Believing in Bowie


Aden Schulze-Miller, Editor in Chief

“How Davd Bowie and his music can help you believe in yourself and establish your identity.” 


“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – D.B.


David Bowie (1947-2016) was an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actor who revolutionized the music industry. Known as the “Musical Chameleon”, Bowie was an extremely talented experimentalist and icon, revered by his fans and peers alike. 


Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, the artist was recognized for his fight to normalize sexual and personal freedoms as well as diversity as realized by the Hippie movement (which occurred around the time he commenced his career in music.) A provocative figure, Bowie indulged in free spirited sexuality with men and women alike which inadvertently defied the conservative English and American values at the time. 


Bowie’s renowned manifestation as “Ziggy Stardust”, one of his many stage characters, included his wardrobe being fitted with colorful dresses and his face painted with heavy makeup; Bowie’s stylistic and sexual inclinations gained him worldwide recognition at the time, his masterfully beautiful and platinum records being set aside.


The musician imposed shocked looks of awe, wonder and confusion upon himself, this being a general reception of his career up until and past his death. As of five years since his passing, David Bowie is remembered through his catchy songs such as “Starman” and “Let’s Dance”, his collaboration with Queen in “Under Pressure”, his fantastic acting role as Jareth the Goblin King in the 1986 film Labyrinth, and his iconic red and blue lightning bolt (which is one of the defining symbols of social struggle and the Alternative music scene). 


Context established, David Bowie was an important and revolutionary figure in music and pop culture; there are more songs on the radio that belong to him, or were inspired by his music, than you’d initially think if you’re not part of the generation that grew up on his work. 


A rebel of his own era, Bowie’s actions and influence apply to a lot of struggling youth in the contemporary 21st century. Current conservative social standards have become more progressively liberal since the 70’s and 80’s, yet there is a lot of social contention between provocative sexual and aesthetic freedoms in society. 


Teenagers and young adults alike commonly struggle with their identity, a suffering shared with Bowie in his twenties and thirties; Bowie defied expectations, though, and expressed his ever-changing identity with pride. 


Not everyone’s going to get the chance to become a renowned and fabulous actor-rockstar, but everyone has the chance to indulge in their confidence when establishing themselves in a vast and complicated world. 


David Bowie is not a perfect role model to be adored, but his swagger and confidence against all the odds of a strict social sphere offer an opportunity and source of inspiration for all of those in a similar position that he found himself in. 


There’s no need to force provocativity on said social sphere to the extent that Bowie did, causing conflict and social strife through his rebellion, yet in following through with his willingness to become what he wanted to be – he became a symbol of self expression and fulfillment. 


And so, Bowie should be used as that guiding symbol. If you believe in Bowie’s confidence, in how it helped him find himself in regards to his identity, sexuality and aesthetic, then you can apply that to yourself and find appropriate results all the same. 


Those things, ‘identity, sexuality and aesthetic’ are such complex and powerful parts of our identity. They’re concepts, but ones that define our relationships and personality. If we conquer them, and recognize that we can be what we choose to be, then we’re bound to grow all the better because of it. 


Bowie is a great source of inspiration, yet it comes down to the individual to make their own decisions. Everyone deserves to be able to believe in themselves and establish their own identity, and doing so is one of the greatest quests we have in this life. 


Believe in yourself, and if you’re struggling, just know that Bowie would have believed in you as so many of us believed in him and his capabilities. You’re destined to always become who you truly are, finding yourself, you just need the confidence (and you must know where to look)!