Another email response; I am trying really hard not to make all my February email-ees wait absolutely forever for responses and I am thrilled that everyone is chipping in with some advice.
The query I am addressing this evening comes from another young lady, who says, "I go to a public school and have noticed a few things from my peers... Like for instance I only get compliments on the days I wear color (it is quite different than my usual almost all black attire) .. And one day I decided to try teasing my hair..one kid flat out told me it was hideous and then went on to bug me about my mismatched socks as if they were a crime... But I was just wondering do you ever have people tell you, you would look better.. How do i say this "normal".. I mean I'm just wondering why people can't see goth as beautiful... I'm sorry for the half rant, lol, but I would really love to hear your response to this.. Thank you."
I've got to admit this made me feel pretty sad. I know that when you dress differently it's fairly daft to complain about receiving attention - whilst you might not be seeking it, you should be aware that you'll receive it - but nevertheless, there are times when I get tired, and bored, and frustrated, with some people's seeming inability to live and let live. You don't like backcombed hair? Well, your hair sucks too. Go away.
Moans aside, it's irritating but true that such remarks very quickly become part of life for those of us who choose to express ourselves a little differently. After a while you get used to people who have very few pleasant things to say about big hair, mismatched socks, clompy boots or purple lipstick, and furthermore, you may also learn to love the positive responses - and you will receive them, honestly - from strangers who are pleased, nay, delighted, to see someone who looks quirkier and more interesting than everyone else on the street.
|Except maybe this street.|
Source: Goth Beauty
However. Let's be honest here, even the most superconfident amongst us might have off days, and on those off days (or headachey days, or long days, or sleep-deprived days, or really-just-not-feeling-my-best-today days), what feels like constant staring, teasing and needling can become very difficult to deal with. I have days (or weeks sometimes) when I really am not up to handling prolonged attention, and so I have dress-down days, where I slope about in jeans and a beanie hat. It may not be sartorially the most elegant, but taking a breather from garnering attention helps me prop my self-confidence back up ready for the next round.
Do I ever have people tell me I would look better if I ditched the black clothes and piercings? Certainly. I've been told that I've 'ruined my looks' by having lip and nose rings and I find it half-amusing and half-tedious that acquaintances get very excited should I wear something that isn't black - "You've changed your image! I see you're growing out of your phase! It's nice to see you wearing something with a bit more colour!". I think we all hear it from time to time; at the end of the day I just try to remember that everyone has a different idea of beauty, and mine is a little more morbidly cute than your average peach twinset and pearls. ;-)
I was reminded of a conversation that Kitty Lovett and I had on Facebook today regarding my upcoming plans to get the side of my head shaved. When I excitedly mentioned my plans to several people that I know, a few responses that I got were, "But why would you shave your head?" and "Girls should be pretty." At first I was a little taken aback by the assumptions, firstly that 1) I should feel the need to present myself as 'pretty' because I am female - as it happens I do like to feel pretty, it just might not necessarily match up with anyone else's idea of what 'pretty' is, and it's because it's what I like not because of my gender - and 2) (in Kitty's words) shaving one's head/part of one's head doesn't make someone un-pretty.
Why doesn't everybody see Goth as beautiful? I guess for the same reason that we don't all think it's beautiful to dress like Tulisa from N-Dubz or Katy Perry or an Olsen twin. Different people are drawn to appreciate different things, which is understandable, and pretty nice if you come to think about it, since it adds spice and variety to what could be a mass of beige and grey fashion. It would help if people were just a bit more accepting of the fact that what is 'beauty' to them is not necessarily 'beauty' to others.
It can be disheartening if you only get compliments from others when you tone down the Gothier aspects of your style. I also find that some of my friends who prefer mainstream fashion have more nice things to say when I dress more casually (even when it is in various shades of black). I'm sure that sooner or later, especially as you get older, meet new people and travel further afield, you will meet others who are more likely to be appreciative of an alternative style and then you will start to notice more compliments and pleasant comments.
But you have to remember, you didn't start dressing this way to get compliments. You did it because YOU like it. As long as YOU look in the mirror and feel great, that's what's important.