If you thought that scene kids were a relic of our mid-2000s past, think again. Like red eyeshadow and hair-clipped fringes, scene kids are the latest noughties style icon to resurface in 2019.
Break out your Hiptops, scenesters. Ever since MySpace disappeared from the internet landscape, scene kids have been a displaced subculture. Tragically, many were forced to abandon their teasing combs and enter new, sanitised lives on Facebook. But it just isn’t the same. Where’s the angsty music? The lip-synced videos?
Enter TikTok, the new haven for scene kids. With its easy to use short-form video platform, TikTok is the perfect place for new, or revived, subcultures to flourish. Its already been recognised as the home of e-girls, as well as furries, soft boys and re-homed Vine comedians.
You could argue that scene style began as a reaction to the beauty industry and the unattainable, exclusionary standards of attractiveness rife in the noughties. Along with emo, its sister subculture, scene provided a niche for teen outcasts and rebels to express themselves outside of these narrow expectations.
The most significant and iconic element of the scene look was the hair. Choppy layers and ridiculously swoopy side fringes were mandatory. Teasing and dying colourful streaks into hair was also pretty much required.
The original scene kid lived in a time before smart phones. The connection to the worldwide scene community came through the channels of MySpace and MSN, where many scene kids actually built their social media empires. Notable alumni from the scene era include Audrey Kitching and Jeffree Star.
MySpace provided the perfect place for kids to hang out online. Each page was completely customisable. Music could be chosen to play on the page, with each user’s “MySpace song” an integral part of their online identity. Backgrounds of leopard print or black and white checkers were desirable. In those days, a basic knowledge of html would get you far.
But since the death of MySpace, scene as a true subculture has been lying dormant for years. Until now.
The TikTok app allows users to create short music and lip-sync videos of 3 to 15 seconds, and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds. In 2018, TikTok became the most downloaded app in the U.S.
E-girls have been billed as the latest subculture to spring up as a reaction to oppressive beauty standards, and its clear that many elements of their style are drawn from emo and scene. There are the distinctive graphic tees layered over striped longsleeves, the creative use of eyeliner, the coloured hair.
But in the #scenekids hashtag on TikTok, there are kids dressing and acting in pretty much the exact OG scene way. And following in the footsteps of those who came before them, this generation of scene kids also embraces members of the LGBTQ+ community.
As with the mainstream reaction the first time around, it seems that scene kids are again being met with derision from those outside the subculture. User @madmolly addresses this in her videos. And cringe compilations of emo and scene TikTok users abound on YouTube, ironically the place where many scene kids found fame back in the day.
In a post from user @l0l4xd with 2.4k likes, comments include:
@sephelianthus: “i will protect scene kids with my life.”
@crellykins: “people really do need to stop hating on scene. it’s still cute, they just don’t want to admit it.”
What new subcultures will find their home on TikTok? We can’t wait to find out.
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