Saturday, 15 September 2012


I read Bored_Homeschooler's most recent post here with some interest; most particularly their first point about using terms like 'spooky' and 'morbid' to describe Goth culture, which Homeschooler finds irritating. Whilst I personally find some enjoyment in cutesier terms like 'spooky' (what? you noticed?) I am well aware that not everyone does so I can understand this point of view.

(A note: I'm going to talk mostly about the term 'spooky' in this post since I overuse it terribly, but I checked the definition of 'morbid' as I wasn't sure why some Goths may object to its use. Turns out that whilst I had been thinking being 'morbid' - a descriptive term I tend not to use that much anyway - meant something along the lines of being interested in dark, gloomy or odd things and particularly those related to death and the macabre, the actual definition runs something like this (from Google): "1. Characterized by or appealing to an abnormal and unhealthy interest in disturbing and unpleasant subjects, esp. death and disease. 2. Of the nature of or indicative of disease. Synonyms: unhealthy - diseased - unsound - ill - sickly." I think that most Goths, when using the term, are not actually attempting to indicate that they are abnormally interested in disease, or worse, unhealthy. :-S Something to bear in mind, perhaps?)

Anyway. Bored_Homeschooler spake thus on the use of the word 'spooky': "This really bugs me. I'm used to hearing those words (in reference to Goth culture) being spouted out of 12 year olds, but it is a bit odd to hear a full grown adult using such terminology." As the most common criticism of this blog is that I scatter terms like 'spooky', 'spookycute' and 'ooky-spooky' around like confetti, I felt a tiny bit embarrassed (I even have it in my blog header; I have actually been searching for a more appropriate word. 'Goth' is not quite accurate, 'dark' and 'macabre' don't quite fit the bill either - any thoughts?) and thought I would clarify a few points about what I mean when I use the word.

'Spooky' is not synonymous with 'Goth'
It's an overly cutesy way of describing certain facets and emblems of dark culture that I happen to personally hold affection for. Bauhaus is Goth; an overwhelming fondness for Halloween decor and cartoon bats is spooky (or what I think of as spooky, anyway).

Kid's Set-Babybat

Whilst the two may go hand in hand for some people (most likely the kind of people who also use words like 'darkling' *ahem*), for most they are separate things. You can, for example, be 'spooky' (or a spooky person, which I believe is one of my most-used terms) without being Goth, and you can definitely be a Goth and turn your nose up at all things 'spooky'. Which is why, despite the fact I use the term an awful lot, I do refrain from applying it to Goth culture itself; most people I know who consider themselves bona-fide, back-in-the-day Proper Goths would not be delighted to be referred to as 'spooky'. XP

Also, this probably goes without saying but terms like 'spooky' are not supposed to be used in a serious manner. Even I would give a wide berth to anyone who introduced themselves with, "I'm Bob and I'm ooky-spooky." It is intended to be tongue-in-cheek; 'ooky-spooky' in particular poking gentle-but-affectionate fun at those of us who have bat-print PJs (again, ahem) and really do utter phrases like 'every day is Halloween', e.g. those who are all-cutesey-goth, all-the-time.

Yes, I like the term, and yes, I feel it neatly sums up some of my interests in a certain bracket, but I will try not to use it quite so much if people are finding it a bit too twee.

'Spookycute is not a legitimate style of anything'
This is not really related to Bored_Homeschooler's post but I couldn't resist bringing it up; it's a comment I got on a post a few months ago when I described my preferred style as 'spookycute'. It's not my word, I found it on the web somewhere (probably Gothic Charm School) and I liked it. I like to think it sums up my love of pink, candy stripes, tiny hats and Halloween motifs in one simple, more-sickly-sweet-than-Count-Chocula label - although, like 'spooky', it's not the kind of term everyone will appreciate (I see you rolling your eyes, OddGhoulOut ;-)). I reiterate: I like overly cute things but it's not a 'Goth' trait and it's not for everyone. I apologise to those of you who would prefer to see terms like 'babybat' banished to the back of beyond.

