Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Goths and parenthood

Since I'm not a parent myself, I'm going to tread very carefully here, and will most certainly not be offering advice to Gothy parents as I'm hardly in a position to do so. However, I just wanted to shed some light on this topic, and hopefully provide some useful resources and links for Goth parents, or those planning parenthood.

Source: Tumblr
I'm sure you have heard that there are many narrow-minded people who make comments such as 'Goths are not fit to be parents', and I'd like to begin by stating that this is a load of utter rubbish. Belonging to an alternative subculture does not make any person an unfit parent or in any way a danger to children - nor does it mean their children will be 'weird' or 'dangerous'.

As we all know, looking different from the norm has its upsides and its downsides. There will probably always be people who stare and point, who are wary of Goth parents and make disparaging remarks about the possible future of a Goth's offspring. But children whose parents belong to alternative subcultures and lifestyles are likely to learn an inherant tolerance - they will be open-minded and likely to treat people from all walks of life equally.
A Goth family enjoying Bats Day
Source: Google
Many Goths worry that they will no longer be able to enjoy their dark lifestyle once they are parents. Whilst your lifestyle may need to undergo some changes (deep pile velvet and baby spew are not the greatest sartorial combination) there's no reason to take all your black clothing to the charity shop and return your pointy boots to the shoe store. The Lady of the Manners has some marvellous advice on this subject, in her article, 'Raising Babybats, or On Being a Gothy Parent'.

One thing Gothy parents may have to watch out for is the urge to turn their babybats into... well, babybats. While it's fine to keep one's fingers crossed and pray that little James's predilection for Burberry tracksuits is just a phase, you probably had a parent (or knew a friend's parent) who was constantly lambasting you (or your friend) for choosing to be a Goth. Remember how that made you feel - and don't be that parent. (I know, you knew that already...)

As well as the above Gothic Charm School article, here are some links you may find interesting:

Gothic Portal: Parents contains a useful collection of articles for Goth parents.

Gothic Parents... Uncut is an e-mail discussion group, ideal for help and support.

Here you can find Gothy online zine Morbid Outlook's investigation of Goth parenting.

One of my idols, Adora BatBrat, is of course a Gothy parent. Check out Adora and her Gothlings here.

All my readers, parents or otherwise, should check out this painful/hilarious Wife Swap episode, featuring a Gothy family switching places with the world's scariest 'hockey mom'. Sadly, it's hard to tell who is trying hardest to turn their children into mini-mes - Hockey Mom or Goth Dad. Please post opinions and rants in the comments if you do watch this! (P.S. Goth Mom is awesome, I want all her clothes...)

Many thanks to ZombeeGrrl, a regular visitor to the old Piczo site, who let me know about the following websites:

Offbeat Mama is a wonderful website in and of itself, but check out the 'ultimate high maintenance mama', Russian Goth Pushba.

My Baby Rocks has a selection of punk, Goth and alternative baby clothes and maternity wear.

Gothic Charm School: The Essential Guide For Goths and Those Who Love Them by Jillian Venters and The Goth Bible by Nancy Kilpatrick both have sections on Goth parenting that you may enjoy reading.

Lastly, a short anecdote that I read in The Goth Bible - a Goth mother was queueing at the checkout with her young daughter when the 'normal' parent behind her (also with child in tow) snorted and remarked, "Just imagine what she'll look like when she's older." Goth Mom immediately retorted, "Probably however she wants to look, because unlike some people she's learnt that it's what's on the inside that counts."
Pushba and Baby <3
Source: Google
RE: stuff for sale! I started taking photos of the stuff I will be selling today, then realised I haven't cleared out enough to make it worthwhile, so I will get on with sorting out some more stuff and get it up for sale asap. You can expect prices to be below £10, but please don't get excited, guys - these items are probably most likely to be useful to babybats or those who are otherwise looking to create a basic Goth wardrobe. I will ship abroad depending on how expensive it may be - if you are outside the UK I will calculate postage costs and contact you BEFORE sending a PayPal request (I can only accept PayPal payments, I'm afraid).

