I think this is one of those topics where everyone has a different opinion, especially because this is also linked to the eternal discussion of “how much do you have to know/like about the subculture to be considered goth?”.
I think all subcultures evolve and change shape all the time, and pastel goth is just something evolved from goth. Goth wouldn’t exist in the first place if people hadn’t started doing their own take on punk. There is so much elitism and policing in our subculture already that I don’t think it does any good to tell people that they have no place with us because they choose pastels over black. I wouldn’t like trad goths or punks telling me my look is “wrong”, so why would I do that to someone who dresses in one of the newer styles? Fashion is only a fraction of what goth is and there are loads of goths who don’t look the part at all. So to judge someone as “not a real goth” based on their look - pastel goth or not - is in my opinion quite narrow-minded.
It’s also good to remember that there was a big pastel goth trend a few years back (which is different from the pastel goth subculture) and that’s what most people seemed to have a problem with, as it really had nothing to do with goth. Not the music, not the literature, not the fashion, not the aesthetic, not the films… It literally was inverted crosses on lilac shirts, black lips and a “fuck you mom and dad” attitude labeled as goth by mainstream fashion brands without having any knowledge or understanding of what our subculture is about. So it’s good to keep in mind that the trend and the rise of the subculture were happening at the same time (and very often crossed paths style-wise and there’s nothing wrong with that) but are two different things. The pastel goth subculture is still going strong and is full of fun, goth-y people just like the rest of us, and in my opinion it’s just a different take on goth and I welcome them to our community.
I hope this makes sense, it’s been a long day and my brain is a bit fuzzy.