BY Leah Robinson
BASED on a true story, PRIDE (Matthew Warchus 2014) follows a group of gay and lesbian activists raising money and awareness for the mining strike in Wales in the 1980s. During this time, it was the reign of Margaret Thatcher as prime minister, and youth culture was in revolt. It was a very different world compared to today, or so we are told.
Youth culture has been defined culturally throughout the years, with many speculations against youth itself and their actions, youth has also been considered a “symbolic violation of social order” (Dick Hebdige 1979), with debates around youth culture a “key point for social anxiety” (Angela McRobbie 1994). Historically, youth has had a reputation for being wild and not living by the rules. However, PRIDE encourages discussion about youth behaviour and their representation in general, highlighting positive aspects of youth culture. The film also mirrors current debates around youth culture, such as the conflict between generations and the overall acceptance of young people in society.
One of the best qualities of the film is how a group of youths brought people together. This underlines the positive impact youth culture can have on a community. A key scene is when LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) travel to Wales and bring together the village’s community in sharing the money they have collected. In doing this, they change the dynamic to something positive. This collective action suggests the potential for young people to be the voice of the future and many believe that they will re-shape the way we think about certain aspects of contemporary culture.
In PRIDE, youth has the capacity to be creative and to use that to their advantage. Dominant discourses in media, and now social media, require youth culture to always be up to date with the world. Because they have witnessed numerous changes, their creativity and knowledge is more advanced than in previous decades. As cultural theorists Steven Best and Douglas Kellner argue, “contemporary youth are major players in the postmodern adventure because it is they who will enter the future and further shape the world to come”. This applies strongly to PRIDE as a story of youth culture supporting a cause and sending the message that homosexuality is not a disease. Considering the youth in the film as the major players, they made Britain aware of the good you can achieve by using your mind.
PRIDE spark debates around contemporary youth culture, returning to the events of the 1980s to show how youth culture is at the centre of change. The film opens doors for a discussion about how our youth are acceptant of others and build on their creativity to do something positive. They are on the front line of change in contemporary culture and have the potential to construct a promising future. While there is still a divide between generations, and homophobia and racism still exist across the globe, PRIDE’s representation suggests Britain has changed for the better and contemporary youth hold the key to change.