What can you expect? I've got pieces from Jordash, Smell Your Mom, Living Dead Souls and Cyberdog, as well as some basic Gothy dresses, skirts, tees and blazers/cardigans from shops like New Look and Peacocks. I'm trying to keep you updated on the upcoming sale so you won't think I've forgotten, but I'm aware I've been yammering on for months now without actually selling anything. Sale in August, I promise!

EDIT: Oops, forgot yesterday's work outfit! We actually had a sunny day yesterday so I almost roasted in my long sleeves... d'oh. And the bow tie attracted the attention of a group of idiot chavs, who attempted to play a brief game of 'taunt the weirdo'. I say attempted, because for a change I was actually able to think of a spur-of-the-moment sharp response.

Shorts, bowtie, blouse and waistcoat all charity shop, £3.30, £2.50, £2.99 and £4.49 respectively.
Tights: different charity shop, £1.25
Boots: skip
Belt: random alt shop, £25
Hair extension: Claire's, £15
Gargoyle ring: fancy dress shop in Winchester, £1.99


Minakitty said...

My husband and I have chosen to be parents to the feline variety only, but I will always remember a snide comment made at my old workplace:

Jerk : "Do you have any kids?"
Me : "No."
Jerk : "Well it's a good thing then."
Me : "Um, why?"
Jerk : "Because they'd be scared!"
Me : "Only if I taught them to be!"

When I browse Adora BatBrat's blog, I particularly enjoy the posts about time spent with her children, because they seem like the happiest kids! :)

Anonymous said...

Amy, thank you for tackling this! You did so with grace, style and decorum. I know quite a few Goths who became parents and changed for fear of "what folks will think" or "it's time to grow up." I also know one set of parents who refused to change and let their kids experiment with any style they wanted. Needless to say, their children are wonderfully adjusted, social, outgoing, and extremely tolerant ... not to mention pretty darned smart. And they adore and respect their parents and have an open, communicative relationship with them.

My nieces and nephew consider me the "fun aunt" and "Auntie Mame." It took my brother 15 years to allow me to be alone with his kids (18, 17, 16) years old now). A couple of weeks ago he gave me permission to bring them into Manhattan to see the Alexander McQueen retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The kids were thrilled, I was thrilled and we ended up having a fabulous time. I took them to the East Village to show them where my Mom, their granny, grew up and had Russian/Polish food for dinner. They want me to take them music, clothes and make-up shopping in the places I frequent. hehehe ... my brother and his wife can't be more thrilled.

Bottom line, I agree with The Lady of the Manners: be yourself, be polite, and be willing to explain things calmly. As for parents (or anyone out there) you don't need to change because you had a kid ... or, as I've learned the hard way, because you're almost 40 and have a career. :)

Again, thanks for this post Amy! It's awesome.

Hugs from NYC,

Loupie said...

Bow ties are cool

That is all

Tenebris In Lux said...

Those pictures make me so happy ^^

Aw -- yes! I love Adora BatBrat's children .. so adorable ..

I can never see myself with kids. I'll probably be some wacky cat lady :-)

Anonymous said...

:P Heya... I've never posted a comment before, but I've been following your blog for quiet some time now... Anyways, will you post details on here about where/when you're sale will be when you're ready?

PS. This is my favourite blog ;)
Charlotte xxx

Chloris said...

I always get excited with a Goth couple has a baby - I think it's great that there will be more offbeat people with different ideas in the world.

And PUSHBA! I remember seeing her way back, when she was getting married and the world was all pointing and laughing at her her her husband, and I loved her high, smooth forehead, but I didn't know who she was... NEW GOTH CRUSH!

Anonymous said...

It always makes me so sad when you hear about Goth parents getting beat up or pushed around just because they are parents. Snide and cruel comments are just plain rude. *sigh* It makes me sad when I realize how narrow-minded our society has come. My mom always taught me to try new things and experience different cultures. I suppose that's why I've been so open-minded, or at least more open-minded than any of my friends. I don't actually want kids, but if I ever decide that I do, I'm gonna have them and be proud. I'll teach them to be open-minded. Why do adults act like children sometimes?

P.S. I LOVE the jacket. ;)

Anonymous said...

Great post Amy.:)
And I think when a parent lets their child take form on their own- that is the ultimate acceptance. I reccently discovered one of my close non-Goth friends' parents are Goths. Wild, right? No wonder she always gave the best birthday gifts xD

Rora Monroe said...