But, I would like to point out that I am not overly concerned about whether or not spookycute (or anything for that matter) is a 'legitimate' style. It's a word that I found (and still find) amusing and somewhat apropos; I'm not proposing that we all run away together and create a 'spookycute subculture of darklings'. I am really not worried about being a legitimate anything, or whether anyone else thinks a style is legitimate.

So, what do you lovely people think? Do you use the term 'spooky'? Is it time for this blog to go on a 'spooky' diet? XD


Nightroad said...

About the header, how about 'creepy' instead of 'spooky'? Probably it's too similar.. :D

I don't think you use 'spooky' too often, it would be annoying if you used smthing 'like' or 'so' or 'omg' 'lol' ;D

SaryWalrus said...

I like the word spooky and don't think it is at all as patronising as Babybat. My cat's name is Spooky, actually.

It's quite funny when you walk into the vets and she immediately looks at you and says "You're Spooky's owner? She's black, isn't she?" xD

Krystal / The Zombified said...

Well... I like it spooky! ;)
"Spooky" means the same things to me as it does you, and I use "spooky" to describe my self and my style more than anything else. To me, it's a darkly cute sort of thing that takes a lot of inspiration from Halloween (and horror, maybe... these are *my* biggest inspirations, at least), that doesn't take itself too seriously and has absolutely no fear of being too cheesy. I relish the cheese! Omnomnom!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with spooky! I don't see the reason quoted (aka immature) as a good reason. I think part of being mature is not always to take yourself too serious :) especially when it comes to fashion/music. What's next, no more knee socks because it is immature? Quatsch.
If spooky is the word that best describes something, whether it be an item, person or feeling, use this term!
Alternative culture is for a great deal self-expression right. So why let someone else's opinion on something so trivial hold us back.
A disclaimer: English is not my mother tongue, so for me 'spooky' might hold different connotations than for a native speaker.

xToxicTears said...

Amy, don't you dare stop using the word spooky!^_^ You certainly shouldn't be embarrassed for using it, as you say, its all in good fun and most people realise that.:3 I personally think its adorable and works very well for some things, so keep doing your thing.;)

AsylumAlice said...

I like the term "spooky" and its never annoyed me that you seem to as well :D. It's strange to see how much people take to labels, even when someone isn't trying to apply one to them! Does that make sense...? :P

Autopsy Amy said...

I enjoy the fact that you use the word spooky! And spookycute may have become my favorite *quietly giggling in an oh-so-gothic manner* word. By all means, keep using them, to me they help define your writing style and online 'voice.'

Mira said...

First "goth" and now "spooky"- it looks like people will complain no matter what word you use! Say what you feel best describes yourself and your blog content, and don't worry about them. (And spookycute is a perfectly valid descriptor.)

Julietslace said...

I find "spookycute" an interesting and obviously cute term, when people use terms that aren't really official (like romantic Goth) I think it's more personal. You're right, who cares if it's not ~legit~

Your style bubs, describe it how you want.

linnea-maria said...

Oh I think spooky is a nice designation on some goths or odd people. I use a swedish word for strange/weird for myself (don't have a good substitute for spooky). I always feel strange in a crowd, we have a lot of weird things going around in this family. Lucky we don't have lots of neighbours ;).
Unfortunately one of our neighbours died when we celebrated halloween and his relatives stood and watch me setting up a cemetary with crosses, flowers and candles that day (I was unaware). So spooky I am :)

Becky said...

Long-time lurker, first-time commenter. I love your blog! But I hate how you've been treated. It seems obvious that you've been so bullied by narrow-minded idiots on the Internet that you're afraid to stake your claim or give your opinion on ANYTHING related to the subculture! So one person doesn't like the term spooky. So what? She doesn't have to use it. It doesn't mean that a whole post is required, differentiating between what is "legitimately" Goth and what is just "spooky" (or dark, or macabre, or whatever word you've grasped at now to try and deflect the self-righteous jerk-offs who have been giving you a hard time.) Of course spooky cute is a legitimate style! It's a legitimate style because YOU, on YOUR own blog, said so! And if somebody doesn't like it...well, frankly, that person is dead inside, because spooky cute is cute as hell (literally). Please, please, don't let these twat waffles convince you that the only things deserving the title Goth are the Batcave bands, or that you are somehow less of a Goth because you dared to like something that someone, somewhere, disapproves of. I know that a lot of this is about your search for identity, and I admire your willingness to research your interests and question yourself. But please don't let the online mouth-breathers get to you. If they have enough time to go cruising around the Internet picking on strangers, then they probably aren't very interesting people anyway. You don't have to listen to them.

goth girl 10472 said...

