Straight edge refers to a subculture of hardcore punk which was a direct reaction to the sexual revolution, hedonism, and excess associated with punk rock. In its simplest form, straight edge is a philosophy of staying clean and sober: meaning refraining from using alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs. For some, this extends to not engaging in promiscuous sex, following a vegetarian or vegan diet, not using caffeine or prescription drugs. The term was coined by the 1980s hardcore punk band Minor Threat in their song "Straight Edge."
Since the late 1970s, straight edge has been a part of the punk scene. During that time, a wide variety of beliefs and ideas have been incorporated into straight edge including violence, vegetarianism, animal rights, communism and Hare Krishna beliefs. In many parts of the United States, straight edge is treated as a gang; however, recent studies suggest that only a small minority of the people who refer to themselves as straight edge are violent.
In 1999, William Tsitsos wrote that straight edge had gone though three eras since its founding in the early 1980s. Later analyst have identified another era that has taken place since Tsitsos's writing.
1970s and early 1980s
Originally, straight edge was most closely associated with hardcore punk which developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and was partly characterized by shouted rather than sung vocals. Straight edge individuals of this early era often associated with the original punk ideals such as individualism, disdain for work and school, and live-for-the-moment attitudes.
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