I had a couple of comments this month with questions I wasn't sure I could answer clearly, so I figured I'd put them up here so that anyone who feels they can offer some insight can easily add their two cents. The first is from Celeste, who asks:
"What exactly makes music "goth"? Since the goth subculture is based on a type of music, I'm trying to figure out just what that music is. I can understand 80s bands such as the Cure and others who basically kicked off the goth scene are considered such, but what makes music today such as The Birthday Massacre goth, and My Chemical Romance for instance, not?"
I think this is a very sensible question - after all, why is it that a band with very little Goth styling and imagery such as The Decemberists (for example), who are not specifically Goth as far as I'm aware, are welcomed into the scene with open arms, when bands with arguably very 'Goth' imagery like Evanescence are decidedly Not Goth?
The best answer that I can give (please let me know if you think I'm right or wrong, I'm only human after all...) is twofold: firstly, I think it stems from a band's musical roots. Whilst My Chemical Romance openly admit to being inspired by Goth music, their roots stand firmly in alternative rock and pop-punk, whereas The Birthday Massacre includes influences from Industrial and synthpop, which makes them 'Goth' rather than 'Goth-friendly' like MCR.
The second part of my theory comes down to mainstream popularity. Yes, back in the day bands like the Banshees and The Cure were on Top of the Pops and in the charts all the time, but nowadays a large factor in defining Goth music is its underground, as opposed to mainstream, appeal. A band that frequently gets airplay on MTV is unlikely to receive much widespread acceptance from the Goth scene as a whole, probably because then any Goth imagery is perceived as being 'Goth for effect'. Which, of course, comes back to that whole thing about Goth being exploited as a trend or for shock value.
But I'd say that the best way to judge whether a band is 'Goth' or not is to take a look at its roots and influences. What about you guys?
For starters, I would just like to point out that Satanism is much-maligned; it's become a catch-all term for black magic and devil worship when actually it's a very peaceful religion that has nothing to do with either of those things. A Satanist is no more likely to hurt you or 'sacrifice' you than your average Goth.
Secondly, being a Goth does not automatically make you a Satanist, and if you are a Satanist you do not have to be a Goth or dress like one. Just wanted to make that clear.
So when someone calls you a Satanist for dressing Goth, they are actually showing how ignorant they are of both minority religions and alternative subculture. Which is handy for feeling like the bigger person afterwards, but not very helpful during the actual situation.
I can understand Sami's dilemma - usually when stupid people have an attempt at Goth-baiting, they don't stick around and wait for a reply. It's good that your friend asked the idiot to apologise, but frankly I think you did the right thing by not responding. If it happens again, just walk away. You don't have to defend your appearance or lifestyle choices to morons like these. If you give them the satisfaction of a response it's likely they will find it amusing and keep bothering you. If you walk away you are showing them that you're too mature to play their silly games.
Alternatively, if you're feeling confident enough to make a joke ("sorry, my overlord only accepts virgins") then go for it, but be warned, they may use it as an excuse to carry on teasing you.
Again, does anyone else have any advice to offer Sami?