Saturday, 10 March 2012

Guest Post: On being an alternative parent

Here’s a potentially shocking fact for you: not all Goth/Alt people are angsty teenagers! Well, of course, as a reader of this blog you know that. You have seen such examples as Le Professeur Gothique, Trystan L. Bass, and Sophistique Noir so you know about the crowd of grown-up Goths (not to mention our own dear Amy!). But one group of folks that hasn’t been talked about very much is the Goth/Alt parents.

Hi, my name is Holly and with my wonderful husband (known as TeacherMan) I have a 6 month old daughter. I am a Goth/Alt parent.

Holly and her beautiful daughter Miss Boo
My daughter watches me do my makeup in the morning and loves to run her hands through my purple hair. She likes to watch “Ruby Gloom” and our days have a soundtrack that is equal parts The Cure and Disney musical selections. Despite many people expecting that small children and babies are frightened by Goths/punks/anyone who looks different, my daughter tries to kiss the screen when we watch YouTube videos of Joji Grey and other lovely alternatively-inclined persons. 

Quite honestly, I have never found that my style is scary to the small set. In fact, children are generally a source of wonderfully frank questions on the exact color of my hair, or whether “purple is my favorite color” because my hair and nails are the same shade as a grape. In my experience, children are fascinated by differences and it is only when they have been taught that “different is bad” that they react with fear. I hope to raise my daughter with the mindset that everyone is different and that is awesome, something to be celebrated. Because a world full of people who all look and think the same would be so very, very boring.
Of course, since becoming a parent I will say that my style has changed quite a bit – mostly gone are the days when I had time to craft the perfect TropiGoth outfit involving layered jewelry and intricate makeup. These days I’m lucky to slap on some eyeliner and my clothes generally fall onto the black-jeans-and-tank-top side of things. But! Now I have this adorable little child to dress each morning as well – and that is a lot of fun. She’s 6 months old and already boasts her own pair of stripey legwarmers, star-studded shirts… Yes, there are times when I am jealous of my baby’s clothes!

I’m not going to say that as a Goth/Alt parent, you won’t run into little issues – like being stared at because the man at the table next to yours cannot fathom the idea of a purple-haired person with a nose ring having a baby, or having everyone assume that because your beautiful daughter is wearing a black top (with purple leggings!) she must be a boy. But on the whole, I have found people to be accepting and much more concerned with how many times they can tell my daughter she is “so cute!” than with how her parents are dressed.
So that’s us – two Gothy-types living our lives together and now raising a member of the next generation to embrace differences (in herself and others) and to, as Ruby Gloom says, “see the bright side of the dark side”.

Amy says: Huge thanks to Holly, aka TropiGothMama, for this great post! You can read more from Holly at her blog Starlit Home. This post was suggested by Darling Violetta, so thanks to you too!


Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

Holly is such a sweetheart!

Tenebris In Lux said...

d'aww, look at that little doll!

Cheers :-)

Lady Bethezda @ Bethezdas Preoccupations said...

Couldn't agree more. I love being a goth and I love being a mom. WOOT!!

Dirgesinger said...

Same here. I totally agree with Holly, children do not have preconceptions, they are not botheed by what should they think and like. My daughter will grow up atatching the colour black to his mother and I am going to teach her that people are not good or bad according to their hair colour or clothing styles. Hopefully the motherly example will help:)

Daniel_8964 said...

Aww... How cute is that? Her daughter is lucky to have her as a mother. She is been brought up as a respectful open minded person.

ZombieDoll said...

Well, I´m not parent yet because I´m twenty but my plan for future is like "wanna be like Morticia Addams":D I honestly don´t think that goth/alt parents would be worse (or always better)than the others because it depends on certain person.
But TropiGothMum is very sympatethic to me!:)

ZombieDoll said...

And as always I forgot something what I´ve wanted to say.
As others mentioned - these children would be brought up as open minded person. And that I consider the most important.

Eurofighter said...

It's awesome when alt people have kids because they want them, and not because they got them by accident) People like Holly show the majority that there are more mature and responsible different people than they think. :)
There's also a Russian alt mum of 2 kids - her name's Pushba, she's a photographer and a writer.

App'y said...

That’s fantastic Holly. I’m an Eldergoth and new granddad I’ve got the “licence to spoil” It’s absolutely great to be able to walk into pub with child and not give a hoot about the look on people’s faces! I’ve bought him T-shirts and baby grows from Gothlings and Chris has knitted some biker boots like those on Amy’s blog a while back. His dad is an accountant and mum a dentist, but I’m sure he’ll grow up to be whatever he wants to be I’ll always love and support him.

kakuidori said...

i have some friends with babies/older kids, too and they all are awesome, respecting everyone and interested in everything. scary people? its in their eyes/way they behave not in their clothes :-D

great post!

Caroline Carnivorous said...

I think it's really fun seeing goths / alternative people walk around with strollers!
Me and my boyfriend can't wait to have our own little goth metal babies, hahah.
I think that alternative parents are actually BETTER than normal ones, cause children are taught not to fear what's different, and encouraged to be themselves, no matter what! And not to be afraid of things like vampires and ghosts, hahah xD

Goth Pocket said...

Oooh I hope I have such a nice relationship with my future kids:) and I hope to raise them to be accepting.

Anonymous said...

I've been putting alot of thought in how to phrase this without offending anyone, so here it is:

While children are an extension of their parents, parents are also an extension of their children. As fun as it may be to dress children in goth attire, it is important not to influence a child so much that they may feel obligated to dress that way when they're older, as a way to gain approval.

For the record, I, too, am a goth parent of a beautiful, independent 5 1/2 year old girl. I mostly dressed her in "normal" clothing since birth, with the exception of occasional social events, Bat's Day @ Disneyland, etc, and I have even toned down my appearance, especially now that she's school age, as however trivial, my appearance has an impact on how others perceive her. As a parent, my primary responsibility is to her, and her happiness and well-being. While she is being taught diversity and acceptance, her peers may not be. Also, I live in Los Angeles, and while many people are progressive, we also have many immigrants from countries that are not as tolerant, and these views are often passed down to those children, especially at such a young age.

I would love my daughter to follow in my goth bootsteps, if that is what she wants, and not because she thinks it's my preference. In fact, I've been saving some of my old clothes that no longer fit in case she decides she wants to wear them, but I won't be disappointed if she goes her own way. I have bought her several articles of clothing that can be mixed-and-matched for a more goth or normal outfit, and I let her choose how to wear them. (Sometimes, she actually picks a very gothy combo!)

Darling Violetta said...

Aww, that baby is SO cute. :3

I know some alternative/goth parents. I love hearing their stories about raising children. I'm actually friends on Facebook with a few of the goth families from Wife Swap. One family has older kids (like our age). It's fun to see the kids comment on old teenage pictures of themselves dressed alternative. One daughter commented, "Oh Mom how could you post this picture?! Am I wearing black lipstick in this? That is SO Dad". Haha. :D

I agree with the poster who mentioned Pushba. Definitely check her out! I think she's amazing. :)

You can find articles on Offbeat Mama about Pushba and all sorts of unconventional Mothers (and even their children too sometimes). The articles are really interesting.

Glitterish Allsorts said...

Adora Batbrat is a great example of an alt mum! Three kids and she's still rocking her alt look!

Melissa Fosler said...

"I hope to raise my daughter with the mindset that everyone is different and that is awesome, something to be celebrated. Because a world full of people who all look and think the same would be so very, very boring."
I love this comment. I am teaching my 7 year old to be more understanding of other's differences. Glad to know I am not alone. :)

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