A few thoughts on Goth…

So lately I’ve been really interested in sub and counter-cultures (Goth, Punk, etc.) and even deeper into sub-subcultures (such as cyberpunk, rivethead, steampunk, and Victorian goth). Therefore, being the curious, infomaniac I am, I have been doing a lot of research on the subject. But the one thing I have realized through all of this is that a lot of people misunderstand “Gothic” individuals. I mean think about it; what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think “goth.” Darkness? Evil? Satanist Paganism? So again, I did some research and I realized why: Gothic culture is very shaded. Most of the people that know the most about Gothic behavior and beliefs are Goth’s themselves. The stereotype that most people have accepted is that everything associated with Gothic culture is that by accepting this culture, they accept evil and demoniac likings, which is true to an extent. See, the thing I realized is that every culture has it’s bad eggs. Every people group, or clique, or whatever has people that are Satanists, or Pagans, or Wiccans. I mean, everywhere you go there is much diversity among peoples. There can also be Buddhists, Hindus, and even Christians as well.

Being Goth is an attitude first and foremost. Though there is a clearly defined aesthetic (black attire, dyed hair, piercings, fishnets, combat boots, and whatever else you decide to “integrate”), those are only things that, to the eye, define what goth is. Goth is about having your own style, doing things your own way, being an individual. BBC posted an article that said this best: “They are usually intelligent youngsters who have rejected the idea that teenagers must fulfill certain criteria.” 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But wait,” you protest. “Doesn’t becoming a Goth put you back into an acceptance of criteria?”

“Labels!” You cry, “It’s all about labels!” But that is that sad bit: Most people do put themselves back into labels with Gothic culture, and that is what saddens me the most. But really, the labels are only put there by those who aren’t goth. Those that are reject them entirely, which indeed puts them in a bind. But to find out more, let’s take a trip back to how “goth” got started shall we?

According to dictionary.com, the word “goth” means, “being of a genre of contemporary fiction typically relating the experiences of an often ingenuous heroine imperiled, as at an old mansion, where she typically becomes involved with a stern or mysterious but attractive man.” What does this mean? Well I’m glad you asked. It means that Goth was originally a fictional writing style. It was characterized by the large castles, creepy characters, and “damsels in distress” within them. However, this is not the only place goth came from. A website called Goths for Jesus (awesome, I know right?) defines goth this way, “Goth is an underground music subculture. It is a community that is centered around shared musical and clothing tastes. Goths are those who listen to Goth Rock, which sometimes includes Post Punk, ‘Deathrock,’ and New Wave music.” So what does this mean? Well it means that in the early 80’s, goth was about music. So therefore, “goth” is someone who is interested in art, literature, and music, and though it was originally about goth rock and fantasy novels, it is about whatever taste you like. So back to BBC we go:

“They are refined and sensitive, keen on poetry and books, not big on drugs or anti-social behaviour. They are also likely to carry on being goths into their adult life. They have an ability to express their feelings and are believers in romance rather than one-night stands, it says. In fact, the only things dark about them are their clothing and their sarcastic sense of humour.”

So what have we learned today? Say it with me class, “Goth’s are friends, not food.” What? Exactly.

If you want to read more of the BBC article, or would like some other resources on Goth Subculture, you can find them here:

BBC article

Goth’s for Jesus

Goth.net

Gothic Types*

*(A word of Caution: this is more about the different “stereotypes”; not 100% accurate but informative nonetheless. Wouldn’t take all of your information from this site, but it helps give you an idea of the different subcultures. I’d be willing to bet that if you do get all your information here, you will probably get yourself labeled a shallow poser, by no fault of my own I might add. A.k.a. Disclaimer Here. That is all. 😉 )

Comments, thoughts, all welcome.

Until next time,

-Nocturne out.

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4 Comments »

  1. This article is awesome. I did a search on wordpress and found this. Very well written and informative.

    The way I always explain the Goth subculture to people who ask is that it is a music-based subculture that was formed by people who followed the trends, attitudes, and ideologies set forth by Goth rock bands in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. Everything else that is (correctly) associated with Gothic culture is supplementary.

    As a spiritual Goth, I salute you and this article. Hope you don’t mind if I follow your blog. =D

  2. See that is exactly the kind of thinking I’ve been trying to show the people I talk to about it as well. Honestly the way I see it, condemning Goths for being Goth is like telling a rapper that they’re going to hell for being what they want to be.

    Anyways, I’m really glad that I could do justice to an amazing group of people. Even though I’m not Goth myself, I really respect how they are individuals regardless of what others think. So thank you; your words are welcomed indeed.

    And I don’t mind if you don’t; I’d very much like to see what you have to say on your own site 🙂

  3. Jukebox Said:

    Dude, this is awesome!!! I absolutely loved reading this and am glad you posted it… by the way if I were to put a label on you it would be that of a sub group called “punk-goth”. You rock 🙂

    • Ha, well thanks 🙂 And even though I really just hate labels, I guess I wouldn’t mind being named under that one. I know a lot of Goths have this thing where they don’t actually name themselves as Goths (which I’m sort of objective to, considering it makes sense but… doesn’t), but if someone else considers me one then hey, you said it, not me 😉 You may think me a hypocrite for that, but regardless of anything I only wish to be me (*^_^*)


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