I use the term babybat. (You've probably noticed.) But it seems to divide a lot of opinion. A lot of people use it to describe themselves; some use it as an affectionate term for their former selves or for others going through a similar stage. You can even buy 'Babybat' T-shirts online. But many people hate it, finding it offensive or derogatory.
A lot of people, myself included, have defended their usage of the term by saying it's cute. But, hold up. Do we find the term cute because babies are cute and bats are cute? OK, great. But isn't calling someone a 'baby' kind of, well, offensive?
Wonderful YouTuber TheAlternativeDrug says, "Puppies are cute, fluffy toys are cute. The term 'babybat' is NOT cute. It's belittling and condescending, causing those younger to feel intimidated within the subculture. And Eldergoth is just ridiculous. I don't call rappers who are older vintage MC'ers or senior Rap artists."
There are young people who are happy to use the term 'babybat' for themselves, but it has occured to me that perhaps this isn't ideal. I mean, if I'm learning about something new I don't hold up a sign saying, "Hey, I'm basically clueless." I'm not clueless, I'm learning. As such, self-termed babybats often seem to use the term because they don't feel 'worthy' of describing themselves as Goths. But... you're just new. You're not stupid. Or unworthy.
Somebody else calling you a patronising name is one thing, because you can tell them where to stick it. But feeling as though you should call yourself by the patronising name because you're not good enough, because you don't know enough, because you can't perfectly apply liquid eyeliner...? That IS unfair. (I see it all now... o.O)
In fairness, many who use the term don't mean it at all in a derogatory way. I certainly never have. But it's not so much the term itself as what it says about the subculture as a whole - you must have this many stamps on your Goth Card before you 'earn the right' to call yourself a Goth?!
If you use the term, why? If you like it and feel like it describes you because you like the term, not because you're waiting to upgrade to Proper Goth (TM) status, then fine, fair enough. But if you find yourself thinking that you apply the term to yourself because:
- You're not old enough/knowledgeable enough/stylish enough to be a Real Goff
- You saw it online/all the cool kids are doing it
As for 'eldergoth'. I'm not sure quite how many of us see the term as somehow a term of praise, as though being older should make someone 'better'. I've always seen it as two words smooshed together, like 'romantigoth': 'elder.' 'Goth.' A Goth who is older. NOT someone infinitely more knowledgeable and deserving of worshipful respect. If it's being read that way, I'd cheerfully discontinue using it.
I'm not sure if other subcultures have this pervasive kind of notion that 'some of us are sooo much better than others' (they probably do) and whether or not they have special words for it (again, they probably do), but since a lot of us around here aren't even comfortable using the 'Goth' label for ourselves, I'd suggest we also stop using tags which could essentially be used to mean 'Better Goth' and 'Worse Goth'. Why keep making things even more complicated?
(Hey! This is my 666th post! ;-D)