the popularity of cowboy hats and lassos. Celebrities like Cardi B often wear chaps in their videos. And that is all because of the Yeehaw Agenda, or as we call it, the yee yee club.
It is a larger culture movement that started out as a meme. The jokes on Twitter started as “howdy, I’m the sheriff of …” and so on.