Thursday, 13 October 2011

Question 10 is a juggernaut (Question 11 comes free).

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. 


  1. Hi Louise, t'is moi.

    Suprisingly, I am not on here just to say happy birthday, but I will 'happy birthday'

    I've always wondered about your goth-ness, being part of any subculture has worried me, they have rules, dress codes bla bla bla, I mean, in some ways, I know I am a part of many different sub cultures, but to belong to one, it just doesn't appeal to me. I think I've always seen people as following a subculture, any, not just goths, but let's use that as an example here haha:

    People that weren't goths in year 9, suddenly become them in year 10, they change to fit in with the sub culture. I think maybe you're one of the first people I've come across where that ISN'T the case, and it's confused me as a bit, because my brain is like, well, Louise knows herself very well, BUT, she doesn't seem like she would want to belong to a subculture, because that's all I know of them, people doing it deliberately, then getting bullied, and then stopping. A million people, I feel I have seen go from being a bisexual emo to a straight chav, or the other way around. I don't quite know what I'm getting at, I'm not trying to offend you, you shouldn't doubt yourself as part of the goth community, especially with your answer to part 11, just as I am female, I am still female when reading membase wearing mens clothes, right? The same for you and how you identify. I mean, don't doubt, because it's a part of you, and you fit in just by default, rather than through forcing yourself.

    It's still a concept I have to take to, I often wonder if you dislike me, because I am not in the same subculture as you, I don't see the things that you see, especially in terms of DIY fashion, I hope that doesn't make me seem any lesser of a friend, is all. I mean, I'm a real range of things, I settle a little bit, but get bored of one subculture too quick, and just want to be me. I guess you've found a subculture which allows you to be you in a way you couldn't be before, so it's great, I just thought I'd have a thought splurge here haha.

    I just hope you don't see my thinking style, my music tastes, as anything bad, as a threat, as weaker, but I'm sure you don't, of course, you're entitled to enjoy being who you are, I'm not stopping you lol, just literally exploding my thoughts at you :)

    Love Ray xx <3

  2. Ray XD

    Of course I don't see your music tastes etc etc as weaker, and I definitely don't see it as a threat... why would I? And as for me disliking you or seeing you as lesser... Ray, just no. XD

    A lot of people dabbled in various alternative subcultures for a year or so in my school, too. There was a massive group of them, but the vast majority stopped around the end of year ten. I'm one of only about three or four who went on to become part of a subculture proper. A lot of people dabble in their mid teens, and then decide it's not for them. Which is OK.

    Those of us who carry on are the ones who do fit in naturally. If I had to change myself, and didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't do it. There are a couple of things that I might not have tried were it not for Goth, such as big DIY clothing jobs, but those are things I'm glad I tried.

    There are some things a lot of other Goths do that I don't, either because they're not me (wearing corsets), or because I disagree with them (elitism). If I really don't want to do something, I won't.

    I used to think subcultures had rules too- I kept away from the 'Goth' label for ages because of it. But... it's really not true. There are a lot of people who think you have to do X, Y or Z to be a real Goth... but no two of those people can agree on what X, Y and Z are. As long as you ignore the snobs, there's a hell of a lot of leeway in goth. In fact, the idea of Goth having a dress code is a bit O_o. The only thing there is is black= good, and even that's just a guideline.

    I don't know whether I do 'belong'- I haven't had enough RL interaction with other Goths to be able to tell, but I do know that Goth fits me.

    You still worried or confused about anything?

  3. No, I'm not worried, It just interests me, to find a goth that is an actual real one and not just faking it or forcing it, I mean, I admire you, and I don't think you need much RL experience, if you know what fits you, and it does, it suits you, fits you, you wouldn't be you without it, I just couldn't deal with it myself, any subculture, as of yet. I find it all very interesting XD