I hope you’ve had your coffee, because it’s time we had a chat.
It’s baby bats, Zakkarrii, that entire generation is screwed.
Shut your adorable little face because they’re not entirely to blame. I blame my generation, specifically those that pride themselves on having a blog, YouTube channel or whatever. We constantly (and sometimes smugly) fault the next generation for being superficial in Goth culture. Hell, we get pissed at them for not having to hunt for things like we did (yes, I’m here. Do you have a question?). But here’s the thing, people in my age group grew up with social media. We had Twitter accounts before Twitter used hashtags, learned basic html code for fucking MySpace and were having conversations about goth influences on LiveJournal. Now when everyone has a Facebook, a YouTube channel, an Instagram, we *gestures wildly* don’t need these conversations again. So we post selfies, lunches, cute clothes, market our content for baby bats in the most general of ways and the next generation thinks that that is all there is.
That’s a lot of responsibility to put on people who didn’t necessarily sign up for that.
You’re right, it is. My “calling people out” I guess, is not on the entirety of my goth generation. It’s specific with people who boost themselves up as being influential and make basic level shit, and then want to shame/disregard newcomers with superficial aims. Yes, let’s talk about makeup and movie reviews, and lighthearted stuff. Even I have posts waiting to be published about fucking goth bathrooms and Ouija board shower curtains. (Laughter not rage.) Yes, let’s get sponsored and make money off of creating content. But make other, substantial stuff too. The reality is the current goth content (reaction videos, makeup hauls, etc) with its hundreds of thousands of views has a shelf life and now, so does goth culture.
We talk about community and culture in such a profound way that major magazines will sometimes try to do features on it and that’s about less about goth now and more about simplifying goth from the past. The fact it’s relevant of to them is amazing but goth kids, weird kids are not superficial basic thought process bitches. We have actual discussions about politics and art, we arm ourselves to the teeth in logic and philosophy, we pride ourselves on wanting more from life and we look damn good doing it. The things that inspire us are not just beautiful…they teach us how to think and participate in the world around us. Isn’t it a bit telling whether we’re in sweatpants and t-shirts or corseted up to high heaven, we revel in our uniqueness with every breath, every step, every 3am Jack n the Box run after a night out?
So everyone should stop doing what they want to do and do what you say?
Nope. We need balance. We need makeup tutorials, sensationalized personalities, and cute clothes. I think lighthearted content is a good sign in any culture. I’m just saying the stuff that makes us stay here should be mentioned more. There is virtually no bridge between this generation’s predecessor and the one that’s following. You want real talk? Fine. I’m being selfish. Everyone is making the same thing, and I have very little content to consume. I end up “baby sitting” sometimes when I go out because people in my age group don’t even know how to think critically about the things that influence them, how to take it and run buck wild into the night. People like Daniel and Adrienne make content that lasts and will still be relevant months, years from now. Is it so wrong to plead into the shadows, “where …my people at?”
Real talk, huh…
If people can still make bank selling Joy Division shirts (proof of a market…), is it entirely far-fetched to imagine the shit we make now is going to have a significant influence on the future of goth? People want it, they want the conversations we have at Denny’s about weird shit, the emotional bonds we have to our weird music, bitches by being here, #goth on everything, we define exactly what it means. But, and forgive me, this next generation is practically unprepared to have these conversations. They’re goth illiterate and we’re doing a piss poor job teaching them how to read. (If I’m wrong, I hope they come down here and link me all their shit so I can see how awful I really am.)
A little heavy handed, I know, I know. But goth is…this concept born of asking questions and getting to the core of what inspires us, so we, in turn create something that carries that feeling, that extra umph. It’s taking at least a baby step in the unknown, the shadows of everything and seeing what can be found. It’s taught us so much about identity and creation, presentation in appearance and speech and to develop creative abilities because we needed more of what we loved. For some of us…it’s like an indescribable safe haven, where we may be very different from each other but we hold pride, respect, and curiosity above all else.
You don’t have to take it as “seriously” as I do, but does your 19th “exact replica of Siouxise Sioux” makeup tutorial actually say anything about you or what you like? But you could exapnd on it…be the “next” Siouxise Sioux…if Beck Black let’s you have a fighting chance.
You got all this fight, is Goth really the best use of your time?
*deep breath* I’ve wanted to be a psychologist since I was 13, and even then I was going to market myself to goth and alternative people. I’ve joked about being the Goth Doctor for years. I also love to make things, billowing goth-inspired skirts, brightly colored coffin boxes, notebooks, and have you seen my makeup?! As I got into blogging (since I was 14) and social media marketing as my goddamn hobby, still focused on niche audiences and alternative people. I was always going to be here. Always.
I see it like this. People who participate in goth also have to participate in society in general. There is no direct, in your face, declarative connection between societal issues and goth culture, even though we have to deal with a lot of society’s shit. As goth and alternative cultures are gaining popularity on so many levels, our potential audiences are growing. We have influence, and of all the social groups of people to quickly progress past being judged on your appearance or being able to elevate the way we have effective meaningful discussions, why the muffin not goth? We’re unique in every other way, wouldn’t that be something to add to the list?
There are millions of people better prepared to fight social justice issues, and be influential in their own spheres, that’s their thing and I support and share their work. I just turn around and talk to the people I identify with the most (hi) about the other communities I don’t get choose to be a part of… If you want to fight me, do it properly: make something.
I won’t, but your point is….
“Ask not what goth can do for you, but what you can do for goth.”
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Until next time,
Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.
Zakkarrii Edison Daniels