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Straight edge

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If you are looking for the tool used in geometrical construction[?], see Straightedge.

Straight edge is a lifestyle and subculture where, intentionally, and in the face of actual opportunities, one does not:

One can view Straight edge as a lifestyle only, or as a life-time commitment to ones self to stay away from the things listed above.

There is not one main reason people choose to be straight edge. Typically, the lifestyle is used as a stepping stone to allow one to be more involved with ones mental and physical health. In doing so, one may find some straight-edge people do not intake caffeine, or they choose to be vegetarian or vegan. They also feel having a clear mindset is a better way to approach life and/or spirituality.

A straight edge lifestyle is not a philosophy and is not associated with or based on any religion.

Straight edge is also a genre of hardcore punk rock music advocating a straight-edge lifestyle.

A few accounts exist of straight edge people exhibiting violent behaviour towards others who are not, but the great majority of straight edge people do not promote violence at all. Intolerant interpretations of straight edge are sometimes referred to as hard-line[?]. Hard-line does not necessarily promote violence, however it is characterized by a markedly intense devotion to straight edge, and a usually strict interpretation. Hard-liners may abstain from sexual intercourse, be vegans, or refuse to use products manufactured from animals. The band Vegan Reich forms a notable example of a band following a violent interpretation of hard-line philosophy.


The term "straight edge" was originally coined by the hardcore/punk band Minor Threat in the early-mid 1980s. It was not originally intended to be a lifestyle. The lifestyle is largely defined by the lyrics to a Minor Threat song.

 Out of Step (with the world)
 by Minor Threat, 1981

        (I) Don't smoke
        Don't drink
        Don't fuck
        At least I can fucking think

        I can't keep up
        Can't keep up
        Can't keep up
        Out of step with the world

"Straight edge" is sometimes abbreviated "sXe". It is still pronounced "straight edge" and not "sexy". "sXe" was also symbolized by large black "X"'s marked on a person's hands. At punk rock shows, it became common to mark an X on the hands of under-aged concertgoers to ensure that the bouncers would recognize a minor attempting to drink alcohol. Early adopters of the straight edge lifestyle voluntarily marked their hands to show their commitment[?] to refusing alcohol. This practise is believed by many to have originated with Ian MacKaye's first band, The Teen Idles[?].

See also: Minor Threat

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