Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Goths and ignorance, part one

Happy belated Solstice, everyone!

Following on from my recent post about how the mainstream misunderstands the Goth subculture, I have been discovering a lot of ridiculousness online lately relating to Goth (more than usual, anyway), so before I get off my high horse and stop complaining about how people insist on maligning an entire group of people they know nothing about, may I present a two-part rant about the things that, lately, have annoyed me the most.
Source: We Heart It
Firstly, when I posted about the horrendous 'Goth kittens' debacle in abovementioned previous post, you guys were understandably sickened and not a little outraged. However, I was alerted by Siouxsie Law to an extraordinary article on Above the Law, which Siouxsie tells me is usually a brilliant website and boasts thousands of hits a day. (Check out Siouxsie's post on the subject for a far more balanced view than mine.)

Staci Zaretsky, when writing about the Goth kittens case, had obviously read some different articles to the rest of us, as she decided that the kitten-piercing lunatic at the centre of the case was - yes, you've guessed it - a Goth. Now, there is no evidence anywhere to back this up, save for a brief mention in some article or another that the woman has a single facial piercing. Last I checked, it took a little more than a hole in the face to qualify someone for Gothdom, otherwise all those eyebrow-pierced chavs in my hometown are in for a nasty shock.

Just to clarify: Holly Crawford, crazy kitten piercer, is not a Goth. (If she was, she probably would have known enough about the values that most of us hold to realise that no other Goths would be interested in buying mutilated kittens off eBay.)

Now, for your displeasure, here are my top quotes from Staci Zaretsky's rude and poorly-researched article 'Piercing Your Cat Will Not Make You Better At Being A Goth'. (Well, I can't argue with the title, at least.)

1. "If you want to look like the latest incarnation of Boy George, and thereby make your family embarrassed to be around you, then go for it."

Gee. I'm glad you feel entitled to make these kinds of comments regarding the family lives of thousands of people whom you know nothing about. Families who know that their spooky kids are still just people are probably embarrassed by this article.

2. "Your kittens don’t have daddy issues like you do…"

Leaving aside for the moment how highly offensive this is, why don't we make nasty comments about an entire subculture based on the actions of one extremely stupid woman?

3. "Crawford was found guilty of animal cruelty, and then sentenced to six months of house arrest, followed by probation. But Crawford decided that she didn’t want to spend six months at home. I guess she was afraid that her CD player would break and she wouldn’t be able to listen to The Cure on repeat all day, every day. Or maybe she just didn’t have enough Manic Panic hair dye to survive for that long all on her own."

Again, judging a subculture instead of a person. I do hope that Staci felt silly when it was pointed out to her that actually, Crawford isn't a Goth, and all of these vitriolic comments were a little bit wasted.

4. "And so, as logic would properly dictate (at least for those of you whose faces don’t jingle when you walk), you cannot pierce your cat in Pennsylvania."

Right, so the implication here would be that Goths with facial piercings are stupid? Well, at least we don't write insulting articles bitching - irrelevantly, as it turns out - about an entire subculture, because we have the nous to realise that some people might actually find that offensive.

Now, the nicest thing about this whole affair is that when Staci was alerted by Siouxsie Law to the fact that she had got some major issues seriously wrong, she posted an apology via Twitter (although I do feel that some sort of addendum or better yet, some heavy editing, should be applied to the original article).

Staci doesn't seem like a bad sort overall, but what irks me about all of this is that had this article been about any other group in society, e.g. Muslims, the elderly, cheerleaders, Asians or women, there would have been massive uproar. The fact is, websites and newspapers with thousands upon thousands of readers have almost free rein to imply or say straight-up anything whatsoever about Goths, but if Above the Law's comment, 'no one cared about most Goth kids when they were growing up' (and FYI, I think my parents would be quite upset about that ill-judged remark - as would Goths reading it who do have family issues, or who, for example, grew up in foster care...) had been applied to, say, black kids - can you imagine the legal fiasco that would probably have ensued?

Excuse me, we're people too... which is something I wish people would remember before they go posting rubbish all over the media.

Goth gossip: Actor Mel Gibson's latest squeeze is being referred to all over the interwebs as a 'Goth chick', which I wouldn't mind so much if many of the articles I've spotted weren't subtly poking fun at Mel's taste in women. Anyway, his Grecian girlfriend Stella Mouzi is a fetish model and, like most fetish models, has been photographed wearing such Gothy staples as corsets, PVC and oddly-coloured lipstick. However, snaps of her off-the-job reveal that, visually at least, she's not much of a Goth.


Lilly Peppermint said...

The article was disgusting... and so were some of the comments. I totally agree with all the things you said about the post, and was thinking them while reading it... Grrr... this just makes me so angry!!!

Anonymous said...

I, too, think that my parents would disagree completely with this Staci person. My parents raised a strange kid, I'll give them that. BUT, they raised a kid who is extremely intelligent, career-driven, kind, responsible and down to earth. I think Staci would be shocked to find out that I am a PhD candidate, who is writing her dissertation, and who is a university professor at various universities in NYC (I teach/study 19th century art history). I also think she would be shocked to find out that my Mom taught me how to sew (so that I could make and alter my own clothes and "not be embarrassed about crappy seams") and that she was the one who dyed my hair pink the first time I ever dyed my hair when I was 15. I'm 39 now and she's still poking at bad seams and fixing my bangs!

These people make overarching assumptions because they just can't figure out why we don't want to follow the latest trend or listen to mainstream music. In their minds we're the ones who are crazy because we can think for ourselves and are comfortable being ourselves. THAT is a huge threat to them, and THAT is exactly what they want to put an end to because it makes THEM feel threatened and uncomfortable.

Tenebris In Lux said...

Gargghh, I hate when people do that. Like that "stars gone Goth" article on your Spookywebs: some of those idols were somewhat Gothy-ish, and for quite some time, too. Others .. well .. just wore all black? People ..

Stephanie said...

Wow! She was so buisy bashing goth that she barely got around to the kittens!

I'm glad though, that if that is her writing style, the chances of her getting hired on any major publication is slim. =]

PinkPlumFairy said...

That's just really bad. Especially quote number three was really bad, I think, because she isn't talking about the kittens at all and is just judging a subculture.
She must have a strange kind of view, if she thinks goths are dyeing their hair 24/7.

Joanna said...

She's a baby lawyer. Sorry about the writer thing but she edits a legal oriented blog. Interestingly she's into fashion. Wants her practice a arounda subspecialty of intellectual property law called fashion law (who knew?).

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