I'm really into the goth style/scene, whatever you'd like to call it, and I guess I'd consider myself a baby bat. >.< Is there anything I should know that you can help me out with?
This is a huge topic and it’s also linked to the eternal debate of what makes goth a goth, so I’m trying to stay with the basics.
Keep in mind that goth is more than just the fashion, and many would argue that music is the most important part of it. I suggest reading up more about the subculture and its origins just to get the right idea of what goth really is. Not every goth looks like one, and not all those who look goth are one. If you want to start with getting to know the music, I have a whole page dedicated to music (not just goth bands) that I think other gothy people would enjoy. (Just click here!). On top of basic literature and music, first-hand experiences and advice from Elder Goths are always great. Look up goths on YouTube, I’m sure there are great stories out there where people have been in the same situation as you. (I made a video about goths and stereotypes a few years back. You can watch it here.) What comes to Elder Goths, Gothic Charm School is full of great advice to both babybats and parents of babybats that should help you get started. (Auntie Jilli also has a Tumblr: gothiccharmschool.) To meet other goths and to see how diverse the subculture really is, follow the gothgoth tag here on Tumblr.
My own advice is one that I have repeated many times:
Do not force yourself into a box. You don’t have to be gloomy and pale with dark hair, red lips, and all black everything to be goth. As many goths as there are, there are that many ways to be goth. Do not pretend to be someone you’re not in order to fit a label. Your “ungoth” likes don’t make your gothy likes any less real and you don’t have to look or act like the stereotype to be goth. You “do” goth for yourself, not for anyone else.
It should make you happy.
Building a full wardrobe and finding your look takes time. DIY skills and second hand stores are golden.
It’s okay if your style changes. It’s okay if goth is just a phase for you. It’s okay if you don’t “look goth” 24/7.
Stay true to yourself.
This was a very basic answer and just a scratched the surface, so feel free to ask more if you have more questions (:
From what I remember, the backlash against "romantic" vampires came in the early 90s, partially because the book market was saturated with pale shadows of IWTV, and partially because the V:tM game linked, in the mind of Joe Public, the idea of vampires with brooding gothy teens pretending they were vampires every weekend.
For me, the type of “scary” vampires I want are “gentleman death in silk and lace, come to put out the candles”, but be genuinely inhuman. Elegant, cultured, charismatic, and so removed from human morality that they truly become Other. Why would they worry about taking lives to survive? They would treat individual mortals with absent-minded kind politeness, but they wouldn’t ever agonize about them being the food source.
I was hoping you would weigh in, Auntie Jilli. :) Just combining these so I can read them better!
I figured the backlash must have started much earlier than the Twilight Saga, as I’ve always felt Rice kind of set the tone for romance in vampire novels as we know it currently (although I could be simplifying too much/missing a key influence - always up for more reading!). I hadn’t thought about V:tM, and I imagine that a lot of people given the chance to be romantic vampires themselves, at least for a little while, would certainly bring in the critics. (I hesitate to call them purists, just because of how long the romantic vampire has been A Thing in media.)
But as the Twilight backlash is the most vivid to me, I remember towards the end of the series, it became the thing even for fans of romantic vampires to say the Cullens were too much, and the vampire needed to get back to its roots - however you define those, anyway. I remember a popular thing for new vampire books I read after that was to make sure they differentiated themselves from Twilight somehow, or even to throw in dismissive references (”Were you expecting me to sparkle,” etc.). I wasn’t Twilight’s biggest fan, but I still thought it was odd that people responded to this set of vampires so negatively in such a visible way, and I couldn’t help but wonder if there was precedence. I think it would be fascinating to compare the two fandoms, and see how different they really were as their canon continued to be published (especially given the differences in what was going on outside of the books).
For further investigation, I think I would also ask if it was just the Cullens people were reacting to because they were so visible, or if it was vampires as a whole at the time. I remember reading Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods series in between Twilight books (a very fun light read, btw, if you need one) and while their definition of vampire is pretty loose – similar to the Caine mythos in later V:tM, actually – I never saw that kind of vampire face the same kind of criticism (although it could be that they just weren’t as big).
I think your idea of “scary” vampires is very close to my own. It’s the thing that used to be a person, and can still kind of act like a person in the right contexts, but is very definitely Something Else with very little regard for those lower on the food chain. I always think back to Lugosi’s Dracula, how he invited Jonathan across the threshold, but something about it seemed… wrong? Like, more an invocation than a human conversation, if that makes sense. I always thought the Volturi were kind of funny and over the top, but I think a couple of times it did startle me how they could be so suddenly violent and think nothing of it. If I could add anything, I think it would be that they use their humanity as a sort of disguise – they’re very good at pretending, until it’s too late for the victim. Meyer and Rice have both kind of talked about how they made their vampires very alluring to mere mortals, like flowers almost, but I think it would almost be scarier to think you were going home with someone completely normal, until their teeth seemed sharper than usual.
