Lately I have been hearing more misconceptions about the Goth subculture; some funny, some worrying, some just plain daft. My next few 'Goth myths' posts will all be based on comments I have recently heard... wince, laugh, and shake your head sadly, my fellow Gothlings. Non-Goths, my message to you is basically this: Goths are normal. Yes, really.
MYTH: Goths want negative attention so that they can write bad poetry and complain about it in their diaries and on LiveJournal.
Perhaps this misconception came from Goths in their younger and possibly less self-aware days when angsty poetry about being 'outcast', 'tormented' and 'victimised' found it way onto the internet. And certainly, many of us may keep a personal journal or diary in which we express the occasional feelings of annoyance or irritation at how we are sometimes treated by non-Goths. But the vast majority of Goths are aware that a certain amount of attention and occasionally boorish behaviour from 'outsiders' comes with the territory - whilst we might roll our eyes and mutter to our dining companion when someone chooses to stare at us eating lunch in MacDonalds, on the whole Goths don't make a big deal about being stared at or pointed at because, duh, we look different. The staring isn't necessarily relished, but it is expected.
We don't WANT to have things thrown at us, etc., so that we can feel all martyred and write poetry aboout it. You wouldn't want to have something thrown at you either. Goths don't feel like special little snowflakes when they receive this kind of attention - they feel exactly how anyone else would, namely hurt, upset and angry.
Linked to this is, as I have alluded to somewhere above, the notion that all Goths keep moody diaries, online or otherwise, written in blood and dripping in angst and bad poetry. And probably some of us do. I like to have a good whine in my journal from time to time. But having the occasional gloomy moan is by no means a 'Goth thing' - anyone who has a bad day and keeps a diary will probably feel justified in having a good cathartic rant. And I'm sure it goes without saying that keeping a gloom-and-doom-filled journal is not actually a requirement of membership of the Goth subculture.
Bad Goth poetry? This is a cliche that we're all aware of; those of us who do write poetry may well refer to it as 'bad Goth poetry', even if it happens to be pretty good, because it's become a bit of an in-joke. Some of us have a good time writing deliberately cheesy, overwrought poems to send up this stereotype and have a giggle, although we usually refrain from posting such online. And yes, when we were babybats, at one time or another most of us took ourselves too seriously and comprised odes of doom to be recited to our spooky friends in melancholy tones with hands stapled to our foreheads. Thankfully most Goths do grow up and develop a sense of humour about the 'whole Goth thing' and stop glowering at listeners who muffle giggles at the recitation of 'The Darkest Dark of the Dark Darkness'.
In short, if you happen to stumble across a Goth's blog or diary, unless said Goth is still in the overly-serious babybat phase, don't expect the blog to be all 'I wish I was a vampire, nobody understands me' woe and ramblings about blood and death and how everyone hates us because we're SO unique and different.