CELEBRATING THE GROUP SCREAM

CELEBRATING THE GROUP SCREAM

You’ve seen the images of adoring girls screaming their hearts out, tears streaming down their faces, as their favorite bands take the stage. It is way too easy to dismiss this as pubescent silliness. There is actually something serious going on here.

You see, they are participating in a powerful group bonding experience. They all become totally engaged in the bigger – wilder – moment. They hook onto one another and get lifted above the mundane. If they hear that same song on the radio, the urge to scream is not there (or it’s at least diminished.) It is important to yield to the group – to participate.

Now, let’s change the venue and the age – and maybe even the gender. The Green Bay Packers are running onto the field. The stands are filled with screaming cheese heads – roaring their support. It’s the very same group ritual. All their voices becoming one. They experience the kind of high that only a stadium full of fans can bring.

Our culture encourages girls to be ‘into’ relationships – into love. So these concert rituals promote those values. How exciting it is to imagine being in love!!! Our culture encourages boys (and men) to be strong, agile and competitive. So sports events promote those values. How exciting to win!

Robert Montenegro of Big Think writes about this phenomenon in his article, Screaming fans at pop concerts: part tradition, part primeval roar.

In the Cultural Identities section of Art in Real Life, I explore some of the ways groups reinforce belonging. You might want to check out  How do we show we belong? Gender and Sexuality to explore some of the other ways groups manage to keep members connected. 

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