(Ack, sorry this was so long. It’s exciting to get to talk about this with other vampire nerds. :D)
Do neighbours complain that you feed the crows? Most people consider crows as pests and I imagine actively encouraging them must make people upset. We used to have a feeder that attracted song birds and our neighbours complained about something as simple as that!
The neighbors on one side also feed the crows. The neighbors on the other side are amused by it. And the neighbor across the street has entertained himself for years by telling the neighborhood kids that I’m a witch. So no, none of them complain. :D
I really appreciate how openly you talk about your conversations with your fuzzy companions. I always talk to my dear Angus (my childhood teddy bear who is a Gund from 1985) when I have a problem and find much solace in chatting with him. Knowing you do it too makes me feel less alone and odd for it. Thanks Auntie Jilli <3
You are very welcome!
Sooooo, true story from Auntie Jilli’s Questionable Dating Choices of the Past: There was a guy I dated who was … not good. Controlling, emotionally abusive, a misogynistic jerk, didn’t want me to hang out with my friends because they weren’t “cool enough” … all of that.
(I found out years later that not only had my friends created a list of who, in order, had rights of punching this guy in the face, but also that if I actually got engaged to him (which badboyfriend kept talking about), my Dad and my friends had a plan in place to nab me and take me out of town for an intervention.)
(Did I mention I made questionable dating choices when I was young? Yeah.)
Anyway, what made me finally break up with badboyfriend? When he was talking about our moving in together, and he uttered the statement “When we move in together, you’ll get rid of those dumb stuffed animals.”
I broke up with him a week later.
So! Always talk to your fuzzy companions, value them and their conversations, and seriously side-eye anyone who tells you to get rid of them.
I don’t know if I mentioned, but during last week’s Cavalcade of Woe, I broke my favorite tea pot, which was a whimsical Alice In Wonderland tea pot.
Today I thought, “Hey! I’ll see if I can find a tea pot in my favorite china pattern!” Because while I have a fair amount of tea cups, bowls, and plates in the Royal Albert “Senorita” pattern, I don’t have a tea pot.
Ebay does not have a tea pot listed right now. But it did let me find out that holy BATS, the price for pieces of Royal Albert “Senorita” have gone up a lot.
How to cosplay your Auntie Jilli, the Lady of the Manners and Vampire Witch Queen
Updated from previous years!
If any of you do this, please oh please send me photos!
A full ankle length skirt, worn with petticoats, in black, burgundy, black & white stripes, or black & pink stripes.
A high-collared blouse that matches one of the colors of your skirt, worn with a ruffly jabot of a matching or appropriately contrasting color.
Black tights (or stripy tights if the skirt is black).
Black granny boots with not-too-high of a heel.
A black or burgundy frock coat or long vest/waistcoat.
A black top hat or wide-brimmed hat with lots of tulle.
Or hair pulled back in a giant bun.
Some sort of spooky pin or pendant (bat, skull cameo, bird skull, giant witchy crystal …) to wear over the jabot.
Ankh pendant on a long ribbon.
Smudgy/smokey eye shadow with lots of glitter.
Dark burgundy lipstick.
Long burgundy hair with pointy bangs and pale pink streaks at the temples.
Big silver rings on every finger.
Wire-framed glasses. (If you manage to find a pair of diamond-shaped wire frames, TELL YOUR AUNTIE JILLI!)
A cup of tea or a double americano with cream.
A bar of 70-80% dark chocolate.
A copy of Dracula or Interview with the Vampire.
A fuzzy toy bunny with fangs.
An MP3 player full of The Damned, My Chemical Romance, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, Siouxsie, Faith and the Muse, Jill Tracy, Chelsea Wolfe, Fall Out Boy, and Panic! at the Disco. And more My Chemical Romance.
Super-Advanced Fun Accessories!
A tall bald man with a strawberry blond goatee and glasses, in a black suit, a fond yet slightly grumpy expression, and a British accent.
A large chubby tabby cat with an adoring expression and pointy teeth.
And now that I’ve done that brief flurry of Goblin Market posts: I’m not actually going to be around today. Lots of work, lots of house things to get done. So before I vanish for the day, some gentle nagging:
Did you take your meds?
Did you eat something?
Do you have a cup of tea or coffee sitting somewhere that you’ve forgotten about?
And another thing (as I search eBay and Etsy yet again for my current fashion obsession): the WORST thing about searching for the vintage black-with-floral rayon dresses and skirts is that a lot of the sellers use a slur in the title or description. That is upsetting and rage-inducing.
The mildly vexing and perplexing things? That some of these sellers think they can get $70 or more for one, and the widespread delusion that anything from the 90s is “grunge”.
(On the other hand, I’m eyeing a goth floral CRUSHED VELVET version of one of those skirts, because it would be great for winter. “strewn with time’s dead flowers”, indeed.