makes me feel weird because she's younger than me

Talking with Baby Bats

Every goth out there has their own tips for baby bats. It’s not hard to find videos, blog posts and articles that give plenty of advice to people new to the subculture. But there is something pertaining to baby bats that i think a lot of people need. And thats advice on how to talk to/with them.

“Shouldn’t you talk to them just like any other goth?”

Not necessarily.

“I find baby bats annoying and i can never accept them as goths because they are so uneducated.”

Well you can always help educate them.

“I tried to discuss classic goth music with a baby bat and after i told them that Marilyn Manson was a shitty artist, they got really upset and started making a big deal. This is why i hate baby bats!”

To be perfectly honest, you really should not hate them and the problem is that you just dont know how to talk to them.

These are the types of comments i have heard from goths within the scene for years, which seems kind of odd considering that almost all of us have been baby bats at some point in our lives. So why is it so hard to talk to baby bats? Why do some of us resent them? Well it actually has a bit to do with psychology.

You see, most goths become interested in the scene during their teen years and many people over the age of twenty have issues with communicating with teenagers. Being a teenager comes with its own set of challenges and its your teen years that you start developing and becoming your own person. For many of us, our teen years are in the past and with new trends and changes, we start to loose the connections we have with younger people. This goes the same for people in the goth scene.

Goth changes and evolves little by little every year and the more it changes and the older we grow, the larger the divide between young and old goths becomes. If you are a goth over the age of 40 or 50, you may really struggle to communicate and find common ground with goths who are still in their teens. This is because you were most likely around during the original scene, back before the term “baby bat” was coined. Goths in the 80′s learned of the music and sub culture through friends and through attending clubs.

Goth today is typically discovered through fashion, so already there is a bit of a divide. Back in the 80′s there wasn’t media portraying shitty pseudo goth characters on TV. There wasn’t a lot of bands that portrayed a goth image but made non goth music like there is today. With all of this misinformation about goth, its understandable that not a lot of baby bats would know any better before doing some research. Alas this can be frustrating to older goths who just want to discuss the subculture and music with the new blood.

So how does an older goth go about talking to baby bats? Well first lets go over what not to do.

First, never tell a young goth that their music is shit. This is a big no no. Its bad enough that they probably get this from their parents all the time. Instead ask them if they have heard of the bands you listen to. Let them listen to them, tell them how that particular band contributed to shaping the scene. We have all been teens at some point so remember how much you hated being told that your interests and tastes suck or that your opinions are wrong.

Second, dont be hard on a kid for acting immature or trying too hard to seem edgy. A lot of kids do this. They are young and inexperienced. They are either looking to be accepted or they want people to see them as cool so they act in ways that you may not agree with. Emotions can suck when you’re a teenager. They can be crazy and make you doubt yourself. Many teenagers have low self esteem and are struggling to find themselves. At 16 they may try to act really vulgar and edgy but 5 years from now, they could turn out really laid back and polite. It’s important that you let a teen be a teen. Dont try to make them grow up too fast. Guarantee they will loose that edge lord mentality by the time they are an adult, so dont patronize them.

Third, don’t bash a baby bat for their clothes and makeup. Again they are inexperienced and are still learning. They have yet to figure out their own style or how to do their makeup.  Also many teens dont have money for a lot of fancy clothing and makeup. I know a lot of goths find Tripp pants to be very unflattering but to a lot of teens they look fucking awesome. I know, I used to own a pair. most young goths like looking intimidating. So spikes and chains are a great way to express that. Eventually many goths ditch this type of jewelry or learn to tone it down but dont insult a baby bat for wearing an abundance of it. Instead give some light fashion advice or tell them what you think they might look good in. Giving a young goth some of your hand me downs is a great way to help a goth figure out their style and they will definitely appreciate it so it will probably strengthen your relationship with them.

Fourth, Dont ignore them or pretend you are better than they are. This pertains to my own personal experiences. As a young teen, I longed for the only goth in town to talk to me. She was older and more experienced than i was and dressed really well. I was shy and didnt know how to approach her. I longed for her advice and friendship. She had quite a few friends and was better at talking than me. But every time i she saw me, she would either give me a weird look or just completely ignore me. It made me feel bad because i just wanted to connect with her. This is the case for a lot of young goths. There arent always a lot of goths around and it can be hard to make friends or get into the scene so showing that you care about a younger goth is one of the best things you can do to preserve the subculture. Recently i saw the only other goth in my town (other than my friend Emily) This girl was clearly young and inexperienced with goth and  was standing outside a coffee shop. I walked right by her and would have kept on walking if i had not been reminded about the time i was a teenager who wanted to make friends with an older goth. So i turned around and started a conversation with her. It turns out, she had seen me before and thought i was really cool and pretty. I was flattered and asked for her facebook. I hope in the future i can teach her a thing or two about goth and that we can be friends. That day i saw myself in a teenage girl and it felt really good to do the thing that i wished that older goth had done when i was a kid.

Now, i could go on for days about this but i think I have covered the most important stuff. It can be hard to relate to someone so much younger than you, but you need to put yourself in their shoes. Be kind to them and never too blunt. You can be subtle with your lessons and always keep in mind that you were once in a similar position as them. The best way to learn about goth is to be around other goths, so show you care and respect baby bats. One day they will grow up and become the best goth they can, and hopefully they will show another baby bat that same respect and kindness.

Young goths just want to find a place to belong so show them one. Understand that teenagers are not adults. Dont dumb yourself down when you’re around them, but dont try to act like their parent either. Just be a good person and let them listen to their music and be kids. They’ll find themselves eventually and either grow out of goth or grow into it. For some, goth is just a phase and there is nothing wrong with that. For others, its a big part of their life so help make it a positive one.