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Monday, 14 February 2011

Parents and Goth, part 2

I think it's important to note that when it comes to parents and their attitudes towards their Goth-inclined offspring, not everyone is as intolerant as this guy:

(P.S. Maybe his grades are crap because he's being picked on in school and beaten up, and maybe instead of taking the piss out of him on national TV you should be trying to encourage and support him to be his own person? Just a thought.)

I would also like to point out that the stereotyping can often run both ways. For example, my mum, whilst not a Goth, is certainly Goth-friendly - she has some pieces in her wardrobe that I'm highly jealous of, she sometimes comes to concerts and other events with me because she enjoys both the music and the atmosphere, and not once has she ever expressed concern or disapproval over my tastes, my appearance, or who I choose to be friends with (whether they're Goth or not).

Even my body mods have barely raised an eyebrow, except when I was thinking about getting my tongue pierced - she felt that a piercing inside the mouth was 'inappropriate', but she didn't forbid me and now that I've got it she's used to it. She even helped me shave my head when I wanted an undershave.

However, at a Goth festival we attended last summer, during one of the club nights, one of the lovely people I met at the fest took Mum aside whilst I was fixing my face in the ladies' room. She told Mum that she shouldn't worry about me being a Goth, that Goths aren't scary or dangerous, and implied that, at 18 (as I was then) I didn't really need a parental chaperone at Goth events as I would be safe.

Mum was a little bit bemused. As she told me later, she hadn't once considered that I would be unsafe or that Goths were 'scary' - "They're just people!" Frankly, I think she was slightly upset that the very nice lady had thought she was being an overbearing parent, when she had come along to dance, see some live bands, sightsee and shop, just like everyone else at the event. But because she was my parent, people automatically assumed that she was trying to guard me rather than keeping me company and having a good time together.

Mum and me in York for DV8 Fest
Conversely, my mother is by no means a lax parent. I am not a frequent drinker; I have never touched drugs and have no intention of doing so. I am not promiscuous, I do not steal, I am not dishonest, antisocial, violent, or poorly educated and I have no more 'issues' than most people. Mum's open-mindedness, acceptance and encouragement has, if anything, made me a better person by setting a good example.

Not all parents find it easy to be tolerant of a child's choices, particularly if they believe negative stereotypes and think that Goth relates to drugs, sex, devil-worship or all those other connotations. But it may be worth remembering that not all parents disapprove of their child's lifestyle, either.

13 comments:

Laurel said...

That video was a tad...confusing. Something in the kid's attitude made me wonder just a bit if his appearance was mainly for show--or if it had been played up for the cameras. But it's not my place to judge, and really--if that was the case, I'm learning that we have to allow others that freedom. It's very sad though, to see the number of stereotypes just in that one little clip--I'd love to see more of that episode, just to see what else happened. The video definitely sends a reminder that at the very least, it is often difficult to read people. Of course, this comment is being written by someone who naturally distrusts eeryone, friend or foe. A most profound and thoughtful post! And that was way too much rambling from me!

Mark The Asperger Poet Of Radio86. said...

It's good that you have parents that understand you Amy. My parents have never been accepting of my Individualism and creativity. Most of the time it feels as if I'm in captivity. Your mother seems to be a very special person. She understands your creativity. She must know that you are someone very special. It's totally wrong to bully someone, for wanting to be Gothic. I just wish I had more of your powerful Individualism. It's all about how you assert yourself in life. Sometimes kind criticism makes us stronger. But not always.

Stephanie said...

I feel sorry for that kiddo. I don't think he was "acting up to spite his parents" or he wouldn't have came on this show. He looks sincerely hurt by his dad, and it's a real shame that his dad can't see his son for who he is.

I will say, I LOVE how the girl got down and bowed to him. If I was a 15 year old girl, I would have been swooning, lol.

My mom wasn't sure when I was dressing more extreme goth if she wanted me to be this way, but she never said she disapproved, she still bought me those types of clothes and accessories [and still does, because she knows I love them], and she'll even go with me to concerts. She dresses up a little like me occasionally, and we plan tattoos and piercings we'd like to get together. She's a total doll. =]

Angel of Darkness said...

