I seem to have got side-tracked from regular postings over the last couple of months, so here's to hopefully getting back on track with everything I started and didn't finish! You may remember I had decided to explain and clarify the points I made in a slightly abrupt early post, 'How to spot a 'real' Goth' - if you missed it, you can find parts one and two here and here.
|(I know I've used this image before, but Blogger won't let me upload pics today...)|
Adora BatBrat, her blog is here.
Real Goths are likely to be open-minded.
I'm glad I was careful with how I phrased this. As I've explained in part one of this miniseries (and as you are probably already aware), earning the title of 'real Goth' is not actually that difficult. You don't have to submit an application form for your very own Goth card, nor should anybody else actually be in the business of telling you whether or not you're a 'real Goth'. As long as you have some sort of knowledge of Goth culture, you're likely to be welcomed by other members of the scene.
When I first got into the scene, I was quite naive and assumed that because Goths tend to share similar interests in music and fashion - and other areas such as film, literature and art to a certain extent - that I would automatically get on with and like all other Goths. I still struggle, sometimes, to accept that you can have almost the exact same tastes and interests as somebody else but you still may not like them.
Goth as a subculture is open to anyone and everyone. Which means that obnoxious people, unkind people, rude people, stuck-up people, even intolerant and bigoted people can be - and are - a part of this scene too. Sadly, a statement like 'all Goths are open-minded' is misleading.
However, I would dare to say that the majority of Goths are open-minded. I have read about nasty incidents where fuller-figured Goths, younger Goths, cyber Goths, black Goths and others have received rude remarks or basic ignorance from other members of a supposedly tolerant scene, but I would like to assume that it isn't naive of me to hope that such encounters are the exception and not the norm.
In a subculture where the majority pride themselves on being tolerant towards such diversities as gender, sexuality, religion, and fetishes, it is a shame that there are still a minority who still sneer at others based on body shape, age, fashion prefences or even make-up-applying ability. BUT I firmly believe that Goths are more likely to be open-minded, because, to use a bad analogy, a man wearing make-up and a PVC dress is far more likely to be shown acceptance in a small town Goth club than a small town mainstream nightclub.
So, sadly, one cannot assume that the bigot in the corner of a Goth club is not a 'real' Goth.
There is another facet, of course, to Gothy open-mindedness, which was what I was actually referring to when I wrote the original post. It's the fact that many 'poseurs' have difficulty accepting anything outside of a very blinkered definition of what 'Goth' is - "I'm not walking the dog/wearing those socks/listening to that band/eating that cookie. It isn't Goth."
I'm sure there are many newcomers, mallgoths and babybats who strongly believe that you cannot work in a hospital and be a Goth; that you cannot play sports and be a Goth; that you cannot enjoy chick lit and be a Goth; that you cannot dislike the works of Tim Burton and be a Goth; or even the good old favourite, that you cannot wear colour and be a Goth.
People who unintentionally use subcultures to place restrictions on themselves ("I can't go to that salsa class, it isn't Goth") will eventually find it frustrating and will move on, which I think is where a lot of those 'just a phase' examples come from. People become part of a subculture because it has meaning to them, because they like it - it should be an enjoyable addition to your way of life, not a way to put uncomfortable limits on your lifestyle and behaviour.
'Real' Goths are likely to have more knowledge about and experience of the subculture, and will have learned either first-hand or by example that being part of a scene such as Goth shouldn't place limits on what you can and can't do. Being accepting of and open-minded towards the facets of your lifestyle and personality (and those of others) that fall outside the category of 'Goth' should be part and parcel of being a member of the subculture.