Well, I survived my first day of work... but I won't bore you with that now, instead I will save up my corpgoth outfits and experiences and spam you with them at a later date. You're welcome.
This is a post I have been thinking about for a long time... hopefully I can lay my thoughts out straight and not muddle them up too much! I have been wondering what your views might be on the Goth scene and body image; in the media and online, there are two definite extremes, with Goths being depicted as overweight, slovenly creatures with bad make-up or tragic, bone-thin teens struggling with eating disorders and other issues. Clearly, neither of these stereotypes promotes a healthy self-image for young men and women interested in dark culture.
Even some forms of media aimed at Goths propagate these caricature versions of 'the Gothic body'; Goth: Undead Subculture by Lauren M.E. Goodlad describes Goth as 'idealizing an emaciated death chic', and online Goth zine Take A Bite frequently refers to the stereotype of Goths taking drugs to maintain an emaciated physique.
As you may know, I previously went through a troublesome time with eating and body image, although in honesty this was more to do with what was going on around me rather than any real problems with my appearance; I tend to internalise negative emotions and turn them on myself. During this time, I personally found that I could use Goth culture to push away some of my body image demons - the models I enjoyed looking at both online and in my favourite dark culture magazines were rarely, if ever, stick-thin creatures; rather they were normal-sized women with a healthy, toned shape, which over time I came to realise I could be if I took care of myself a little better.
Not once have I felt under pressure from Goth media or other Goths to change my body shape or attempt to lose weight - one of the definite perks of the Goth community is that the culture as a whole is very tolerant and welcoming. You don't have to fit a certain image to feel part of the group or to be accepted, which might come as a relief to those suffering from various weight or body issues, who may feel somewhat stigmatised in outside society.
Overall, there seems to be a fairly healthy balance; ultimately, as with religion, sexuality and all those other important topics, each person who is part of Goth culture is able to make up their own mind about how they choose to look. For example, Adora BatBrat states in her blog that she prefers to look very thin; whereas Tumblr icon Miss Superstar proclaims that 'thinspo can kiss her large rubber ass'.
|The character Gypsy Vale in the cult movie Gypsy 83 reacts with disdain to being told she 'could be a pretty girl': "I AM a pretty girl! Big is beautiful, haven't you heard?!"|
Since becoming part of the Goth community, and seeing women of all ages, races, sizes and builds looking DAMN FINE in the most amazing and outrageous fashions, I've come to care less and less about other people's opinion of how I look - in fact, as of right now I'm really happy with my body, and I feel I can partly claim that this is because of being a part of a culture that actually lets women be women, rather than forcing us to conform to one of two 'fashionable' stereotypes - curvy and busty or twig-like and waifish.
Speaking of waifish, I also feel compelled to mention the amount of 'Goth and emo thinspiration' that you can find on pro-anorexia sites all over the net. Frankly, this is not a realistic representation of either a) what most Goths aspire to look like, b) what most Goths actually look like, or even c) what most Goths think of as 'Goth'. Concerned parents, worry not.
So, readers, what's your take on this? Have you found the Goth community to be accepting of how you choose to look? More so than mainstream society? What would you describe as the 'ideal' Goth physique? What do you think of those 'all Goths are fat/all Goths are anorexic' stereotypes? And how do you feel about your body and self-image?
Goth gossip: Shut up, Jo Whiley. The DJ whines, "I really wish I hadn't been a goth. I became a goth at college for two years and crimped my hair endlessly. I'd got sucked into this whole community, probably because my boyfriend at the time was into it too. But it was miserable and intense. I was being someone I wasn't. It was only when I started doing local radio at Radio Sussex and I met lots of interesting people who liked the same music and things as me that there was light at the end of the tunnel and I cheered up." Miserable and intense? 'Sucked in'? Honey, you weren't a Goth, you were an angsty babybat... please don't judge the entire scene by the group of grumpy losers you hung around with. The Goths I have the pleasure to know are some of the most cheerful and vibrant people I have ever met.