Now Reading: Stop Using Kurt Cobain as Your Aesthetic


Stop Using Kurt Cobain as Your Aesthetic

May 6, 20174 min read

As many people may know, fashion and trends from the past tend to make a full circle and come back decades later, such as hippie fashion or grunge. Just as they are today, band t-shirts were a very popular fashion statement and form of expression in the 90s.

Recently, I have been seeing a number of people all differing in age, although the age group tends to be between 12 and 25, wearing Nirvana shirts. Being a huge an of the band myself, I ask them about it and question them on their favorite song in order to possibly form a new friendship over music. However, more and more frequently I am being told that they do not actually listen to the band, and that they just thought the shirt looked cute with their outfit. I then realize they are wearing some sort of ripped jeans and combat boots or Vans, and have come to the conclusion that Nirvana itself is becoming some sort of a super cool Tumblr aesthetic for adolescents who needed a final piece to tie together their painfully unoriginal outfit.

If these people had any clue what the cool-looking guy on their shirts was feeling and creating art about, they would hopefully not view him as just a fashion piece. Cobain experienced significantly deteriorating mental health and struggled with depression and drug issues, but he used his music as an outlet for his pain and suffering. By using him as just the finishing touch to your ensemble you are unintentionally trivializing all of his work and importance to the world, as well as downplaying the impact he has had on music, and society as a whole. Cobain was an advocate for the LGBT+ community and a major supporter of women’s rights, in addition to the music he created that benefited so many people. So, when you wear his face, consider the impact he had and educate yourself on the work he did, or at least be an actual fan of his music.

If any of you, in any way, hate homosexuals, people of a different color or women, please do this one favor for us- leave us the f*ck alone. Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records.

Cobain did not want fame, and often found difficulty handling it. This quote shows the dedication he had to supporting equality and the fact that money was not as important to him as making sure his music encased a positive, safe environment.

I have witnessed this same thing occurring with other historically or culturally important people, such as Frida Kahlo and Gautama Buddha, and the exploitation without education needs to end.

If you appreciate the music or the person, then, of course, there is no issue. When many people hear that you do not even listen to the band or musical artist that you are mindlessly promoting on your body, they roll their eyes or do not really think much about it. However, in this case it is a much deeper issue that should be addressed. Understand the message behind an artist, or find a different outfit.

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Hailey Grizzaffi

Hailey is a 16 year old from Dallas who is an editor on her school's yearbook staff, and a member of the academic decathlon team. When she has a moment to breathe, she enjoys binge-watching Netflix shows and eating way too much ice cream.