Urban Tribes

The plaza Glorieta de los Insurgentes, in the heart of Mexico City, was built to honor the insurgent uprising and independence from Spain. Today, the plaza is ground zero to adolescent youths who come from all corners of the 30 million plus populace of el Distrito Federal. Here a second uprising is taking place as youth subculture thrives. Punketos, darketos, break-dancers and emos (emotionals) rebel against conservative societal norms, while they borrow styles from the urban tribes of the U.K. and the U.S. of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. In March 2008 hundreds of adolescents poured into plazas around Mexico and targeted attacks on the emos who tend to have a style of long bangs, skintight jeans, teddy bear bags and who, on occasion, practice cutting, a form of self-mutilation. The media floated numerous theories as to why the beatings took place, linking class tension and homophobia. Word spread virally through web sites like FaceBook where posters called for attacks on the emos and videos on YouTube showed the beatings. Regardless of the theories, Mexican youth are demonstrating one thing clearly and that is that adolescent rebellion has indeed become a globalized phenomenon.