So there was an article titled the same as this is. I am fully admitting to plagarising the title. Why? I want to throw google searches into chaos.
Some men just want to watch the whole internet burn
I will steal one more line just before I go any further. This is the only line in the article I actually agree with, though I have a feeling the writer of that article and myself feel the results would be different.
"Research the history of Goth. Check out websites, blogs, tutorials, and books. You can never learn too much."
Okay, now we have all that out the way, its time for my article. I could do something like a point for point rebuttal but that reeks of internet forum behaviour and is a tad boring. So I'm doing something different.
I am writing my own article about getting into goth. Including tips and information to help you.
I can already hear the cries of "What the fuck Aytakk?!? You're creating an online insta-goth kit? You fucking sell out!!!" But hear me out. This ain't no insta-goth kit. More a "So you want to enjoy the goth subculture as a newbie? Here are 6 tips to enhance your pleasure."
Whipped for your pleasure. You expected a black condom joke?
1 - Shut up
So you've found this new thing you really love and you are gushing to everyone about how great it is, how great you are to be a part of it and how you will be a part of it forever.
Stop. You have become the annoying kid.
(Aytakk circa 1998)
I know its tempting (I pretty much did the same thing myself early on) but its highly annoying. By all means talk about goth stuff with like minded people but try not to call yourself goth.
Why? You paint a target on yourself. And I'm not talking from normies outside the subculture. I'm pretty sure your terrible makeup and overuse of spikes and chains is doing that enough.
In the goth subculture its generally a case of "I'm cool until you're not cool". In other words people won't put their judgemental hats on until you give them a reason to do so. People in the goth subculture are open and accepting to differences but if you haphazardly apply the goth label to yourself then you will be scrutinized for it.
Wouldn't you rather be scrutinized once you know what you are doing better? You will save yourself a lot of grief. And you can grow and blossom into that black dahlia at your own pace.
I'd stick it on a black background but then you couldn't see it
Also if you advertise by adopting a wanky name (EG - Sir Darkraven Neversmile) or an online username filled with cliched goth buzz words you aren't doing yourself any favours. 99% of people with the word "goth" in their username are trying that little too hard. It comes across as desperate when you are new. Is it others you are trying to convince or yourself?
2 - Participate
This one is pretty simple. Get out there and do stuff! Don't just lurk on internet forums and Facebook. Engage people. Go to events if you can. Listen to goth music. Explore the subculture.
You won't build credibility for being goth by twiddling your thumbs watching Netflix. You have to know your stuff. Online articles, makeup tutorials and insta-goth guides can only go so far. Subcultures are about interacting with other people. You only get better by doing it more.
And don't give me that "But I'm an introvert!" crap. At least 50% of people active in the goth subculture are introverts. That's why we have alcohol.
Greasing the social wheels since forever
You will also see that not everyone who participates in the goth subculture is a goth. You don't have to be a goth to enjoy the subculture and there is nothing wrong with that.
3 - Learn
I'm going to be blunt. If you don't like learning then maybe goth isn't the subculture for you. People expect you to know your stuff to some degree. In fact there is so much history as well as new stuff coming up in the goth subculture the learning never stops.
There are a lot of academics and egg heads. Some of their academia may cross over into goth, some won't. But the desire to learn and explore the world intellectually is very common. Ignorance (especially willful ignorance in the internet age) tends to be frowned upon.
Vincent Price Approved
Goth subculture's history, music, current events, how things have changed, what things are important, aesthetics, what is and isn't goth and so on.
Then make up your own mind instead of blindly following a single opinion. If you can back your convictions up with proper debate and not resort to closing people off or using insults then you are doing it right.
4 - Respect
Lets start off with respecting the roots of the goth subculture which lie in the music. This goes hand in hand with learning about the history of the subculture. You don't have to like every prominent artist but its good to know the major ones' place and influence on things.
The fashion and aesthetic aspect is quite varied but a respect of people doing their thing their way is fair. Though there are limits. Outside influence is one thing but evolution happens from within. Plus fads come and go. You choose what you want to wear or adorn your house with.
Being disrespectful to people you see as "elistists" isn't cool. That shits on everything they have done to keep the goth subculture going. If they weren't around there would be no goth subculture for you to participate in. If they act like a dick to you then by all means react. Personally I'd rather kill people with kindness.
No! Naughty axe lady! Now sit in the corner and think about what you've done!
A note though - correcting you on something you have gotten wrong is not being a dick, its helping you learn. None of us got it right all the time. Though if they are a dick about it that's not good either, as so many people forget they were once new too.
Also respect anyone new to the subculture. New blood is thin nowadays and a bad encounter or two may be enough to drive new kids away. Have some patience if they are in annoying kid mode. Over time they will either settle down, stick it out or they won't. Let time be the judge.
I'm still here. Are you?
Respect anyone who is not goth but supporting the subculture. Its the fringe players who often keep events alive and may even become goths themselves. Though it doesn't matter if they are goths or not. If they are enjoying themselves and respecting you then you should respect them.
Hell just respect everyone including yourself. Which leads to the next point...
5 - Be yourself
Dress for you. Like what you like. If its goth then great. If its not that's okay too. Its just a label. But don't claim you are goth if none of the things you like are goth. That demeans us all. Plus it attracts negative attention.
The goth label is weird anyway. People can consider you goth when you don't consider yourself goth, you may consider yourself goth when no one considers you goth. How people see you is up to you. But how you see yourself may not be how others see you. Its worth keeping that in mind. A little self awareness goes a long way.
You can be goth and like non-goth stuff too. But remember that non-goth stuff is not suddenly goth by default just because some goths happen to like it.
I'm looking at you Hello Kitty *glare*
6 - Why so serious?
Subcultures are all about people who enjoy socializing and sharing a common interest. It's supposed to be fun! Yes, drama happens. But goth doesn't hold a patent on drama and conflict. That's a people thing. Though goths do have a flair for the overly dramatic and can be quite catty. It comes with the territory.
On with the show!
If you aren't having fun maybe you need to ask yourself why. Perhaps goth isn't what you expected it to be? Maybe you would have more fun somewhere else? There is nothing wrong with experimenting to find who you are and where you feel at home. All of us go through that.
Above all don't take yourself too seriously. If you don't know every single bit of info on where Peter Murphy took a piss break on tour in 1982, don't own every Sisters of Mercy record on wax cylinder, or you do own every pair of pants made by Tripp it doesn't matter.
We all know where David Bowie took his piss breaks. Thanks internet.
So there you have it. Not an insta-goth kit, but more guidelines to get into something you love with as little pain as possible. No one becomes goth overnight. Plus gradual changes mean the people around you will accept it more. Everybody wins!
-Aytakk has been active in the goth scene since the mid 90s both online and in real life. He firmly believes in the old line "if you don't get the joke, you are the joke". As well as this he produces music for a couple of music projects: Corpulence On The Catwalk (goth/darkwave/coldwave) and Hypnophile (aggrotech/power noise). He is also a club DJ and nemesis of DJ Jelly.