subcultures

I have said this before but I think we are living in a time when people are more obsessed with their bodies than they were even 10 years ago- I think many men are as obsessed with their weight as women have been for longer. And it is especially prominent in what I guess you’d call hipster subcultures for people to literally just run on calorie deficits all the time- bike all day, eat next to nothing, develop a smoking problem that further suppresses your appetite, binge drink, repeat. In subcultures like that I think it is generally not very conscious but that doesn’t mean it isn’t culturally engrained.

The problem with some young goths and the unintentional erasure of the goth subculture

I’ve complained enough about elitists over the years and to be perfectly honest, elitists arent the only problematic members of the goth subculture. If you were to put goth on a scale it would be be broken up into three major groups.

On one end you would find the elitist group. A group of goths who believe that there is absolutely only one way of being goth and in order to be it you must abide by their strict rules. These are the people who prefer to bully other goths than keep their opinions to themselves. This group is usually on the smaller side because most goths dont like engaging with them because of the drama that they bring. But i’ve already discussed this group many times before.

In the middle of the scale we have a very balanced group of goths. This is also the largest group. This group encompasses thousands of goths around the world of different styles and ages. These goths believe that goth is a subculture and is something that should be respected. These goths are also very aware of where and when goth started and how. This group respects the music and though not everyone in this group listens to goth music, they are still very aware of its importance to the goth subculture. This is the best place to sit on the scale. These goths often feel that goth should not dictate who they are as a person but at the same time these goths feel that the history and the music should be respected.

Now we get to the last group that unfortunately has been growing in numbers over the past few years. This is the group that poses a threat to the preservation of goth as a subculture.

First, i’m going to start with a definition for the word “subculture”

A cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture

This means that a subculture is a smaller culture within a larger one and that there are specific values, beliefs and interests that divide this culture from the larger. So in order to be a part of a subculture you must have these same beliefs, interests, and values. Of course there is a ton of wiggle room when it comes to the goth subculture. Goth does not restrict you to these interests and values, but instead allows you to include your own. You can be goth and have non goth interests. You can be goth and listen to non goth music. Also the values that are often considered more mandatory are simply based on respect. Many will say that you dont have to limit yourself to listening to only goth music but, it is important to respect the music because the subculture, fashion, etc. wouldnt exist without it.

This is where problems arise. In the modern goth subculture, we are seeing more and more goths throwing these values out the window and ditching all respect for the subculture. These people are treating goth as more of a fashion statement than a culture. Goth was never meant to be a superficial concept lacking any depth or substance. Like punk, goth was a strange and amazing phenomenon that occurred at just the right moment in time. Goth was this thing that connected people through a love of dark music and a taste for the darker, stranger side of life. The fashion sort of came after and was mostly influenced by the artists producing these dark genres of music. So no matter how you look at it, goth music is really what kick started the whole thing

But many of these young, new goths dont care about that. They believe that goth is anything they say it is. When this is just not true. You cant walk up to a member of  X subculture and tell him that his values and beliefs dont need to be respected and that X culture is completely subjective. Thats just not how subcultures work. Subcultures are not subjective. Goth as a subculture is not subjective. You can be a goth have your own views on the world. You can have your own interests and beliefs but goth is still a subculture and certain values NEED to be respected. If we dont respect these certain values than we risk losing our subculture.

By ignoring the history and beliefs of a subculture you are leading to its erasure. And if you know anything about today’s social issues, this should sound very familiar. We live in a time where all cultures, not just subcultures, run the risk of being erased due to racism, appropriation, the domination of mainstream cultures as well as other factors. So its important that we keep some of these values and continue to respect the history of goth as a subculture.

Unfortunately this is becoming harder and harder to do, with the rise in popularity of blogging and social media as an outlet for expressing one’s personal views and opinions. Many goth blogs on tumblr are getting popular for very superficial reasons such as fashion and aesthetic purposes. Its very easy for a blog that only posts goth fashion to become popular and though this isnt negative on its own when the person behind the blog starts divulging their opinions about the subculture, they already have a large follower base to listen to them.