I came across that video on youtube a while back. . .
Like your mom my mom has always been accepting of me being an individual and encourages me all the time. But I know lots of my friends parents that are the comlpete oppostie, like forbiding black nail polish.

x-akurei said...

Oh gosh, you and your mum look amazing! My mum has a few gothy items in her wardrobe too, and she's forever borrowing my shoes and accessories >.<

Still, I can't complain!

Laurel said...

I must apologize for my last comment--when you can't see the looks on people's faces, it can be rather difficult to read them accurately. So, I missed something that wasn't coming across in his tone, and for that I'm sorry. I think, though that, regardless of why he's dressing the way he is, and not doing well in school, etc.--his father needs to try to be more understanding--he mentions that his son is receiving Valentines from boys--so what, he would have a problem if his son was gay or bi? I think this video is a perfect example of why parents and kids need to have better lines of communication--the grades I can understand being upset over--but rahter than blaming his appearance for them, the father should be talking to his son, trying to find out the real reasons for the poor grades. He seems like he must be a good kid--although it's hard to tell a lot from such a short clip. I could see the father possibly being angry if the fashion choice was accompanied by not only bad grades, but other sorts of delinquency--but that's still no reason to be upset over the poor guy's taste in clothes. Unfortunately for me, I've seen people do things for all sort of reasons, and not aways just because they want to--so I'm very skeptical, as there is very little to really go on in the clip. But in general, if we take it at face value--the father is being a jerk and needs to try to get to know his son better (even if there is more going on than we see on camera--it's a good idea). Okay, I'm done. And I love hat picture of you and your mom, Amy.

Mark The Asperger Poet Of Radio86. said...

It's good Amy that you do not always drink. It's also nice to know that you disagree with drugs. I wish I had you as a close friend in crappy Oswestry. I'm sure we'd get on very well as friends. The last time I had a drink was at xmas. There is a lot wrong with this world today. There is so much racism/prejudice about now. It kinda scares me about the future, and the stability of this small ball of poo that we live on. I just dislike poisonous politicians, that think they are zealous creeps. That's why I believe in a Supernatural Punnishment for the earth.

Angel of Darkness said...

You and your mom look great in that pic by the way! You guys look alike too, both very pretty.

Emily Lynn G. said...

That video is upsetting, particularly because I *am* 15 and am in honors classes and I "dress like a freak", as that show so delicately put it. When your young and subculture, you have to work even harder to prove wrong those stereotypes.
And I have to say, thank goodness, that video is old and I don't think people have the NERVE to talk like that so openly, so rudely anymore, I'd hope!
My mom has been very supported, and just enough to.( I'd feel weird if she sported fishnets and boots and wanted to tag along, she does her thing and is my mom. She loves shoping with me and is usually better at finding my dream pieces then me!) My father sometimes cracks mean jokes but he knows his limit and does it less and less. Parents learn that their kids aren't evil or depressed, its just a matter of taste and if your Goth for the right reason, you'r personality never changes: your being yourself.

Maeam said...

Wow. I wonder what the boy...er, teen is like now...I think he looked rather amazing. Naturally. ;) Hm, his attitude confused me, too, though...Ugh, his father...

My mom's pretty open about my darker side, too. Oh, gosh, in fact me telling her about it has sparked her "flame" from her "younger years"! She's into...eh, more of the clothes than music, unlike myself, but it's my dad I'm mad at...

Your mom is AWESOME!

Under_The_Stairs said...

My moms a Jehovahs wittness,so she pretty much opposed to the goth fashion(though she likes Siouxsie and the banshees,the cure,and the birthday massacre..).It really sucks,and because I'm and atheist she puts me on a really short leash.I'm cant even talk to anyone outside of the 'truth' if its not necessary.

Anonymous said...

My mom's really nice and isn't trying to stop me from being goth at all. However, she seems a little sad about it, and I'm sort of holding back because I don't want upset herr.

Ivy Roberts said...

My 18 yr old goth daughter, who is expecting her first child, did many crazy things to her appearance growing up. My 10 yr old son, who doesn't know anything about goth-ism, is a complete goth in my pinion with all of his black stuff,clothes, etc. IMO, children should be allowed to express themselves and discover who they really are. Another person shouldn't chose that for them!
http://www.etsy.com/shop/FarOutSprouts?ref=si_shop

Ivy

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