I wasn't sure what topic to blog about today, so I decided that the best course of action would probably be to go back to basics; big hair, a whole lotta eye make-up, and enough girl power to make that brat Emily Strange go cower in a corner... I'm talking, of course, about Siouxsie Sioux. I was originally intending to write a sort of bio post-slash-omg what an inspiration she is post, but as I began to write it I thought about this:
For a woman who remains an icon and an inspiration to so many Goth girls, Siouxsie herself has always remained ambivalent, at best, about the subculture. This used to seem slightly off to me, coming as it did from someone who described their earliest memory as "lying on the kitchen floor pretending to be dead," but now I think about it further it reminds me of Goths from the 70s and 80s who no longer use the term because they prefer not to be associated with modern mutations and interpretations of Goth and dark culture (and people who use words like 'ooky-spooky'. Ahem.).
I used to get pretty offended by older Goths who didn't want to accept Cruxshadows fans (for example) as 'real Goths'. But getting on my soap box and insisting to these people that they should let the subculture GROW and CHANGE, dammit, is not only kind of rude (especially since we then turn around and complain at the hipster Goths and the pastel Goths for appropriating the 'Goth' term and doing their own thing with it... oh, the hypocrisy *facepalm*), but pretty pointless.
Essentially, a lot of things that are dark, or creepy, or morbid, or, yeah, spooky, are not Goth, because they in no way are associated with the original roots of the Goth subculture. (As mentioned before, this is not a 'Goth' blog, despite the URL; for an explanation see here and/or here.) I'm sure that quite a few of us dark culture 'newbies' are fairly aware of what is and isn't specifically Goth, and some of us would be happier to use a more appropriate term to describe our more far-reaching collection of interests, if and when one should evolve.
In fact, Siouxsie herself said, "So of course I found that Goth tag very limiting, and rightly so, so I didn't go along with it. Why would I go along with having two arms and a leg cut off?" I love this quote because, as much as I adore many aspects of Goth culture, I am not a 'real Goth'. It's nice to be reminded that, even though some older Goths are not inclined to be accepting towards the newer generations taking inspiration and influence from their subculture without ticking every box of what a proper Goth should be, acceptance is not actually necessary to enjoy the elements of 'genuine' Goth culture - the fashion, or the music - which are of interest.
In other words, if you find the rigidities of the strict definition of Goth culture limiting, there is no reason why you have to use the Goth label for your interests and style. As a form of social shorthand it may stick (no matter what I may listen to or whether or not I backcomb my hair, my preference for black clothing does lead to me being referred to as 'that Goth girl') but that doesn't mean it actually defines the majority of your interests accurately.
For further thoughts on the subject, there is a wonderful post on Domesticated ("The new influences do not dilute the subculture, they prevent ideological inbreeding - imagine Goth like a group of wild animal; if it stayed within its own gene-pool it would become inbred and sickly rather than reinforced, but if it mingles and breeds with compatible groups, it grows stronger."), or for a variety of views I found a *gulp* 'So what is Goth?' thread, here ("I've always wondered what those of us who do like horror, spooky things, dark fashion, surrounding ourselves with trappings of the dead, but who do not listen to goth music should call ourselves. Such a term does not exist, as far as we know. In fact, the closest thing that fits is, indeed, "goth", but we're missing the music component. Any (serious) suggestions as to what we could call ourselves, then? If all that separates us is a musical genre, is there really that big of a difference after all?" "Do you really need to be called anything? If someone asks if you are a goth, say no. If they ask what you are, you are a human being. Or a Toaster, or a microbe. The "label" isn't vastly important as such, it simply makes things easier for other people when they wonder "what" you are.")