So if this blogger who only cares about goth fashion, who doesnt respect the subculture starts pontificating on topics they know nothing about or respect, this will subsequently lead to a large number of less educated people to believe in misinformation about the subculture. If a popular blogger starts saying things like, “you dont need to respect or like goth music to be goth,” or, “you dont need to know anything about the history of goth to be goth” their followers will start to believe this, when its just not true.

If this keeps up like it is, eventually we are going to see a lot of young goths who dont care about the subculture. Who only want to be goth because “it looks cool” or “it scares my parents.” Goth will eventually become nothing more than a trend. Something a kid does for attention. This will also divide goths even more. You will start seeing a lot of older goths stop wanting anything to do with the younger generations and their lack of respect for the culture.

Yes goth should be something a person can have fun with but there is more that divides goths from the mainstream than just our look and many of us would like to keep it that way. Goth used to be about music, literature, art, philosophy and more. Goths were mature, refined and intelligent people who liked discussing topics such as philosophy and psychology.  We were a cultured breed who enjoyed history and arts. Goth is not a gimmick. Its not a trend. Its a way of life and its a culture. And many of us are tired of seeing younger people try and ruin that.

And another thing. This is something that is not said enough and its so damn important. You do not need to be goth to like goth things. You dont have to restrict yourself to a label. Its okay to like goth things and not consider yourself goth, in fact i encourage it. If goth really is right for you, you will want to know everything about it naturally. You will feel a passion for learning about its music and history and above all, you will respect it. If not, maybe goth just isnt for you and thats okay. Even if you dont fit the label, you can still follow goth blogs and have goth friends and go to goth events but if you really want to preserve goth, you need to respect it as more than just an image. You need to respect it as a subculture that is rich with history, art and very importantly, music. 

anonymous asked:

i like your blog but you post to many black goths. imho they just dont look right.

They look just as beautiful as any white goths and they have the right to express themselves and exist in this space as much as anyone else.

I’ve said this before but I’ll repeat since it needs to be said:

There is no right skin colour to be goth. Period. Goth is a composite of multiple things and appearance is just one fraction of all that. Skin colour, hair colour, make-up style, gender, and whatnot do not define whether you can be goth or not, and no way is the “right” way to have them.

The pale red-lipped and black-haired girl dressed in all black might be the stereotype of a goth but that is a very shallow and one-sided representation of the people in the community. How many of us actually fit into that stereotype? How many of us strive to look like that because if we don’t, we will get told we don’t look right? Goth has since its beginning featured many ethnicities, and there is nothing weird about non-white goths in the subculture. Research information and photos of the English goth scene in the 80s. There are loads of non-white goths absolutely rocking the original look (not to mention creating other forms of gothy art like alternative music). The main reason it “doesn’t look right” to you is because the stereotype is so strong and over-represented in gothic imagery. But we all know stereotypes can be terribly, terribly wrong, which leads to this kind of racism (yes, that’s what this is).

There are many gothic styles I personally don’t like, but it is not my place to tell those people that I don’t think they look good. I wouldn’t want them telling me that, so why would I do that to others? And I’m talking about styles that someone chooses to wear, so can you even imagine hearing it about something you cannot choose like skin colour? I understand that it is your personal preference and your opinion but is it necessary to bring it up when all it will do is discourage people from being a part of a community they feel they belong to? There’s a ton of people outside the subculture whose ignorance can make being a goth difficult, we shouldn’t be doing that to each other within the subculture too.

Some goths are black, some goths are Asian, some goths wear hijabs, some goths keep their natural hair, the list goes on. And they all look gorgeous and have as much right to express themselves in the subculture as white goths. In reality the subculture is extremely diverse but there is so much gate-keeping from goths who think that you need to look like X and listen to Y that we end up only seeing a glimpse of it all. That shouldn’t be, and as corny as it sounds, we should try to create a comfortable, safe community instead of one that shuns people out because they do not fit a stereotype.

The non-white goths aren’t going anywhere from my blog, they belong there as much as any white goth, classic horror heroine or Addams Family member.

Efi is a maker; while Sombra is a hacker. In terms of subculture, I mean.

