The Gothic Subculture | Teen Ink

The Gothic Subculture

May 14, 2010
By theblazingstar101 GOLD, Foley, Alabama
theblazingstar101 GOLD, Foley, Alabama
10 articles 1 photo 21 comments

What do you think of when you see a Goth? Do you think ‘Wow, that person is so weird?’ Do you think ‘Heavens, that person is scary!’? Do you see the black clothing, the piercings, the dyed hair and think of depression, violence, and Satanists? Is that what you think? Maybe it is, and maybe it is not, but the Goth subculture is something quite common today. Thus, it should be thoroughly explored and understood as it is.

The etymology of the word ‘Goth’ is quite varied. It and its variant ‘Gothic’ have had many and mostly unrelated meanings in the past. Goth could refer to one of the ancient Germanic Visgoth tribe, while Gothic could refer to a type of architecture or a style of writing. Goth actually began as part of the punk rock scene, rebelling against the bright lights and white of the disco era. It is actually a fairly new but growing subculture.

One can ask any Goth what being ‘Gothic’ is and will likely receive a variety of answers. The same is similar to asking a person what it is like to be a Christian, a feminist, an artist, or a writer. Rarely will anyone receive similar answers. As such, this essay will only cover the basic beliefs and ideas and further explain them.

The most common assumption is that Goths have a fascination with death, and to a degree this is true. However, it is not a new phenomenon. Rather, the Goth subculture seems to have evolved from the Dark Romance Era, an off-branch of the Transcendentalist movement (for those unaware, the Transcendentalists included such writers as Emerson and Thoreau, while the Dark Romantics included writers such as Dickenson and Hawthorne). The Goths as the Transcendentalists, have a fascination with death—not because they worship it or want to harm people, but because they wish to understand it. In this respect, Goth is much like a philosophy in itself.

The next most noticeable thing is the nonconformist way of dressing—the white make-up, the dark clothing, the Victorian accessories, and the dyed hair. This may not be part of all Goths, but it is some and therefore, deserves a mention. One might say because Goths do not like to conform, just want attention, or are just strange. However, I think it warrants a simple answer. Why are you wearing the shirt you are wearing now? Either you like it, or your mother bought it for you. Since most mothers probably do not buy their children Gothic clothing, it is probably safe in assuming Goths just like to dress the way they do.

The last couple things are that many Goths are violent, suicidal, Satanists, or vampires. Quite frankly, this assumption is just stupid. It is the same as saying all Christians are intolerant bigots. All feminists are sexist witches. All Americans are greedy pigs. It is an overall assumption based on a few generalizations, and it goes without saying that generalizations are often incorrect. As for being Satanists and vampires (or vampyres), there are people who are called Satanists and vampires—Satanists and vampires. This is another generalization, and a rather flawed one at that.

To sum, the Gothic subculture is often misunderstood, and because it is misunderstood, Goths are often suspicious about people merely curious to understanding. The only way to gain a true understanding, though, is to speak with Goths and do some research. You might be surprised by your finds.

The author's comments:
It isn't about depression or violence; it's about conquering them.

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This article has 5 comments.

prrrrrrrrr said...
on Jul. 1 2015 at 7:41 am
You can now tag other users by using "@" it its funny I am a christian but I love some of the goth fashion.I dress in black all the time my dark lipstick and black hair of course no tatoos or pierces nothing evil no skulls its hilarious people every know and then ask me why I am dress with black .I get that stupid question of going to a funeral ?even though I look pretty normal .Hello to all the goth community out there and may god bless you and guide you.Dont worry about appearance the heart is more important ,That is what gods is really looking for a clean heart purity in living and yes you can wear black!! love it beautiful strong elegant color!!

Goth Outcast said...
on Mar. 29 2014 at 1:44 pm
Oddly enough the most problems I've had with people about being goth and who I am as a person have come from other goths. Weird huh? Tis a tad cliquey of a subculture. .

on Jan. 30 2012 at 9:47 pm
cut-out-ur-eyes SILVER, Mechicsvil, Virginia
5 articles 0 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
See the animal in his cage that you built. Are you sure what side you're on? What if everything around you, Isn't quite as it seems? What if all the world you think you know, Is an elaborate dream? -Nine Inch Nails

I guess you could say I'm Gothic. No one can really seem to lable me because I'm just that out there. I haven't really been "bullied" about my looks because the kids at my school are afride to mess with me. I found this artical very well written and informational, kudos to you Star. Do tell, are you goth or do you just know a lot about goths?

Gothic Lizza said...
on Oct. 1 2011 at 11:01 pm
I'm a goth 2. everyone picks on me when i say so and assume satanist. then i tell them im wiccan and they get worse. this is especially bad since i go to catholic school. and my mom doesn't like that im goth. plz help me!

JoJo said...
on Mar. 23 2011 at 11:45 am

I found this article very interesting.  Amazing examples as well.  I myself am goth and I deal with the "omg shes crazy" looks all the time.  I dress cuz its who I am and I love it.  Doing college essays on people Discriminating Goths and this was a great way to discuss/explore goths. 

hehe and yes we do love odd piercings :P