While I have a real bee in my bonnet about “what is normal” and personally don’t think that there is any such thing when it comes to people, it is certainly fair to say that in most people’s houses, goth style, interests and lifestyles are considered to be rather exotic or unusual.
Sure enough, just as with any other slightly out-of-the-ordinary lifestyle choice, there are a hell of a lot of misconceptions about goths and the goth scene, and plenty of misinformation about all things goth liberally shovelled onto the top of this particular shitpile too.
With this in mind, I thought it would be interesting to canvass the opinions of some of my goth buds, and come up with a short list of some of the most common misconceptions and assumptions that other people often make about us. Doing this was both hilarious and at times, depressing- but mainly hilarious. How many of these do you recognise?
1. Goths are perpetually miserable
Yeah dude, like I killed myself twice last night, and then I came back to life just because I missed being miserable all of the time.
It is certainly true to say that goths are, on the whole, sensitive souls, or are at least tuned into the hidden currents of the darker side of life, but this certainly doesn’t mean that being goth is a miserable experience. There is a distinct beauty in darkness, and a kind of purity in pain and suffering that the goth subculture and particularly, goth music really taps into. However, appreciating and being tuned into the darker elements of life does not mean that we all have a strong wish to leave it; it can, in and of itself, be very life affirming too.
And yes obviously, goths are not immune to depression, harmful behaviour and even potentially suicide; but neither is any other group either. And don’t even get me started on how tattooing, piercing and scarification are not indications of suicidal ideology or cries for help…
2. Goths only come out after dark
Yeah but no but, you’re totally confusing us with vampires here, dudes.
While a lot of us very much enjoy vampire imagery, fashion and literature (apart from Twilight, obviously – nobody digs that shit), we do also generally have jobs, families, lives, and both a desire and a motivation to leave the house before sundown now and then. Yes, some goths are nocturnal; but some goths teach primary school or do post rounds, and don’t vanish into a cloud of smoke if the sun hits them. No, seriously.
3. Goths worship the devil
Yawn… Yes, apparently this is still a common misconception, particularly around the older generations (or “grown ups” as I like to call them). So yes for sure there are certainly goth Satanists (again, not necessarily devil worship…) and actual devil worshipers, and goths that love babies but couldn’t eat a whole one.
But there are also plenty of goth Christians, Wiccans and Pagans (although I am aware that in some people’s eyes, these last two are tantamount to devil worship too) as well as goths reppin’ it for pretty much every other religion on earth you could care to name.
4. Goths always wear black clothes and white makeup
Yes, you get your goth card revoked if you break this rule. Only like, not. Black does factor into the wardrobe palette of a great many of us, but honestly, who doesn’t have a lot of black clothes, apart from maybe Rainbow Brite and the My Little Pony Massive?
I’m pretty sure little Edward here didn’t make it into the main catalogue.
Goths also like a whole range of other colours, including neons, pastels and all sorts of other shit too. And while lots of us go heavy on the pan stick on a regular basis or for special occasions, most of us are perfectly happy to go to work, pop the shop, or answer the door slap-free. And of course, some of us flatly don’t wear any makeup at all, ever.
5. Goths “grow out of it” when they leave their teens
Crap, really? I’m 36, and evidently didn’t get that particular memo. While not all budding goths make it through the experimental teen stage, it became abundantly clear to many of us that this goth thing was really going to stick and continue to be an important part of our adult lives, even before we were old enough to buy our own cider. And at that point, there are few things more frustrating than people belittling you or overlooking your personal choices with sweeping statements such as “she’ll grow out of it” or “Oh bless, teenagers are so dramatic and Emo.”
There is no good way to deal with that kind of attitude, really; particularly if it is being flung at you in shitballs by your nearest and dearest, and the people that you rely upon to support your personal choices.
You’ll just have to grit your teeth, and know that sooner or later, something is going to give… And it’s probably not going to be you.