“How to be a Metalhead?” and “Metalheads for Dummies” are for posers. The rest of us can agree that you don’t plan to become a Metalhead, you just evolve into one. Our personality traits, ideologies, social experiences and environment shape us into Metalheads, and one of the most concrete “specs” of a Metalhead is their resistance to a pre-defined system of rules that does not tolerate the different. So since it’s the “Back To School” season, let’s discuss one of the most important catalysts for forming a Metalhead: Schools.
Private and public schools in Lebanon are generally known for their discipline and rules. Regardless of their level of education, these schools like to build a reputation for toughness.
Here is my quick analysis of some main factors that make schools ironically one of the best catalysts for Metalheads:
There is something psychologically wrong with mandatory customes, something that feels too prison-like, too controlled. They believe it develops discipline among students, a sense of belonging to a community of people who wear similar outfits. Truth is this approach has side effects with people who are naturally prone to feeling different, especially when wearing the custome is mandatory… for 15 years. It develops a sense of hatred towards the people in charge who don’t understand the difficulty of being considered like others because you look “just like another student”.
The hair conundrum
Apparently long hair makes you a bad person. People in charge would literary single you out in the food court or even in class, ordering you to cut your hair or else.
Even if you have the highest grades of your class, they believe it’s a matter of discipline and conformity (because the average person doesn’t have long hair). If you’re a Lebanese Metalhead, you’ve definitely been through this, and odds are that after you finished school, you grew your hair. It’s simply about the principle of not constraining people with stupid rules that do not affect others.
Standing in formation
Like soldiers, I remember standing in formation to hear (not listen) the school principal’s Monday speech, after which we had to sing the school’s anthem. When you look across the playground and see 1000+ students standing in formation, you immediately think about either Prison or the Army, 2 establishments which disturb Metalheads (no offense to soldiers, but not everyone likes to follow orders). While standing in line shows respect later on in life, forcing a formation ordered by ascending height in schools is just too much nonsense.
Students generally take a Philosophy class in their last 2-3 school years, and I safely say that this class is the only ‘different’ class you can take at school, because you should theoretically be able to express yourself, your beliefs and well your philosophy on things. However, it turns out to be a great disappointment, because you are not allowed to express your own opinion, instead you must memorize the school book to be able to pass the exams. We all remember those students who memorized the entire book but had no idea what the words meant.
I personally kept ‘improvising’ my tests hoping that the teacher would actually interact with my ideas, but it never happened. Schools do not allow you to grow into what you want to become, instead they want you to grow into what they think is right and normal.
There are plenty of other reasons why schools are a major catalyst for Metalheads, but instead of hating schools, we should thank them for raising generation after generation of pissed off anti-authoritative Metalheads!