So i have identified as goth for around ten years now and have been pretty active in the community. Over time i have seen the ugly side of goth. I have seen bullies, elitists and kids just trying to fit in. As i get older i have started developing my own opinions on the subculture based on what i have observed. This pertains both to the physical community i belong to and the online community. This post is for young, modern goths who feel that they have been ostracized from the community. But more importantly, this is for the elder goths or Trad goths who do not understand why young goths are the way they are.
So lets start with a brief history lesson. Yes it can be a little difficult to pin down exactly when and where goth came from, but most agree that it started in the late 70′s to early 80′s. It was a subculture based around a genre of music. Some of the most popular bands being Bauhaus, UK Decay, Siouxsie and the Banshees etc. These bands garnered a lot of very dedicated fans that have stuck around throughout the years. Back when the community was still new there weren’t many complicated guidelines for what made someone goth. Basically all you had to do was listen to the music and have dark tastes. Most goths had a dreary view of the world and their attitudes often reflected that. As the years went by, the club scene and community grew. Throughout the late 80′s and early 90′s came the second and third wave goth bands. Alas this is where everything starts to sort of fall apart and everyone’s attitude begins to change.
Throughout the 90′s the subculture became a little more exposed. This bothered a lot of goths who were there for the original scene. Most preferred that the scene and its music stayed underground. Because of this, many goths, old and modern were becoming divided. This is around the time that everything began branching off into sub styles. Most young goths weren’t just goth. They were Cyber goth or Romantic goth. All the original kids from the scene were now referred to as traditional or Trads for short. Many Trads resented what the scene had become and insisted that the only way a band could be considered goth was if they had a very particular sound and the only way someone could be taken seriously as goth was if they listened to the bands with that sound. But evidently this stunted the evolution or growth of the music. Whereas genres like pop, rock and country have evolved and grown over the years along with the new generations of fans, goth music for the most part stayed the same.
But in keeping this same sound and by keeping the music more underground, this allowed for the media to actually shape the new generation of goths. Kids were no longer being attracted to the music, but the fashion and the idea of being connected to other people through having a dark mindset. Because of the lack of exposure and evolution of the music, the subculture had to evolve in other ways. Most young goths nowadays will tell you they never heard of a single goth band before realizing they were goth. Thats because most of these bands are now irrelevant and outdated. Unless their parents made them listen to Sisters of Mercy or Siouxsie and the Banshees, they had never heard of them.
This is proof that the subculture has changed drastically over the years and has had to find other ways to survive. Of course there still are plenty of Trads out there but a lot of them can be a little hard to get along with if you are a young goth in the scene. There is still this pressure to listen to the old music and what a lot of Trads fail to understand is, most kids these days dont want to listen to old, outdated sounding music. Just like modern fans of pop music arent fond of listening to old Madonna and many modern Country listeners dont have Dolly Parton on their I-pod, many young goths dont feel inclined to listen to Bauhaus. Its not that they dont want to listen to Goth music, it’s just a little outdated and often not what they expected. Think of it this way. Classical music was huge in its time, but how many people actually favor and listen to it today? Not many. And the reason for this is because for the most part, classical music sounds the same. It hasn’t evolved much and both music and people have changed since it was popular. Yes some people still listen to it, and many appreciate it for everything it is and has done for music, but it is still very outdated by today’s standards.
Sure, sometimes its great when a type of music stays exactly the same. But fifty years from now when all the original Trads are dead and gone and most of the music has long been forgotten, then what? Will the scene really and truly be dead? Maybe the musical side of it, yes. But since the 2000′s the scene has progressed and evolved greatly and will most likely continue to evolve for years to come.
For now there will be butt hurt. There will be the Trads who pick on the young generation. But what Trads need to understand that without balance and evolution things die off. If they had let the music evolve and change a bit more then more modern goths would flock to it. If the music had stayed relevant, the scene may not have changed as much as it has. Personally, I love my fellow goths, whether they are young, old, modern or traditional, we do still all have a lot in common. We are misfits, bound together through our love for gothic art, poetry, music, fashion and overall appreciation for the darkness. So not all modern goths like the old music. They still appreciate the same stuff you do. This world is a grim one. Is it too much to ask for a little piece amongst like minded people?