Sometimes the best thing about goth kids is our ability to be pretentious and laugh at ourselves in the same breath. Sometimes mainstream desires can shift the balance between the two and then I have to write something. Links are underlined.
The Good: I’m on the side that says exclusivity and elitism are two different things that sometimes go hand in hand. When I was a baby bat, getting rejected from the cool kids club, it gave me something to work on. I pushed myself to be as capable as the people I thought I wanted to hang out with. Eventually, this shifted from “please accept me” to “you can like me, but I’m really just trying to please myself”. While not everyone goes through that transition, it is a byproduct of the exclusivity. It ensures we collectively have standards, new people have something to work towards and let’s be real, they’re not unattainable. Don’t be that drunk asshat making women uncomfortable. Dress to impress. Don’t be so pretentious we find ourselves trying to forget your name. Make actual contributions. Hit the basics, then excel.
It also makes us feel good about ourselves. Let’s be honest, getting into places where only a few can go, meeting people who could change your life and getting to say you know them, it’s a little magical. It’s just that if the idea of exclusivity is allowed to inflate our egos, we can be a jackass.
The Bad: Elitism has never brought about anything good. There’s only so many people in goth culture and everybody talks or screenshots. Your name has been noted and it will be shared. Occasionally, we like to go to special events, bring out our best, feel a little bigger than we actually are. That’s fine, it’s human. But, how can I put this?
Elitism works with mainstream desires* because of the numbers. Some simple math: there are 8 billion people on the planet, there’s a good chance you are not the only person in the world trying to be the cutest queen on the block. So, to be successful, you have to strategize, hand select people to enhance your image, and you have to be fast because it’s kind of your business, your brand. You’re trying to stand out, make an impression, hold people’s attention, and how many people are watching you can affect all of that. Never mind being associated with the right people for dozens of reasons.
It doesn’t work so much with goth, because there aren’t as many people, and quality is preferred over quantity (or at least it used to be…). There was a time right before the social media blossoming, that goth culture was dwindling. Or should I say, there weren’t as many newcomers as there are now. We had a problem with elitism because people were superficial. Now we have a problem because people bring mainstream desires with them. Numbers look nice, but your passion looks nicer. It’s great that you know who’s who, but you can’t speak a word about…anything. Most people who care about the culture (and can see all the shade in this paragraph) know you can’t be a dick to people, then complain when they leave and the culture dies out with us. But if there are no standards, no opportunities to improve, well it’s just a free for all. This, too, can lead to the death of goth, because it losing structure and taking in bullshit.
*Mainstream desires being having a huge following for no real reason other then saying you have one, to get sponsored on various forms of social media but no real thought behind what you’re sponsoring, and to be desired in general, but not actually having to learn a skill or even how marketing works.
Just in case you think I’m wrong: Once upon a time, like eight years ago, high-end fashion designers wanted to try a new way of advertising. Bloggers were on the up and up, some had massive followings already at the age of 22, and could decently write about fashion. So when Fashion Week arrived, invitations were sent out to the most prominent bloggers and it was effective. Sort of. Sure it got people’s attention, but now, loads of people were trying to get into the fashion world, which was previously thought to be impossible unless you worked in the industry or knew someone who did. I think it was Fashion Week hosts more than designers pushing this second step, but they let everybody in. Gone was the exclusivity, high-end fashion could be had by all, and then what was the point? Designers were now at the mercy of bloggers with no real credentials related to fashion and just wanted to say they were there. The audience the hosts thought they were marketing to were put off by this free for all and kind of stopped paying as much attention. The third time they tried to appeal to bloggers, designers dropped out of Fashion Week, some saying it was becoming more like a zoo.
As an audience member myself, I stopped caring about fashion because it seemed so cheap now. I’m supposed to listen to Sarah struggling to tell the difference between goth and grunge, while actual writers about fashion receive no attention for a thorough demonstration of the relationship between European Impressionists’ painting inspiring patterns for several collections in the fall? I don’t think so. Now it’s almost back to the way it was, but the memory leaves a bad taste in everyone mouths.
So exclusive is fun if you enjoy the feeling of earning your place and can laugh at it sometimes. Exclusive is a pain in the ass when it becomes the only thing that matters. But what are your thoughts?
For the 666, what’s your take on the relationship between goth and exclusivity? Is there a cool kids club and what are the standards? Does it enrich or hinder the culture?
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Until next time,
Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.
Zakkarrii Edison Daniels