“What is Goth? What does it mean to be Goth? Are there different types of Goths?”
These are just some of the many questions that people in the Goth subculture hear all the time. There are many issues facing the Goth culture, many from people who do not understand why we dress the way we do or why we are part of the subculture that many people view as Satanic.
But one of the biggest issues facing the Goth community comes from within the community itself. Gothic elitism and stereotyping are rather common problems. The elite Goths look down upon so called ‘Baby Bats’ and other forms of Goth, believing that many people in the Goth subculture are not ‘Goth enough.’ With so many new forms of Goth appearing in the world stereotyping has become a norm, such as the stereotype that all Pastel Goths are Tumblr users, or that all Nu Goths are just hipsters wearing black. Because of the stereotyping and negative views that some express towards factions of the community, Goth, a label under which we all fall, has become divided into separate little subgenres and if you don’t quite fit into one, you are not Goth enough. These views are destructive to our subculture and cause rifts between groups.
Goth sprung up out of the punk culture, starting Trad Goth, lovers of back-combed hair and all that awesome 80’s music, also sometimes called Batcave due to a popular Goth club at the time of the same name. Then came DeathRockers, who exhibited traits from both Goth and Punk, Romantic Goth, elegant and beautifully morbid, this is the style I generally associate myself with.
From there many newer types/factions of Goth started to pop up all over the world. As people realised that creativity is not something to shy away from, as what is Goth if not a beautiful expression of creativity and self expression. Take CyberGoths for example, this subgenre is all about neon and raving, wearing brightly coloured dreads or cyberloxs and bright corsets or leather. But why are they still considered Goth if they wear bright colours, well the answer is that many still do not think of CyberGoth as being a part of the Goth culture, however they are a large part. CyberGoth brought something new and fresh to the scene, wearing bright colours was not something that Goths did. However, Goth is all about being different and breaking the rules of fashion and style, no matter which faction of Goth you belong to. Its self expression and love of the alternative that brings us together into one collective group.
So many people in the Goth community enjoy wearing different styles of Goth clothing from day to day, one day you could Trad, next day could be Victorian. From my own personal experience I am a Romantic Goth, I wear dresses every day and have a love of dark jewellery. However on some days I wear band t-shirts and spiked jewellery, ripped up skinny jeans and heavily studded boots. Would that then make me fit more with the Metalheads than the Romantic Goths? Presumably yes, however I don’t have to fit completely with either, maybe some will say ‘you’re not Goth enough’ if I dress a certain way one day. Maybe some would call me a Baby Bat (a term which I think we need to reclaim as a term of endearment, not a put down for those just getting into Goth) The truth is we are all creative people, to be in the Goth culture you create art every day, just by the outfits you wear or the makeup you apply, in this way a person can fit into many Goth styles as Goth is all about creativity and each Goth is a piece of walking art.
The issues facing the Goth community are vast, usually due to a lack of understanding. Each faction of the Goth culture brings a new and different view of what being Goth means, the makeup, the clothes, the music, the lifestyle, these have created a wonderful subculture where everyone is free to be themselves, to express themselves in any way they want. Goth is a culture to be celebrated; each different faction plays a role in where the Goth community is today. Each faction belongs in the Goth community and no one should ever be told “You’re not Goth enough.”