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Navigating High School as a Straight Edge Girl: The Challenges and Triumphs

Challenges of Being Straight Edge Girl in High School

Drugs are a topic that is talked about in every high school on earth. Whether it’s the teachers attempting to tell the students not to do them, or the students themselves talking about it, it’s there. And a lot of people don’t acknowledge that, or maybe even think that every high schooler is into that sort of stuff.

I can tell you that it’s not. In fact, I’m the exact opposite.

The Prevalence of Drug and Alcohol Culture

As far as I know, I’m one of only a few that are the opposite, but I’m the only one belonging to a movement dedicated to it.

Being straight edge itself isn’t hard at all- it’s easy, to me- but it’s being a high schooler that’s the hard part, and being a girl at that.

A lot of the time, whenever I have to explain that I’m straight edge, or what being straight edge even is, I’m not taken seriously. It’s happened with classmates, with teachers, and even at shows. Thanks to the drug and alcohol culture of today, it’s still not cool to drink, and it’s still expected that you’re going to drink, smoke or do drugs, and I don’t think that’s fair. Not only is it not fair, it’s putting double standards on people, especially high schoolers like myself. The straight edge movement has been around for almost forty years, and some people still don’t take it seriously, nor do they take me seriously.

Now, to be fair, some of the people I’ve explained straight edge to, or said that I’m straight edge; a lot of them think it’s really cool, and they encourage me. And that’s awesome! The world needs more people like that. Unfortunately, most people disregard it, and most of my classmates are downright rude about it.

Vaping is a big thing now, as we all know: it’s all over the news and the Internet. It’s also a huge problem among high schoolers. A lot of my classmates have/do vape, and it’s disgusting, especially in instances where I have to go to the bathroom, and when I walk in a cotton-candy-smelling cloud of vapor greets me. It really sucks to have to deal with it, and to deal with the hostility of not giving in to that. A lot of my classmates seem to think that I consider myself above them for that, and I’m not. Some of the time, when I refuse, they get aggressive, and when I attempt to explain, I get blown off. 

I have to deal with name-calling, too. That’s not so bad, but it’s more annoying than anything, really. One of the guys I’m in a few classes with offered me his, and when I politely declined, he just asked, “What, are you a narc or just stupid?”

Things like that are the worst because I’m neither. I’m not going for the sheep mentality, and I’m trying to not get cancer, either. When I told him it wasn’t good for you and he was filling his lungs with fluid, he said I was lying. I just… I don’t get that.

Breaking Barriers as Straight Edge Girl

Another struggle is how I dress, too. I have a Mohawk, I have a patch vest/jacket, and both have straight edge patches all over them. But people think that because I’m different, I’m down for that, and I’m not. I did make a straight edge jacket, though, and it has two backpatches on it: one says, “drugs are for losers,” in all-caps, big font, and the other says “Drinking sucks!” in the same way. You would not believe the amount of people who decided they just had to say something about it. 

They also had to say something about my vegan patches too, especially my Youth of Today patch, which actually says “Go Vegetarian!” but everyone chose to ignore that. I’ve had issues in the past with my peers not being receptive to veganism, either. Most will yell at me, or ask if I’m going to yell at them, which I won’t. I’m pretty chill about it; I’m open for discussions on it, and I have had several great conversations about it.

Another big thing is that I’m a girl, too. I don’t know if everyone is expecting different things from teenage girls than I am, but a lot of people act weird about a girl refusing things, or, as I constantly say, “Thinking for myself.” I say I’m out of step for a reason, and it’s true. Not just with the edge thing, but in general. I’m very counterculture, and a lot of people judge me for that. The Mohawk is a huge problem for all kinds of people, and when they see me wearing jackets that say “Drugs suck,” the judgments just run all that deeper. I have had people, almost 100 percent of the time male, say things like “You shouldn’t wear that,” “You shouldn’t have a Mohawk,” “You shouldn’t say that,” after they point at me, my clothes, my books, or my hair. My freshman year, last year, I got told that my “Mohawk is too tall, and you’re a girl so you shouldn’t have one anyways.”

For all of these problems, there are still a million awesome things about being straight edge! Take my dad. My dad is also straight edge, so we can both talk about it, although I did find it mostly on my own, through his music. And even though 9 times out of ten people are weird about it, sometimes I get to have some really great experiences because of it. When a friend of mine saw my Minor Threat T-shirt, and I explained, she asked all kinds of questions, and she was fascinated. My best friend, who now has a working knowledge of it, can explain it to my jerk classmates. It’s one of the coolest things to hear her explaining that the 3 X’s aren’t for alcohol, but the opposite. 

It’s one of my very favorite things to open people’s minds. At shows, when I say I’m straight edge, there might be an adult saying that I won’t be in ten years, but there’s a lot of others thinking it’s more than okay, it’s awesome. When I can explain to my peers how veganism and straight edge is better than drinking, and they’re receptive to it, that’s one of the coolest feelings I can have.

I do hope one day I can have other female friends that are straight edge too, though. After all, I do like to quote 7 Seconds and all: “It’s not just boys’ fun.”

Keeping it True for all the ladies-

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