Damned If You Goth, Damned If You Don’t

The other day I asked someone if they were a goth kid and they said no. Out of curiosity, because it’s me, duh, I asked why they weren’t. It seemed they had to be dangerously close to the idea of it considering where I met them (a goth club), our shared interests in various alternative things and how they dressed. In their explanation, they listed off the traits of a stereotypical goth, the kind of thing we’d see if say a reality show were to have a couple households switch the maternal figures for a week for a bit of culture shock.

Last week, a friend of mine, an actual goth, was denied an opportunity because they weren’t “Spooky” enough. Considering what the opportunity related to, I thought that was a bit weird, if not a tiny bit elitist. Weren’t weird kids supposed to look out for each other?

And then me with my strangeness…full color, present in the goth scene but still withdrawn, and a bit loud…am I bad goth?

“I’m/We’re not like those other goths.” is a statement I hear often.

“Other goths like…?” I ask and there’s the slow incredulous blink of judgment, like how could I call myself a goth and not know what they’re talking about. They’ll list off stereotypes I’m almost positive were solely fueled by okayish films of the 90s and I’ll ask them when was the last time they saw someone like that. “Oh I don’t go out as much as I used so it’s been a while” (The people who say this the most are ones I see frequently at goth clubs I attend weekly.) I’ll sit and try to find one person who uses the label to the extent of a lifestyle and fits that description. Then I’ll get tired, get a taco and think it must be an online thing.

Let’s be fair. I know exactly what you’re talking about.

south park goth

I don’t actually want to alienate anyone, so I have to use this.

Arrogant, pretentious, entitled, tacky, kitschy goths who remind you two exchanges into a conversation why you don’t like to go to goth clubs. I know, I know. They take up too much space for only themselves, look down their noses at everyone else who isn’t like them (god, it must be so exhausting to hold a head that high…) and they love the idea of factions in the goth scene (as in you say the last goth club you went to and they’ll nod knowingly “Oh you go there? I see…”).

But are they the embodiment of the label?

I don’t think so.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an individual goth within range of a strong wifi connection is going to be exposed to a myriad of things.

Things being movies, books, music, YouTube channels, which will ultimately contribute to their goth expression. It’s of such little consequence how that expression is expressed because I noticed you let so many superficial, conventional bitches looking for a freak show in here, I am surprised you had the audacity to start scrutinizing people who actually contribute to the scene.

Too real? Buckle up.

“What’s the point? Goth is dead.”
Oh, stop. If some tourists can kill your idea of what goth meant to you, maybe it’s your intentions that are weak, not the goth culture.

goth is dead tombstone

Who else remembers? Because I will never forget.

And if you get angry about that…good, it means you actually give a shit.

Okay, but who gets to use the label and who defines it?

While goths who participate in the culture/lifestyle part of the label are still trying to find an all-inclusive definition, it’s basically a free for all. I don’t like it, but without any concrete standards or begrudging admittance of cliques, whoever is the most visible will get to have their definition adopted. That essentially means the further one deviates from the stereotypical goth the more they are doomed to a life of obscurity and hunting in the shadows for their brand of gothic sustenance as opposed to what ends up on television.

It’s really not that different from mainstream culture, you know…except when we celebrate or boycott something it actually makes a significant impact to the layout of the community…

Where were we…oh, yes, labels. I would gently argue that “goth” is going through its own period of reinvention and has settled into a momentary phase as a term of convenience. Has it not been a volatile time for the world in general for the last decade or so where these arguments about what is or isn’t goth have become softer as a large portion of the goth demographic have had to tone down their look for the job market? So we’re seeing a change of expression, the current “goth” style is one of versatility for work to the club. That Suburban goth trope is so outdated for the reality goths face now it’s actually beginning to annoy me.

It is leveling out though. We’ve moved out of mainstream society’s focus and in a year or two, whoever is left still using the hashtag will shape something out of the mess the tourists made.

If there is one thing goth is… it is resilient.

As for my being a bad goth…
zakkarrii is the strange goth

For the 666: What is your definition of goth? Are you happy with your goth self?

For more on Living the Strange Life take a moment to Join the Strange Collective and follow this blog. To see a different perspective, follow me on YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook.

Until next time,

Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.

Zakkarrii Edison Daniels

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