News Analysis

Monday 22 September 2014

Violence and fear for kids who dare to be different

Amy Moore

Published 25/07/2004 | 00:11

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WHEN I hear the word "nigger" used over and over in a song, I must admit I think those must be the lyrics of some kind of freak. He must be part of the Ku Klux Klan?

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But instead I find out that the writer has captured the imaginations of teenage kids and adults who look up to him for his painful lyrics.

His name is Marilyn Manson, and he has been through the same crap as the kids who listen to his songs, growing up and taking abuse from people who think he is weird. He wants to share and express his pain in his songs.

Although he wears make-up and rubber catsuits with breasts, he is making a big impression, and his fans will sacrifice abuse wherever they go to be like him.

The last time I saw my younger cousin, he looked like the usual teenager in his casual clothes. But recently I went up to the family home and, there he was, dressed in black with the words "Slip Knot" covering his T-shirt, and wearing a mask and black boots that almost weighed more than me.

It was a bit freaky at first, but he was still the same kid I knew when he was little. I didn't think too much about his new image after a while, and neither did any other family members. His favourite bands are Metallica and Slip Knot and he just wants to tell me everything about them, and what he wants to buy to be like them.

I ask him if he gets picked on in school, because I certainly did back then, and I wasn't even close to the image he was giving off. He says he is, all of the time, but he seems very confident about his unique style and just carries on with life.

Recently, though, he was mugged twice in the space of two weeks and he reckons it's down to the way he looks.

I have to phone his house to talk to him because he's had two mobile phones taken from him. He says: "If I was wearing Nike trainers and a tracksuit, I'd be fine." Nobody would go near him.

Then I noticed that when he walked into a room he was been picked on for not being tough enough when he was mugged. People were laughing at him and being cruel. He can't walk down the street without being called a freak. These people are quiet, and easy targets for bullies, including adults in their 40s.

He said he is scared to go out now. He knows of people who cut their wrists because they don't understand why they are being abused over the way they want to dress. His friend likes to hang out in town every night but gets "battered".

I watch these people hang out in Temple Bar and I see how affectionate they are, hugging each other in groups, and how they talk about music and their favourite bands. I always thought they were a bit weird and would have described the area they hang out in as a street with a dark cloud hanging over it. But it's not. It's simply full of kids who have a unique style and a different taste in music.

Freak or unique? Whatever you want to call it, it's just a shame that the way we look has a lot to do with the way we are treated by others.

Whether it's hippy or rocky, there's always a snigger on the streets. If I buy a T-shirt I like to rip it apart to make me look different, I have my own style and I love being unique - so move over you freaks, I am part of your world.

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