Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Babybats and the future of the goth scene

I am member of many goth communities on Facebook and in one particular community, a new friend of mine shared a vlog clip about elitists. This particular clip sparked much discussion and it was all very interesting and fun to participate in. Below is the clip that was shared.

      

Naturally, the discussion as a whole inspired me to blog about it! The point of this post is to highlight some of the interesting comments and discussion that took place. I think the whole thread reached close to 300 comments so I am not going to quote anyone or anything.

I guess you can say that the conversation became interesting when someone commented that they got branded as an elitist because he/she personally doesn't like helping babybats and has little to no tolerance towards them, in fact that person said that he/she was downright rude to them. I found that sad because so many people in the community looked after me with great care and patience when I was a kid. A lot of my friends were older than I was and cared for me like I was their baby sister, it made us a family. After much questioning and sharing my personal experiences of when I was younger, I learned that a lot of us didn't have the same positive experiences when dealing with babybats. According to this person, it appears that a lot of babybats don't want to learn about the subculture at all and about it's roots. They only care about the aesthetics behind the scene.

Although I disagreed with the fact that someone can be rude to another person because of their age, I did start to somewhat agree with what some of the other people were saying: at least know some of the trad goth bands and listen to some of them! Learn the roots of the subculture! I know some people might not agree with this mindset but I do.

 I also think it is healthy for the subculture to change and grow too as long as we have a general idea from where the goth scene started. You may not like all the bands and songs that came out back then but at least know who Peter Murphy and Siouxsie Sioux are!  Listen to some of the music!  Know who The Sisters Of Mercy are!

Some of the more elder goths who were around since the beginning of the subculture chimed in the discussion.They regaled us of tales on how every one accepted everyone else no matter what style they fell in; be it a metal head, goth or punk, they were all united under the whole misfit banner. It didn't matter what music preference they liked or how they dressed, they all stuck together and had fun because they all had something in common: they were social outcasts. Some of them gave me the impression they didn't seem to mind whether or not these kids bothered to learn about the founding music, as long as the goth culture was kept alive and moving forward. Some of them even like to see how the culture has evolved over the years.
 
This is a perfect substitute since I didn't have any other cool pics to post! It is a baby bat, after all!


On the other hand, some can argue about the whole evolution of the goth scene. Just look at the latest "trends"  (ie. nugoth, pastel goth) they may not necessarily have any substance aside from aesthetics. I guess this all depends on the view point. Personally, I really don't care about these subgenres, after all, I am from the generation of Mallgoths and even I was a Marilyn Manson Spooky Kid at one point!  I think a few pastels are just par for the course. Who knows, maybe they will get their own identity at one point? Look at how well the steampunk culture seems to be thriving. They seem to have their own identity and music. I am not going to speak for the nugoths, pastels, etc because I personally don't know much about them. I even tried doing an Internet search to learn more. I wanted to know what how it all began and I didn't get anywhere. I think it is more of an aesthetic fashion trend that kids are adopting.If anyone can correct me on all of this, please do so!

As for elitists, some of them are often falsely accused of having this title because they have the same mindset I do: know the roots. A subculture is based off of music. Know how it came to be. My advice to my peers: don't be a douche. Please have patience with the younger crowd, we were ALL there at one point! I like to think we are not completely doomed as a society and there are a few good, smart kids out there.Let them listen to metal bands and parade around, some of these kids eventually "grow out of it" and I like to think that the ones that do stick around, care enough about this subculture to learn about its roots.  I was one of them that wanted to know about its roots from very early on. I do not think anything productive can come out of being rude to these kids. I also don't think we should go parading around in clubs trying to "educate" the younger crowd or anyone else either. We don't hand out "goth membership cards" and there are no kings or queesn of goths - despite what anyone believes. There are no elder goths sitting in the dark corners of the club while drinking bloody mary's and deciding whether or not you are permitted to join in the exclusive club of Gothdom.. Hell, I work full time as a receptionist and collect Hello Kitty merchandise. I tone down a lot for the job and I can still write a goth blog without getting flamed for it!

I am not saying that anything goes. You slap on some black lipstick and voila, "Insta Goth!" I think a subculture is just that - a subculture. There are certain guidelines that help differentiate from the mundane everyday society. I am not trying to set rules, that is not my - or anyone else's place to do so. I am not trying to imply that you need to jump through hoops to be part of the subculture or it is an exclusive club but I like to think that a subculture goes deeper than just merely aesthetics. It is a culture with a great history. It is not my place to be rude to people who don't agree with me, we are all entitled to our opinions.

