I was a little weird and picked on in elementary and middle school, but by the time I reached high school I was getting modeling offers (so, #1 not all goths are ugly / fat / whatever). My getting picked on in elementary school was mainly due to being somewhat shy, very tall, and hitting puberty at 11.
My father raised me on his music tastes, which included The Smiths, The Ramones, Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash, and Fleetwood Mac. So, when I got to the age kids start looking for their own tastes, it wasn't much of a jump from The Smiths to The Cure, and from there to a whole world of post-punk, industrial, and death-rock / goth. (#2, most "goths" would have told you that they were drawn to the scene mainly because they were fans of the music. Well, who doesn't want to dress like their favorite rock stars?)
Add to this the fact that I had loved Tim Burton movies from the earliest age I could remember. Perhaps the movie "Beetlejuice" had too strong of an effect on my aesthetic notions.
Oh, also I had a pre-occupation with death, mainly stemming from the fact that death is an extremely taboo and uncomfortable subject in my family. I've never been to a funeral (to this day; I'm 24), because death is hidden in my family. Don't know why they're like that. As a result, I was naturally very curious. This had nothing to do with rebelling against their personal worldviews.
I don't romanticize death now, but I do worry that I'm incredibly unprepared for the loss of a loved one. (So, #3, not all goths are "obsessed with death", but those who are might have been anyway. There have always been morbid people, subculture or not. Additionally, I had been writing horror stories since I was in 2nd grade.)
I didn't start drinking until 16, and I no longer drink very often. I lost my virginity at 17, and didn't try pot until 19. I had a somewhat difficult relationship with my parents, mainly having to do with grades, which is fine now. All in all, I was a fairly average, suburban girl. (#4 Not all goths are on the droogs / complete sluts. Neither are all sorority girls.)
I don't "dress up" very much anymore, but I still wear heavy eyeliner and mainly black. I look more sophisticated now. However, I still consider myself very much a product of my time and place. I don't think I could have been a "normal" girl, because even if I'd worn the Gap clothes and became a cheerleader, I would have been faking it. I still would have LIKED all of the same movies, music, etc.
#5 "Goth" was not a religious movement. There is no denying that religious themes and imagery were a HUGE part of the scene. I can't explain all of that without getting into each and every religion which goth had some association with: i.e. Catholicism, Neo-paganism / wicca / occult, Satanism (oh yes, there were Satanists. And there were Christians. And there were Buddhists.)
However, I can say that most outsiders didn't understand that the wearing of certain religious symbols was not necessarily *belief* in what the symbols stood for. Sometimes it truly was devout religious belief. Sometimes it was biting mockery and criticism of the religion, and sometimes it was JUST F*CKING FASHION.
#6, Not all goths thought they were "individuals". I don't know where that trope came from, but most goths I knew were well aware they were part of a definable subculture with it's own rules, fashion code, "right" and "wrong" bands to listen to...actually, the scene was at times down-right fascistic.
Wearing the clothing was a SIGNAL to other goths. It meant "hi, we probably have similar tastes in music/movies/personal philosophies". Also, for those who have trouble telling goths, emos, metalheads, etc. apart, I assure you that most within each respective subculture had no problems telling each other apart...except when emo boys sometimes look like goth chicks. :(
Personally, I did not think I was an "individual" because of my clothing or subculture. I know I'm an individual because we all are. No one has ever existed exactly like you or me. (Hm, maybe I wasn't a goth after all...maybe I was a hippy!! Or a physicist!)
Monday, December 21, 2009, 9:01 PM