In the past few years, we’ve seen a wave of new branches attempt to sprout from the tree of Goth. Typically, when we talk about goth in a general fashion two visions come to mind; Traditional Goth and Victorian Goth. The other variations? Well, that depends on who you ask.
The One True Goth
Look, I’m going to level with you. It is a beautiful thing that this culture has survived long enough to even have conversations about which variations are or aren’t appropriate. However, you cannot force people to identify with one thing and one thing only for the rest of their lives. There is some cool shit out there. There are people who are going to take things from here, with or without your (generous, although pretentious) approval. So yes, there may very well be 100% hardcore traditional goths who will be that day in, day out. But that is not everyone, and honey, shit’s changing.
It’s interesting that while some people cling to the original goth style with a deadly grip, they can acknowledge that sometimes, everybody looks the same. The pro-side of this is unity, there’s a readily identifiable group of people who like the same things you do. That’s good. The downside is that obviously when everybody is aspiring to the same look, it’s begging for some sense of individualism. I feel like you see that more when goths hit their 20s and not only want to be more themselves, but also have to balance their appearance with work, school, and their gothiness. That’s fair right? So we, as a group, allow some deviation from the classic look already.
Pastel Goth, now with Real Sugar and 50% more darkness!
If I recorded every conversation I’ve had with people about pastel goth, nu goth, and all the variations in between, I could have made a documentary by now. What’s the issue? When these more recent variations of goth spring up, they tend to be superficial. They primarily focus on fashion, with light touches here and there alluding to some culture, whether goth or otherwise, but usually the later. They tend to have no ties to actual goth culture and like to borrow its “edginess” and “cool factor” because it’s the trend. More importantly, there is no understanding of community, and if there is one, it is in the most basic sense of the word. That’s the issue.
Now, that’s not to say, no one who is pastel goth can’t also be a full fledge goth, but goth has a sort of unspoken qualifier which we will call goth credibility. There is a little sacrifice in living the goth life through and through. People tend to look at you weird, make rude comments, and it’s harder to get jobs or even be received in a positive way when meeting new people. It’s something every goth has experienced at least once, so when newcomers don’t have to experience that and then be interviewed for, let’s say, a magazine like their representative of goth, it’s annoying as shit.
To Bitch or Not to Bitch, that is the question.
And it’s a good question. The same way we have the scale of non goth to ultra goth, we also have a scale of how seriously we take goth culture. Goth has its history of people who have been assaulted and killed for looking alternative, (and if you’re new, the name you should googling is Sophie Lancaster). It’s a large enough community to warrant the establishment of goth clubs and nights, shift fashion trends (take a look at how long the goth trend lasted), has had influence through literature, music, and movies alike and has helped many people find friends and themselves. So it’s a fucking culture and some acknowledgment of that will take you a long way.
But how loud do you really want to bitch about the new era of goth? Elitism is still a problem amongst those who want to stay forever and those that want to be there and really be there, goth club nights are dying out (though some are making a come back), and the trend has left us looking at new people with a level of scrutiny that is sometimes undeserved. The result? People usually end up feeling unwelcome or even more determined to rock themselves with a little distancing from goth culture, so the bottom line is: you can’t outright stop anyone from mixing things up.
But We Still Have a Say…
When it comes to mixing two or more styles together, as long as the majority of it is goth, then I don’t see a problem with the use of the label. But if goth is a whisper with no real elements in it, then it’s not really goth is it? We’ll get into Pastel and Nu Goth soon.
However, I’ve personally had it with reading about basic gothlings who don’t read, don’t listen, and honestly don’t try. I’ve mentioned before how we kind of have a little democracy in what is accepted here and what isn’t, and I think that still stands but I also feel goth culture has gotten a little…comfortable with itself. When given the opportunity how many of us still go all out, or do we take another day off from dressing goth? If we are so uncomfortable with the rise of the nu, then all that means is we need to quit being lazy with ourselves and lead by example. If you don’t try, who are you to go after someone for not trying?
Get out the eyeliner, the Bauhaus, and sewing needles, it’s time to show these kids how it’s done.
The post for the 666 is : Can you mix anything with goth? Should it even be considered goth?
Until next time,
Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.
Zakkarrii Edison Daniels