I watched that wife swap episode and honestly I didnt like either family. The hockey crazy mom is well just that crazy and totally rude. The goth family is also a little nuts and should probably listen to their kids a little more. I know this show is all about the drama but they never pick out nice families

Fae said...

I hate today I have writers block. Anyone have any thing that can cure this ??

Gaia_Noir said...

O, see, and now I want to be cool gothy parent too! This article makes it seem like an awesome, crusading moral duty to my subculture!

...except it would probably be dribblier than that, with more nappies. So perhaps not.

P.S. That bowtie is unbelievable. I totally have to make/get one. Your look ROCKS.

Dark Fantomzy said...

Very insightful post, Amy. It's very sad that Goth parents are insulted and harassed just for being different. Everyone is different and many of us aren't content with "fitting in".

The Wife Swap episode pissed me off--I felt that both families pushed their children too hard, isntead of encouraging them to be individuals.

And I loved your outfit! :)

Allison Paige Eckfeldt said...

I watched the wife swap episode and was totally taken back. I can't believe someone would call their kids and other people 'losers'. The hockey parents where so judgement based with every argument. They didn't even get the point the goth family was trying to show... The mom was so rude to call the goth dad names under his roof in front of his kids. That's a low blow.

The goth family was cool, but I wouldn't force my kids to be goth. They can be whatever the fuck they want to be just like i'm what ever the fuck I want to be. I preach about letting me be myself and not passing judgement; so who am I to tell my children they can't be preppy or whatever? It's their life, and their path. I'll support whatever that little mind chooses.

by the way, I love your outfit and the bow tie. wayyyyyy cute. =)

Ghoulina Bones said...

I love this post.
I have friends who are old school punks and they have the best kids.
They don't force them into anything.
They are some of the sweetest people I know and their kids are too.
If anything, I think that they spend more time trying to unify their family than many parents of "normal" families.
They take out time to make cookies, just because,
And to me, that was so shocking.
I was like, "Wait, your kids wake up to the smell of cookies baking? Really? That happens to people?", they then invited me over for the night so I could wake up to the smell of cookies.
They are such great people.

linnea-maria said...

I love your work outfit!! Awesome
The familys on the film was not awesome, I believe the goth mum was the best. I felt sorry for the kids who was forced to do things they really didn't want to. How awful of the hockey parents to bullying their children that is not encouraging. /Therese

Fae said...

Its funny how it got cured from writers block. One of my other best guy friend asked me out....and I said yes just felt like sharing. :P

GothicGuy said...

See Fae I told you it would be alright !!

T. Jade said...

=D just had to comment to say that I got a pair of black shorts the other day exactly like those in your business outfit picture. =]]

Phoenix said...

Cool post! I couldn't watch that show all the way to the end, it was making my brain die. I didn't particularly like either of the families, but that hockey mum was TERRIBLE. I don't think there's anything wrong with getting your kids to be independent, but they shouldn't be forced into doing anything they don't want to.

prettycannibalgirl said...

to be honest, I hate that they picked THAT goth family. They are a poor example of the Goth style and idea. They DID NOT support individuality whatsoever, and did not listen to their children. I believe both families were just as bad as each other. still, fantastic post, and a great example of what not to be as goth parents.
I hope to have kids oneday, and I will still remain myself. However, my partner isn't goth, and I would never force him to be, or my children. I would just teach them to be creative, loving and open-minded!

KatSlaughter said...

Cutest thing I ever saw was while browsing through a tattoo art book in a studio one day. This lovely tattooed woman all in black walked in on her platform boots, trailing two little girls in pink. Goth mom was wearing her black hair up in pigtails, as were both kids. I could imagine her putting her hair up that morning and the kids clamouring to match - even though they were small, blonde and pink they still wanted to be like mommy <3

Anonymous said...

That sounds like an adorable sight! ^^

Anonymous said...

I can't watch the Wife Swap video you posted, there seems to be some kind of error... anyone else has the link?

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking of having two or three kids, hopefully I have at least one girl. I'm terrified of what the other kids might say about them though, because there mum would be a little out there.

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