I recently read with some interest this post on one of my favourite blogs, Juliet's Lace. To a certain extent I can agree with the points that blog mistress Amy makes, but isn't it a possibility that the 'mindset' of Goth is exactly what brings people to 'enjoy the genre, fashion, and consider [them]selves a part of the subculture'? (All right, perhaps 'mindset' is not the best word - outlook? worldview? simple 'tastes in common'?)
Anyway, this is probably one of those topics on which everyone will have a different opinion, and all I can do is state my own - I feel that the 'Gothic mindset' (that's an awful phrase, actually, but I honestly can't think of a better one) is what causes certain people to be attracted to Goth music and fashion (and possibly art, culture, literature, etc.) when a large proportion of society find it disturbing, distasteful or even deviant, and why these people choose to experiment with fashion and appearance when others want nothing more than to fit in.
If there was no mindset associated with Goth, would an appreciation for dark, spooky and occasionally morbid things be seen by mainstream society as strange and unsettling, or would it be something held true for everyone? Is this particular outlook the thing that divides Goth from mainstream culture - how many Goths were 'the weird kid' in school, before even beginning to dress in Gothic fashion, due to an appreciation of darker things, creativity or simply bookworm tendencies?
For some people, this mindset/outlook is a large and defining part of what it means to them to be Goth (as I believe I have referred to in a previous post - ah yes, here it is); certainly there are others who feel the same way as Amy.
I am in total agreement with Amy when she points out that liking a genre of music and fashion does not mean that all Goths behave the same way, or, indeed, like the same things - otherwise wouldn't there be only one 'type' of Goth fashion and one genre of Goth music? Hence 'mindset' probably not being the best term.
Interestingly, the Goth With A Sledgehammer page, which, according to online forums seems to be regarded by more than a few people as 'the definitive' test of one's Gothiness (if there can be such a thing) states that certain characteristics, tendencies, and, yes a certain outlook, make one a Goth more than music or fashion. Just to add an extra element of confusion to a subculture that is already nigh-on impossible to explain to an outsider in less than twenty minutes.
Perhaps the answer is that these characteristics that are generally seen as personifying a culture, simply belong to the people therein. Defining some Goths as individuals, rather than identifying individuals as Goths.