Not at all. I agree it somewhat sums up this wonderful blog. I like "spooky" things myself. I do use the term spooky quite a bit and im not a Anyway if that makes me odd so be it.

Anonymous said...

I think SpookyCute is a wonderfully descriptive term. Who gives a hoot if it is 'legitimate' or not! In fashion and lifestyle 'legitimate' equates to 'conservative', regardless of the genre.

ThatShyGuy, an undeniably spooky guy said...

Despite the widespread dislike of the word (be it real or not), I enjoy using the term 'spooky.' I can understand that, when directed at younger Goths, it can come across as derogatory; after all, many people believe that the term ‘spooky’ implies immaturity. However, I am more inclined to believe that the term implies whimsy or playfulness, as opposed to brat-like immaturity. Contrary to outside (i.e. non-Goth) opinion, Gothiness is not about anger, suicide-inducing depression, or sociopathic behavior; rather, it is a whimsical, creative, and dynamic way of expressing abstract tastes (as dark and mysterious as they may be). I enjoy what I am and how I express myself. Furthermore, I believe that the term ‘spooky’ does fit my whimsical, playful, and, yes, dark approach to life; therefore, I consider myself ‘spooky.’ Consequentially, when I refer to others who embrace Gothiness as ‘spooky,’ it is an acknowledgement (and praise) of their courage for having expressed themselves in our peculiarly whimsical, dark manner.

akumaxkami said...

Dude, I've go the word spooky in my blog title and I'm not changing it because someone "might" be offended by seeing it and thinking I'm connecting it to Goth in some way.

And spookycute is a totally legit style description. Heck, I may even take it up!

Anonymous said...

stuff it, style is individual and if you like spookycute or spooky or whatever, then keep using it - i use all kinds of words and ideas to describe the way i dress - and maybe other people don't agree with them, but it's how i'm thinking of it in my head :)

I guess if you started to style others or write more didactic works on fashion, you'd have to think of terms that everyone can agree on and get behind, but you often use it lightly, or in reference to your own fashion aesthetics, so i think it's just fine :)))

LovleAnjel said...

Considering how many internet wars have been fought over definitions and "types" of Goth, I doubt "SpookyCute" really registers much on the radar. I think it is very apt for you (and my kitten, if you don't mind the comparison).

This is like people getting angry that an online quiz binned them as a Romantic Goth when really they think they're a Victorian Goth. It's a waste of everyone's energy to nitpick over terms like this. I bet they're also whining that Cupcake Goth isn't a real thing either.

You are SpookyCute. You like spooky things, so those words will pop up a lot. If people don't like it, they can go find another blog to read. The internet is full of them.

Side note, I finally bought an Emilie Autumn album, and it rocks. I have also learned about Die So Fluid through this sight - more music posts please!

Becci F.S said...

First, I have that doll in the picture!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, I like the term spooky. I really do treat every day like Halloween, and my ceiling is covered in toy bats.

OddGhoulOut said...

Why would I roll my eyes? I grew up on all things spooky. When I was a kid, I listened to halloween soundtracks and played in cemeteries! :D I have many spooky interests, but I don't say "spooky" all the time since it does have a sort of childish connotation.

Anonymous said...

Spooky! I love spooky! It makes me think of ghosts, and vampires, and, uh, more ghosts! Sure, there can be an overload if someone says spooky all the time, but when used in a tongue-in-cheek or lighthearted, humorous way, then...YAY! Spooky. Pardon my enthusiasm, but its late, I'm bored, and hyped up on Abney Park videos that my sister keeps showing me.

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