Have you ever heard of the phrase being “straight edge”? Ever wondered what exactly that means? To the casual observer, it might come across as a little mysterious, with people walking around with black X’s on their hands, like it some sort of cult. But what is the truth?
What it means
Unfortunately, it is not as exciting as the name makes it sound. Being straight edge is a lifestyle choice, like for example being Vegan. In fact, some straight edge people choose to be vegan as well. At its essence being straight edge is about abstaining from harmful substances. These include alcohol, non-prescription drugs (such as marijuana etc.) and smoking. As previously stated some people take this even further and combine it with a strict diet that doesn’t include meat.
Origins of being straight edge
The movement was born as a subculture from Hardcore Punk. In many ways, it originated to combat the excesses associated with the punk lifestyle. The name for the culture came from an 80’s punk song called “Straight Edge” written by the band Minor Threat.
Although the movement doesn’t really have a political bias it is considered by many liberals to be a mostly conservative movement. Straight edge followers are sometimes seen as pious and self-righteous. At times the followers have taken a militant approach but mostly straight edge followers are non-violent. They quite often identify by having X’s tattooed on themselves.
National Edge day
Or Edgefest, as it is known, is an annual celebration of the straight edge lifestyle. It has been held regularly since way back in 1999. The first event was held in Boston, Massachusetts. In the modern world there isn’t just one event and instead, separate events are held in various States in the US and various countries.
Given the origins of the straight edge lifestyle these events often heavily feature punk music. There are a fair number of straight edge bands and the majority of them produce punk.
Different degrees of straight
Because some people are more strict than others. Due to the origins of the lifestyle at its core, it is really about making healthy life choices. You may get somebody who claims to be following the philosophy but really all they do is live their life in moderation, rather than fully abstaining from unhealthy substances. More hardcore followers would consider these people to not be straight edge.
Very basically somebody who is straight edge will give up alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. But at the far end of the spectrum, they may give up caffeine, meat and even premarital sex. Although they wouldn’t identify as straight edge you could compare it to the lifestyle choices of members of the church of Latter Day Saints.
Notable people that follow the philosophy
There is a great list of people that follow the philosophy. Perhaps surprisingly there are a fair few pro-wrestlers that engage in it. Wrestling has always had an association with drugs, in particular, steroids and none-prescription pain meds. Perhaps then the culture permeated the sport to try and counteract that negative culture, after all, there have been a wealth of premature deaths among noted pro-wrestlers and many of these have been drug-related.
Notable straight edge wrestlers include former WWE champion CM Punk and top indy star Kenny Omega. Another notable and perhaps surprising straight edge follower is rap star Lil’ Yaughty.
The obvious health benefits to the lifestyle are that it negates the risks of substance dependencies. It is no secret that excessive drinking can cause liver damage and that smoking is bad for your lungs. This means that overall it is a healthier lifestyle.