Flashing gang hand signs in photos - can anyone begin to explain this?

Now that I’ve joined Facebook, I’ve been browsing several personal photo albums. The thing that baffles me most - aside from the omnipresent fishlips and the mandatory sticking out of tongues - is the ubiquitous flashing of gang hand signs as a means of posing for a photo.

I knew this existed, but I guess I never appreciated how common it is until now. Do folks do this to be edgy? To go along with the crowd? To make others think, ‘ya know, that 22-year-old suburban blonde with the pink nails drinking an appletini might just be a Crip’?

To each his/her own, I guess, but I would feel stupid as hell posing for a photo in such a manner. I guess I’m no damn fun.

They’re just doing it to be Shocking.

It’s to be funny, guys.

They can’t think what to do with their hands when they’re posing.

Because WEST SIIIIIDE…bee-atch!

They’re not thinking of it as throwing gang signs. Holding your hands up in pictures has become the standard expression for “what up, y’all, get this party started whut whut!” for people having a good time. It’s more an imitation of hip hop hands than of gang signs (more on the hip hop hands). If you told them that they just accidentally threw a hand sign identifying themselves as a member of the Gangster Disciple Nation you’d probably get a blank stare.

I knew this was common 20 years ago. Guess I haven’t noticed it lately or it became so commonplace I look right past it.

What gang signs, specifically, do you see your friends holding up?

They’re not gang signs. They do them to rep that they too, are suburban white youths.

But people do it because others do, that’s why. It’s in the same category as duckface or taking a cellphone photo in a dark bathroom with the flash on and holding it high above your head to hide flaws. It’s also why piisu.

I don’t see a single example of the signs people actually do in the photos. Westside being a big one. Around here, it seems to be done ironically, based on the fact that no town around here is big enough to have a west side.

This, this, and this are good examples of what I’m talking about.

This is the right answer IMHO. I know on the Straight Dope there are those “Why do people go to parties?” or “Why would anyone go to a bar?!?” or “Explain to me this thing called doing things for fun!” but it’s hard to imagine that people don’t understand that people are doing these things to be silly and have fun.

Would I do it in a serious situation or picture? Nope. Honestly, I’m more of a thumbs-up girl so that’s just my personal preference for silly picture fun.

Ooh! Janet Lynn! She was adorable! And that was a gold-medal performance, even WITH the fall.

As for the hand signs, idiots will be idiots.

The appeal of bars and parties is easy enough to understand, unless you grew up a flipper baby scrounging for grubs in your parents’ cellar. It’s tougher to fathom what could possibly be “fun” about intentionally looking like a moron by flashing quasi-gang signs while being photographed. It’s right up there with the mystery of duckface, which inexplicably continues to exist despite making multitudes look like complete idiots and nobody look cooler.

Many of those people don’t even know it’s a gang hand sign: they’ve seen someone they think is cool doing it and hey, what better way to be cool than to ape somebody else?

This may come as a surprise but your opinion is not one that they care about.

To each their own. I get your confusion. It’s like how I don’t understand people who feel the need to try to make jokes every.single.chance they get on messageboards just so a few people will tell them how funny they are. It’s like they heard Michael Jordan talk about making so many baskets because he TRIED making so many baskets and they apply that to their joke telling (in)abilities. They inexplicably continue their hurdy durdy despite looking like a complete idiot more often than not.

I only know the first one. That one isn’t a gang sign, that’s “Rock Horns” or “Devil Horns” and it’s ancient (back when I was a kid even :D).

'Course a lot of people do them “wrong,” you’re supposed to hold the thumb in, out and it means “I love you” in ASL.

I think the guy in the second picture is flashing a Blood sign and a Crip sign together.

I just noticed that in my third example we get a bonus semi-duckface thrown in.

No extra charge, I hope.