Just realised that in the last post alone, I have sentences that jump around every tense in the English language and an 'it' with two Is. So careless! I really need to start proofreading my posts...
Day 10 – What do you hate and love about the subculture?:
Well, normally I don't make entire posts about individual questionnaire questions, but I feel I have enough to say about this one to break that rule.
Bad thing 1: Elitism:
This probably goes without saying. We all know the types: The trigger-happy Self-Appointed Poseur Police who will take to task anyone who doesn't do things exactly the same way that they do; Playground bullies with no self-awareness who talk gleefully about how much fun it is to tear babybats to shreds, and then wonder why young people aren't joining the subculture; People who accuse emos of the same attention-seeking, faux-depressive, violent behaviour that Goths were accused of for years, and manage to not see the brain-breaking hypocrisy: People who take everything way too seriously and view liking non-Goth music and not wearing elaborate makeup every day as Treason.
You know. Idiots.
What anyone who gets hit with the 'poseur' stick has to remember is that just because the elitists see themselves as experts, it doesn't mean they actually are. In my experience, everyone has a different idea of what Goth is and isn't, and chances are the guy calling you a poseur has been accused of the same himself at some stage. You'll never please everyone, but you'll never displease everyone either.
It is worth saying that there are some things that people claim to be Goth, but aren't. The correct way to deal with this is by politely correcting them, not losing your temper as though they've just committed an act of treason.
Good thing 1: Appreciation of intelligence:
What can I say, I love being part of a subculture where intelligence is encouraged. You're encouraged to read books, to think, to be creative, to do well in tasks you set yourself. Most people believe in basic manners, which is great. Also, as someone who has a natural tendency to use old fashioned, technical, or otherwise 'low frequency' words, sayings and phrasings in her everyday vocabulary, it's nice to have a subculture where that's not really frowned upon.
... and theres not much more I can say about that, so moving on...
Bad thing 2: Beauty standards (Or something to that effect, anyway...):
This is the big one, but despite this I'm having trouble putting it into words. I'm afriad this is one of those cases where I know what I mean... but can't quite nail down a decent explanation. It's all I'll be able to do to make this make sense, to be honest. If you're reading... good luck, because you'll need it.
Here's the long and short of it: I'm one of those social justice types who has a very left wing, very sociology-based, and very feminist view of society. Most Goths, as in most sections of society... don't, and occasionally I come across things that everyone else seems to be fine with, but which I see as problematic or can't relate to, and feel... I don't know, maybe a little cut off, or like a killjoy. Take Monster High Dolls. I first came across them on another forum, and the OP was complaining about them, for the same reasons people complain about Bratz dolls. Toys that teach little girls that looking sexy and getting guys are the most important things in the world, you know the drill. Anyway, I basically agreed with him/her- it's hard to not raise an eyebrow at a werewolf doll who's backstory includes her giggling about how she spends all day removing body hair, when the product is going to be sold to girls who aren't even in a position to shave yet. I wondered what the hell were the company had been thinking, and decided that these dolls weren't something I'd ever give a child.
Later on, I began to notice that a few other Goths were mentioning Monster High Dolls on their blogs, and they all thought they were the coolest things ever and wanted to buy one. I don't have any problems at all with the last bit- you can't object to an adult buying something to stick on the windowsill, but the former... I don't get it. Does nobody else see that there's something a little bit screwed up in society if dolls who exist solely to look sexy are being sold to six year olds?
Another example. The overuse of models. I surely can't be the only person who thinks professionally developed images featuring equally professional models are used to represent Goth too much, and is slightly worried that this is setting up a beauty standard? I mean, I don't object to people using models where it's appropriate, but a lot of the time they use them where they could just as easily have used... anyone. An elaborately dressed and perfectly airbrushed model. A plain Casual goth in jeans and a T-shirt. A bearded forty year old man. A fourteen year old girl who hasn't quite got the makeup down yet. All these people. A big group of people of various shapes and sizes, some elaborately dressed, some not. Some with perfect hair and makeup, some with no makeup or untidy hair. Some fat, some thin, some short, some tall... I suppose what I'm basically saying here is that I wish a much wider cross-section of the subculture was used on blogs and in videos. By using just the 'perfect people' in everything, whether it's necessary or not, you risk setting up a beauty standard that is difficult or impossible for many people to attain, and if that happens there's likely to be people, particularly younger people, being made to feel as though the way they look isn't good enough, or that they're letting the side down or failing miserably because they can't get their lipstick to go right. And that's a trap I'd quite like the Goth subculture to not fall into.
Good thing 2: The fun of it.
There's a reason I eventually caved in and self-identified as Goth. I love the music, for a start. I love Bauhaus. I love the Cure. I love the Cruxshadows more and more every day. I have what it takes to love Sopor Aeturnus and her lyrical weirdness, to the stage where I have, in the past, got Feralia Genitalia stuck in my head and worried I'd end up wandering around college singing under my breath about my genitals falling off.
I love doing DIY jobs on my clothes. Slashing an old T-shirt to bits, changing buttons, adding chains, making kitschy jewellery out of craft shop compartments or bits of stationery. I'm a womble these days. I pick things up in shops of all sorts, markets, the kitchen drawer, and wonder what I can do with them. I even caught myself looking at a bit of synthetic hair that had fallen out of my friend's Lady Gaga wig and wondering if I could make use of it (I couldn't, surprisingly enough :p).
I love the clothes.
I love things that tend to get written off as scary or strange. I love weird things mainly because they're weird. Hell, I found myself looking at Malice Mizer with flying saucer eyes the first time I came across them age fourteen, because I hadn't seen anything like them before, and I loved that.
Some people say Goth is a mindset, others don't, I'm personally on the fence. However, when I hear people define 'the Goth mindset', I can often relate to it very well. Seeing good things where others don't. Being introspective and interested in psychological matters. Being creative. Having at least a slight pretentious streak (although I do try to keep her quiet and out of bother).
There's a subculture where I can be a tea addict and like anachronisms, and that's OK. I can also use words like 'anachronism' without worrying everyone will think I'm some horrible snob.
I daresay a lot of people would have me down as a poser. I could never really get into the Sisters, I'm yet to go to a Goth club, and I've never read Poe outside an English lesson (not because I dislike his works, it's mainly because I prefer long books with complex plots to short stories. There's a lot to admire about Poe, but in a contest between him and the latest Discworld/China Mieville doorstopper/bit of Neil Gaiman bizarroness, or a book with more social commentary than the entire 1960's packed between it's pages, he comes off worse). I don't worry about that too much any more though, partly for the resons I detailed in my first point, partly because I know that Goth is just me. And I love it.
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As I've taken so bloody long to update yet again (it's hard to ignore the fact that my EPQ exists), I've decided to throw Question 11 in here as well.
Day 11- Is Goth a lifestyle for you?:
I'll say yes to this one, simply because there's never a day when I'm "Not a Goth". For that to happen, my entire set of likes and dislikes would have to radically change for a day. The way I see it, even when I'm sat in my pyjamas listening to/watching/reading something very un-gothy, I'm a Goth.