I want to thank the members of that community for taking time out to express their opinions and making me, a new member, feel welcome. In the end, let's all take this example and come together. If you see a fellow goth walking down the street, let's bring that "knowing nod" back.  Let's stop trying to figure out who is a poseur and who isn't and just enjoy what the subculture has to offer. Let's stop worrying if we are "goth enough" and who isn't. Let's stop worrying about whether or not we fit in with the other Goths! After all, isn't being goth about non-conformity anyways? Let's embrace change because without it, I think the subculture wouldn't last as long as it did. I can understand being goth is something we can all identify with, it is part of who we are, therefore, there are some strong emotional attachments to it but coming towards it with a lack of respect does just as much as damage as a mallgoth or any dark clothed shooter who is labelled as one of us by the media. It only takes one person to ruin the public's view of us and a good dozen of us to fix it. Even at that, it may not work. Being an ass isn't going to do anything positive for the subculture.

19 comments:

  1. This has got me thinking about the Gothic subculture as a whole. I've seen a lot of posts like this one on various Goth blogs, the majority happen to be written by Trad Goths. I feel like people really try to enforce the idea that Traditional Goth is like the one true Goth, but what can we say of the people that pre-dated that movement but embodied aspects of what it is to be "Goth"? The ones who were Goth before Goth even existed? Because, if they don't fit into that movement, are they not Goth? Are they something else entirely? Like to me, I feel that Maila Nurmi was totally Goth, Theda Bara was Goth, but these women came before the "Goth" movement. Nurmi was fascinated by the Occult and dressed freaking awesome. Now, she probably didn't listen to "Goth" music, because nothing like it existed back then, but to me she was still Goth.

    I think the definition of Goth needs to be expanded to encompass more than just Traditional Goth, because clearly there were people who had those interests long before Robert Smith or Siouxsie came along. It's not to say that the Goth movement has no relevancy it just makes me question whether or not it should be relevant to *everyone* interested in entering into this subculture. I personally have read scholarly texts about the Gothic subculture, I've listened to the bands, I know it's not my scene. I guess I would fit more into the "Nurmi" Goth than anything else. I like dark things, I like the clothes and being different. To me, what more can matter?

    Not everyone is going to like the same music, so using that as the main origins of the Gothic subculture is incredibly limiting and frankly kind of silly, I mean, fifty odd years from now no one is going to give much of a crap about the original Goth bands lol. When we get down to the bare bones of it, a subculture is defined as a group of individuals with a particular set of values or behavioral patterns, but nowhere does it say that it has to be about music or fashion. I think as a community, all Goths need to work toward developing more tolerant and sensible "values" or ideas of what it is to be Goth, otherwise it's just going to alienate people (and the subculture will probably fall apart). People are going to be Goth if they want to be Goth, I just think it's better that the Gothic community be accessible and inclusive.

    I honestly wonder how many Goths are going around saying that they listen to the Bauhaus, even though they don't actually they just want to appease the elder goths. It's a funny thing to think about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment! That is a very interesting viewpoint.

      Delete
    2. In the 60's people probably thought Bob Dylan was a flash in the pan protest yodeller who'd have been forgotten come 1975. Yet here we are 50 years on and he's still going strong. Johnny Cash, Elvis - music creates roots and identifiers for people to bond over. There are many other aspects, agreed, but not all are purely aesthetic. I feel that way about goth (hence I attend a goth themed music festival on a regular basis that promotes a mix of new and old acts.). The Damned formed in 1976 and still have a huge following when live here in the UK. They're as old as me!! The success of European goth music festivals grows year on year (Whitby, WGT etc) - Whitby sells out twice a year and as a regular visitor it is clear that people of all ages and musical tastes are welcomed and positively embraced. There is a common thread through music that people can relate to, and to dismiss it would be a shame.

      I found my way to goth via the music - for other people it may be a different route. Personally, looking the part without playing the music, reading the literature etc would be like eating a starbucks skinny muffin - visually pleasing but taste wise singularly unfulfilling. I don't always look the part (cardigans, cardigans, everywhere...) and I don't just play the one genre of music - there are after all so many more facets to a single human being than that - but it can be a strong and unifying force for a group of like minded individuals to bind over.

      Delete
    3. shame about the typo in the last sentence! Bond, not bind :)

      Delete
  2. I like this post! I became a babybat in my early 40s, and I had NO ONE to go to for info, so it was all up to me. Fortunately, I was able to find some sites and articles on the Internet about the history of the subculture, and eventually I found some great books as well, which I have on my shelves now. I also trolled YouTube for music, which really was a godsend for me. Only after all this did I actually find fellow goths to talk to, so I would NEVER brush off a babybat (or anyone else) coming to me for advice or information. That said, I agree that if they don't want to bother at least listening to some of the old music and knowing the names of the bands, they shouldn't bother with the rest. Black clothes and lipstick only do NOT a "real" goth make! (And I have the laminated Goth Card to prove it.) :-P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL It is good to know where we came from...afterall we sacked Rome :)

