Monday, September 7, 2015

To Mystify or demystify goth, that is the question.

 "Oh, sweet mystery of life, at last i've found you!" 
- Young Frankenstein, 1974



A while ago, an interesting discussion appeared on Youtuber, Nephilim Grave's Facebook page. He  posted a comment he made on another Youtube video done by Jwlhyfe de Winter. As a result, a very interesting Podcast by Cemetery Confessions was made. I felt like I had to piggyback on this and got inspired to write a blog.post.

Many people within the goth community feel like goth is losing it's sense of mystery and there are many different points of view on this subject. In hopes of not completely regurgitating the podcast, I urge you to go listen, here or click on the links above. Everyone is entitled to their opinion on this subject and not everyone may agree.

Usually, I am in the middle on these things and I bet some may either take this post out of context or not agree with me at all. That's ok.  I rarely see things in black or white and this is no exception to the rule. I can see where goth has lost its sense of mystery and where it has not lost it's sense of mystery, and I can see it being a good thing AS WELL AS a bad thing at the same time.

First of all, goth did lose it's sense of mystery thanks to the Internet.  There are many "how to guides" everywhere and I personally feel that the person's individuality is taken away because of these. I don't think anyone should be told how to be goth.  What I am trying to sum up here in this paragraph, while I am envious of all this information available at our fingertips, there are too many "how to guides". It takes away creativity and it takes away the years spent in personal discovery of growing into goth. It takes away the mystery. Thanks to these guides, everyone knows what goth "should be" about!  It is no longer personal.

I too am responsible for goth losing it's sense of mystery as some would say that my wanting to be part of, even wanting to get acceptance from the mainstream could be considered part of that. Personally, yes, I wanted approval and acceptance from "normal people.'  In a non-conformist subculture such as goth, in my opinion, the last thing I could do is care what people think but I did. Let me tell you why:  Last week, my son started kindergarten. I wrote about toning it down a little on the first couple of days because I wanted his transition to a new school to be easy. I didn't want him to potentially be bullied because of me. Funny enough, even toning it down, we still stood out compared to the other parents.  We were remembered and they remembered who my son was. I guess being the tattooed mom in skull shirts helped! I was overly friendly with the other parents too, something I normally don't do. I usually stick to myself but I wanted acceptance - for my son. When he is old enough to choose whether or not he wants to take after his folks, I will let that choice be his own, along with all the responsibilities for dressing differently but for now, I let him discover who he is on his own. If he chooses an alternative lifestyle, then it will be his choice alone. I just felt like there was enough on his plate last week with the transition from daycare to elementary school, a huge change in routine, he just didn't need the added bullshit.

 Hell, for a while, in my blog title I wrote "I am just like every one else. I just do things in a Morticia Addams sort of way". In fact, in my about this blog page, I welcomed normal people to read my blog! I wanted them to know, we don't always grow out of this phase and we can be adults too. We are not evil and all those stereotypes. Kinda like" look at me! I am a responsible citizen! I'm a parent too! It's not true what they say! I may dress funny but I am a great mom !"

I also feel, in a sense, we did keep our sense of mystery to some degree. It seems that the mainstream are still getting it all wrong. Many bloggers such as The Every Day Goth and Domestic Goth wrote very thought provoking articles as backlash to this article "Risk Of Depression And Self Harm in Teenagers In Goth Subculture: A Longitudinal Study" I simply would like to point out, just like these other two bloggers did, that most goth people are very open to sadness and do not have that "everything is wonderful mentality" that most people have. We are more open to discuss our feelings and not hide what is going on inside. I think a lot of teenagers and people suffering from mental disabilities are drawn to the subculture because we tend to be a little more open minded on the subject. In essence, again, the mainstream has no clue what goth is about and are so quick to label us all sorts of things.Despite all the "how to guides" and "what goth is and isn't about" posts, they still don't get us.I don't think they want to get us. They want someone to blame so they blame the people they don't want to understand - which happens to be us.

Another example of this was the Montreal Dawson shooting that occurred in 2006. This is more of a personal experience but I thought it would be valid nonetheless. This tragedy was no where near the scale of Columbine but the media backlash was the same: A guy in a leather trench, dressed all in black went into a college and started shooting. There was one fatality and many were injured. The killer had a Vampire Freaks online account and add to the fact he wore all black, the media labelled him a goth. I looked up his Vampire Freaks account before it was closed, the shooters musical taste had nothing in common with the goth subculture. Yes, he wore black but would he be recognized as a goth? Lots of people wear black and they don't look goth at all. For months after the incident, myself and my boyfriend (now husband) had a hard time going out in our trench coats. People changed seats whenever we took public transit and we were yelled at on the street. Even, local horror writer, author of the Goth Bible, A Compendium For The Darkly Inclined,  Nancy Kilpatrick, spoke to the media about the incident where she sited that "I don't experience Goths as being violent. It's not part of the subculture... Usually they are open to other people, kind and even funny." (source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/archive/politics/2006/09/15/gunmans-writings-presaged-rampage-span-classbankheadblog-described-fascination-with-death-laid-out-events-that-would-unfold-in-montrealspan/720cedf7-cba6-4f3e-83d8-ca1354e858f7/?resType=accessibility) When it comes to these incidents, perhaps losing our sense of mystery can be a good thing if the media and mainstream wake up? I think it is unlikely this will happen but it is an interesting point to look at.
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Again, yes, I think goth has lost it's sense of mystery to a certain degree. I don't think it always has to be a bad thing either. It is nice to be able to go out and not have someone yell "freak" or other stupid, non-creative "insults" at you. Don't get me wrong, I still have received a lot of negative comments/stares from people but I also got my share of positive ones too. In fact, the positive ones outweigh the negative ones! There were many times I was out in full goth gear (corset, boots, and all the accouterments) and many people approached me with nice compliments. At least people don't always think I am violent or a killer, which is silly. It doesn't mean someone dresses a certain way they are more likely to kill someone or harm themselves.  I think there is still a sense of mystery but it is ultimately up to us to keep it that way and make sure we are viewed in a positive light.

2 comments:

  1. There are so many parallels between the goth subculture and that of the vintage one, and the demystifying and mainstreaming of it is certainly one of them, so I read this excellent post with rapt attention and nodded the whole way through - especially when you touched on how nice it is to go out and not necessarily run into a slew of negative comments or "haters". I'm not saying that your average vintage wearer encounters this as often as goths do (I wore full on goth for a while and know firsthand that such is not the case), but in general, anytime your look deviates from the very prescribed norm, you're target for such and the fact that we're slowly seeing less of negativity towards those in some subcultures is so incredible!

    ♥ Jessica

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  2. Great thoughts and post for sure! As you said, there are a lot of different opinions on this. This discussion will never die because of that I guess :-) but that's something good, too - helps us think about ourselves a lot and makes us look at the people around us ('goth' or not as well). I still get the same reactions like 10 years ago, mainly. People seem to be less 'scared' but that might not be about goth losing its mystery but maybe because people in general are less scared ot thoughtless these days...?

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