Sombra would have absolutely entrenched herself in hacker culture, not as in breaking into classified documents and all that jazz, but just making cool shit. Bending systems, technological and organic. She was in it for the knowledge, and it spiraled out of control.

There’s kind of a divide between hacker culture and maker culture: if you’ve ever heard of hackerspaces and makerspaces, they tend to give off very different…airs, though the words are used interchangeably.
Makerspaces usually more “family friendly”, lighter, less anti capitalist as hacker spaces. Makers are usually far more optimistic than hackers. Keyword usually.

Efi is a maker. She’s small and hopeful and wants to defend her city. So she repaired a giant ass omnic at a very young age. She’s not using her skills to rip apart the system and reverse engineer it, she’s using them to defend it.

Sombra, however, is the opposite. She isn’t a child anymore. By most standards, never really HAD a childhood. She wants the truth and nothing but. She’ll tear it apart if she has to, hell, even if she just wants to.

Even with these conflicts between them, I feel like they have a strange sort of kindred. Both child geniuses. Efi probably doesn’t know who Sombra is, but Sombra definitely knows Efi.

Goth and Identity

So its been a while since i last blogged about goth, but sure enough i have discovered something within the subculture that has again left me torn between multiple sides. I’m talking about issues pertaining to identity. Identity is something very personal to each and every individual and it seems that a lot of people are again choosing sides when it comes to identity and how goths identify with the subculture.

Today i want to discuss these sides and where i stand between them. I also want to discuss some of the good and bad of having each of these minds sets about identity.

To begin, i want to discuss the goths who try too hard. So you’re one of us who really enjoys and cares about the subculture. You love the music, you also might be really into the fashion and it shows. But sometimes you might go overboard. I’m talking about the goths who get so caught up in being goth and proving just how goth they are that they almost miss the point of it. They let goth dictate their lives so much that they sometimes suppress parts of themselves that they feel make them less goth. This is not a good way to be. Of course there are goths out there that naturally love goth so much that it seems like they go out of their way to express it, and that’s fine. Its the goths that force themselves into tiny boxes and actually go out of their way to express it who are in trouble.

Say for instance you like goth music but Bauhaus isn’t really your taste, but you feel pressure to listen to them and make yourself like them because you think that it will make you more goth or that other goths will dislike you if you don’t. This is toxic and the only one you’re hurting is you. You don’t need to like every goth band just like you don’t need to backcomb your hair or wear authentic winklepickers to be goth. This is where people let goth get in the way of their own identities. Sure in order to be goth, you should probably know certain bands and care about the subculture, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop watching Steven Universe or throw away all your unicorn plushies just because those things aren’t stereotypically goth.

Goth is a label for people to identify with. Its not meant to rule your entire life. Ive said it before and I’ll say it again goths don’t like the things they like because they’re goth, they are goth because they naturally like those things. This does not mean you have to abandon all the other things you like just because those other things aren’t goth, this also means that you don’t have to like every aspect of the subculture to be a part of it.

Now moving on to another side of the subculture that has sort of a different way of looking at goth and identity, I’m going to call these people the “Goth is Goth type” These are the goths who believe that goth is simply a one word label and that substyles of goth are pointless or negative.

Now if you’ve been in the subculture for a while you probably already know that goth has multiple substyles and these substyles didn’t really start popping up until after the 80′s. Before then there was just goth and all it took to be goth was listening to goth music. So its understandable that most of these “Goth is Goth types” are elder goths who were around before goth started breaking off into substyles.

Many of these “Goth is Goth types” argue that substyles are nothing more than superficial fashion genres and that substyles automatically restrict you to a little box. What they mean when they say “goth is goth” is that it doesn’t matter how you dress, if you’re goth you’re goth and you shouldn’t let a substyle get in the way and dictate how you should express yourself through goth. And to an extent, i do understand this. I do understand where these goths are coming from. But i don’t think these goths are really taking the time to analyze it even further.