      Delete
    2. Yes, and always remember... pillage first, THEN burn!!! ;-P

      Delete
  3. I always feel sad when people hate baby bats, we all start out not knowing much, especially when Goth rock is banned in the house. Most baby Goths who are seriously interested learn more about the music and history in time, get more money for better clothes or learn to sew them. I am lucky that when i came back to Goth and joined the local scene in my 20s, everyone was super nice. Of course I never had an attitude towards older Goths either. As Jillian Venters says we should be next to our next generation of baby bats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes and another thing I was thinking of. My parents allowed me to hang with my older friends because whenever they called the house, they spoke with my parents and assured them I would be safe. If we are rude to these kids, what kind of impression we could be potentially giving to their (perhaps) more normal parents? We were ALL there at one point, we should show some patience at least

      Delete
  4. hmmm i remember the closer people who 'adopted' me as a baby bat back then were really awesome kind people (putting me in all of their clothes to see what i was comfortable in *lol* and they did with every person that they felt sympathy for in the beginning, they LOVED to teach me and other baby bats and it felt like a family) and indeed, i dont remember a lot of downlooking people or bullies from those days - that sadly can be found these days A LOT. - on the other hand maybe it was just that i have been saved by my new friends from elitists back then? guess like with every 'hah, look who i am and what i know' person elitists do have a problem with themselves or not been thinking about that subject before... i mean of course it is ok to have your background, point of view, opinion and yes, when you know a lot about the subculture and its background it is awesome and sure, maybe someone looks funny to you but hey, youre missing a shitload of nice people/friends whenever you downlook on someone... maybe that person in MM-shirt (or put in any other band that might be not 100% 'goth') with uneven cheap white foundation and panda-eye makeup would be the best friend and gosh maybe still trying to find their spot OR feeling comfortable this way? and yes, i've been there too with cyber goth simply because it can easily look strange when people 'start their wardrobe' but well, yes. this one day might keep 'us' alive and i do have a few cyber-friends now, too ^^
    oh how i would love to really join a discussion on that topic ^_^ <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it was an interesting discussion indeed. For a subculture that can be considered non-conformist, sometimes it sure sounds like the opposite.

      Delete
  5. I'm feeling kind of lucky that my gothic-coming-of-age was late 80s' and in a fairly laid back town with a gathering place for all the alt subcultures (known as Hippy Square), where moshers, punks, goths, hippys and general misfits used to congregate on a sunny weekend afternoon with their ghetto blasters and swap tunes (pre internet - oh I really am so 80s!!!). I sometimes felt overawed by some of the elder goths (particularly those channelling Patricia Morrison from the Sisters of Mercy) but I didn't feel looked down upon as I muddled my way through layers of velvet and lace - yes listening to Bauhaus, The Cure etc - and failed entirely to get the hang of liquid eyeliner whilst drinking cider and black through a straw. Even now the alt nights in Newcastle tend to be a hybrid of classic and recent music, crossing several genres. This suits me just fine, though there have been occasions at one of these where I have felt uncomfortable (more as a 'who let you in my school disco vibe than anything else). I've been hanging out with the moshers for 30 years and hope to do so a lot longer!

    Today Hippy Square still has its moochers, and the local council have been quite happy to encourage it as the folks there are generally polite if boisterous, and respectful of other people. Moreover, they are in a well lit and safe public space causing very little trouble. These are the emos, the baby bats, the nu-metallers (huh?!) - a riot of torn fishnet, tattoos and large boots. It's great to see and I hope it continues for many, many years to come.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds awesome. I love it when they play all sorts of music at events. I love it all.

      Delete
  6. I think a lot of these young kids look pretty great and I couldn't care less if they don't listen to the official canon of 5 goth bands. As the one rivethead at the goth club, I always hated those 5 bands anyway. No one "looked after" me when I was a kid, and these kids don't need any of us to look after them. It's patronizing, and we're slitting our own throats when we start telling the next gen what's right and what's wrong by forcing conformity into this supposed nonconformist scene.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a valid point too yet I think the frustration lies in the kids not wanting to learn where the scene came from. I am sort of on the fence about it. In the end, I do agree with you: we shouldnt be forcing conformity into a supposed nonconformist scene.

      Delete
  7. To sum up quickly, Elitism can be good for the scene because it keeps goth meaningful, it keeps us from straying into "everything is goth" which would then mean, nothing is goth. That said, no one should even be demeaning of, hurtful towards, or derisive of others. For a more exhaustive discussion though I would suggest anyone interested watch my video https://youtu.be/e-Y99Sr2unc

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! It's the Cemetery Confession dude! Thanks for the comment. I am listening to your video (yes, I actually meant to type that) very interesting

      Delete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...