Monday, September 17, 2012

Are you a Goth?

Yes and no. First off, let me tell you right away that I've only recently become an active member of the Goth subculture. And when I say recent, I mean it. It's been about 6 months now. But before you point your finger and scream "POSEUR!", hear me out.

For a long time, I've been interested in Goth and dark subculture. I've loved the fashion since the moment I first saw it. And I've been listening to some of the music identified with the early Goth movement. For the last couple years, I have loved Joy Division with a fiery passion. I've loved to read ever since I learned how and especially love many of "the classics", from Shakespeare and Milton to Charles Dickens and Edgar Allen Poe. I like horror movies (not too fond of slashers, I'll admit) and read contemporary horror as well as classics. I'm a very creative person: a writer, a musician, even a touch of a visual artist. And ever since I've come to the subculture, I've learned all I can about the history of the subculture, the music, the fashion, etc. Does this make me a poseur or just a late-blooming babybat?

Let me indulge you in some personal history. I was always the weird kid in school. I practically regrew up with Star Trek as my main source of TV and I inherited a lot of geekry. This coupled with the fact that I moved around a lot during elementary school equaled me having a difficult gaining and keeping friends. I also really love patterns and elaborate things. I always seemed to be attracted to things, whether it was TV shows, music, or fashion, that others termed as strange. But for a long time (until only recently) I was afraid to be truly, one hundred percent open about my weirdness. I came slowly out of my shy shell starting in late middle school, but I always kept parts of myself hidden. Even from my family and people I considered friends. It was terrible, because it felt like I was still hiding behind a mask.

Then, last year I went to college. You know how every adult tells you right when you're about to go to college how it'll be "the time of your life" and how you'll "find yourself"? Well, it was true for me. Not only did I meet wonderful friends whom I love dearly and introduced me to great new things, but I was also finally able to look at myself and say "Screw it! I'm going to be who I am and not be afraid!". That's when I started on my journey to becoming a creepy spookster in black ;)

Joking aside, there's another reason why I say that I'm both a Goth and not. For many of you in the subculture, you are well aware of the plethora of debates. What's more important: Goth fashion or Goth music? Can someone who dresses Goth but doesn't listen to the music still be a Goth? What about the other way around? What is Goth music? What isn't? What about those people who like horror movies and cemeteries and Victorian literature? Are they Goth?

Just thinking about it makes my head spin and ache. And while one person says one thing, another recounts it and another has an entirely different view. Who is right? Well, I won't answer that, but I will say that I do use the term "Goth" more loosely than some others. I know it's a bad habit and I am working on it. That is why I'm fond of saying that I am a part of dark subculture or Schwarze Szene (the German term. If you're interested about this term, read this great article by Amy Asphodel over at Stripy Tights and Dark Delights. It does a great job of explaining it). But if someone comes up to me and asks, "Hey, are you a Goth?" I won't laugh in their face and say haughtily "No." I'll smile and say, "Yes" because if I start babbling about some dark culture stuff, they'll get quite confused and uncomfortable.

So, the TL;DR summary is: I am a member of dark culture, which includes Goth, even though I am a very new addition. I hope that my n00b status doesn't make too many people cringe. I don't consider myself a poseur or a mallgoth, but I'll admit that I do not know all there is to know, even though I have researched a lot. And I'm always willing to learn more.

Comments? Questions? Jokes?

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