There are goths out there that dress in multiple substyles but there are goths out there that dress in only one or two. And some of these goths dress in a particular style, not simply for superficial reasons but because that style actually reflects their own identity. For example, there are some goths who call themselves Victorian goths and dress in nothing but Victorian goth fashion. Many of these goths actually have interests rooted in the Victorian era. Their favorite past times might be visiting Victorian themed exhibits at the museum and having Victorian inspired tea parties. So for them, Victorian goth just best reflects their personal tastes and identities. So you might think that by telling a goth that they shouldn’t limit themselves to identifying with a particular style is helping them to better express their identities,but it’s actually doing the opposite. For many goths, it’s more than just a substyle, it’s almost it’s own mini subculture that people can identify with that’s still a part of goth.

Not everyone feels like they need to put themselves into boxes or identify with one thing in particular but some do. Some take comfort in it. Lets also not forget that not every goth is neurotypical. Some goths may have mental illness and some may take comfort in compartmentalizing things. It might help them to break goth down into substyles and put them into neat little boxes that they can identify with.

Also breaking goth down into even smaller subgroups within the subculture is not always a bad thing. Some goths may argue that having subgroups is negative because some goths are only befriending other goths of a particular substyle instead of making friends with goths of all types and this is true to an extent. It is very important that we put certain differences aside and make friends with all goths, BUT sometimes its just easier and less stressful to make friends with goths that dress like you. Why? Because you already know that you probably have more than one thing in common. Sure it would be great if a romantic goth made friends with a cyber goth but if their tastes are totally different then they may have trouble attending clubs together or hanging out because their hobbies and music tastes just clash too much.

So for the most part how goths identify with the subculture really is subjective and not as black and white as some goths like to think. Whether you choose to dress goth, listen to every goth band or experiment with substyles, its important to respect everyone and create a balance so you aren’t letting goth dictate who you are. Its okay to care about goth and express it in every way possible but only if that’s what you really want to do and you aren’t sacrificing other parts of yourself to do it. Its also okay to enjoy non goth things and express yourself through specific substyles that you enjoy. Yes, you should make friends with goths of all types but its important to remember that you choose your friends and if you are more comfortable with making goth friends who dress and act similar to you that’s fine, the only one who should have a say on the friends you make is you.

The bottom line is everyone identifies with goth a little differently and that’s okay as long as you respect others and don’t let it change who you are. Don’t let goth or anyone in the subculture dictate your life or how you choose to express yourself. Self identity is important and you should never let goth change it.

Some younger goths react to goth so weird. Like some get into goth without knowing anything about the music and then they break under the pressure the subculture pushes on them, not only becoming elitists but the type of annoying, pompous twits most of us had to put up with in highschool. Goth music actually ruins a lot of cool people. And i dont mean the music itself. Its that pressure to listen to it. To enforce the idea that goth music has been and is the absolute most important part of the subculture when in reality most of the original goths dont care. Goth elders who had/have their own post punk bands and were there in the 80’s dont care. Goths in their 40’s who have been DJs at goth clubs for decades dont care. Goths in their 50’s who write and publish novels now who have a vast collection of underrated, underground goth music from the 80’s and 90’s on their computer dont care. Ive never met a single elder who was goth back then care how young people do goth now. Ive never seen an elder goth complain that kids these days dont know all the bands they liked. It seems that the ones who shove the music down everyones throat and try to dictate what is and isnt goth are all young people who have broken under the subculture’s pressures. Pressures that werent even there in the 80’s. Ive never been insulted or bullied by an elder but ive been put down by goths younger than me over petty things like saying i dont mind some nu goth fashion. Its really sad because i feel like some of these people really do give up parts of themselves just to better fit the “goth mold” and they miss out on enjoying other things in life. Most elder goths dont care if you listen to music that isnt goth. Most elders had friends back in the 80’s who were punks and mods and there wasnt pressure to know the name of every goth icon. Freaks and weirdos hung out together. There were goths who loved Bauhaus but hated the Sisters of Mercy. Goth before it had its name was different and it makes me sad to see kids turn into what they hate just to fit into an invisible mold. Just because a subculture came from music doesnt mean the music should become a tool used to control and dictate what and who is and is not part of a subculture. Music is powerful and meaningful and some people feel they cant live without it. Its terrible that so many younger goths use it as a weapon against people they dont like or agree with.