Sophie, Olivia and I grouped together to look into the subculture:
Firstly, how do we, the outsiders, identify a Goth? What are the stereotypical look of a Goth? Black/ dark hair, black clothes, Corsets?
Dark eye make up, fair skin, dark lips, crosses accessories, has an obsession with death?
Black eye brows, eye liner, fancy/ weird contact lenses, again, fair skin, piercings all over black lips?
What about the stereotypes of their personality? They are always depressed. Mostly homicidal. They worship Satan. They only dress in black. They are very angry and violent. They are all vampires. Lastly, they practice witchcraft.
is it TRUE?
Before we continue judging, we should look into the origin the Goth subculture. It started in the late 1970’s/ early 1980’s in the United Kingdom, England to be exact. It was the offshoot of the Post-Punk movement.
Dated in 1979, when Bauhaus (a post-punk band) released their song “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”
The song startled fans by its mysterious and eerie sound. Although it was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek, it was taken seriously by fans and eventually bud into the gothic subculture.
Beside Bauhaus, The Damned was also one of the first generation that produced gothic music.
In their album, The Black Album, the song “I Just Can’t Be Happy Today” was said to promote Satanism, according to some people. Note the lyrics “…The priests hang on hooks. The radios on ice. The telly’s been banned. The army’s in power. The devil commands..” The word “devil”, in this case, was symbolising the people who are in power, that are controlling our every movement and thoughts. There were no Satanic message what-so-ever in this song though dark.
Next of the pioneer is Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Every culture needs and idol. As for Siouxsie, her make up, fashion etc revoutionised the gothic culture on how people dress.
What about the term “gothic”? Where does it come from? And how it was used to identify this kind? One thing for sure, the British press sure made it stick.
So, we look at the definition of “goth”. It was the German tribe who invaded late Roman empire who was regarded as “barbaric and uncultured”. Also, goth was the literature style from the late 18th/early 19th century that covered the fascination with death and the supernatural.
According to some speculations, the earliest use of the term “goth” was most likely have been by Martin Hannett, the producer of the band Joy Division. With this, the pioneers had revolutionised music and eventually branched out into many genres.
First is Gothic Rock. This is the earliest type of Goth music. As mentioned earlier, Joy Division was one the pioneers. (The image below is printed on countless amount of t-shirts though many still do not know that this is Joy Division’s ‘Unknown Pleasures’ album cover.) The main instruments used for this genre are mostly the basics like guitar, bass, drums, drum machine and synthesizer.
Next is Goth Folk. In my opinion, it is quite hard to tell it’s gothic. Goth Folk emerged from post-industrial music circles. It’s usual themes are local traditions and indigenous beliefs that are portrayed heavily through the lyrics. The instruments used are the same as Folk music, harmonica, flute, guitar, sitar, violin etc etc. Below is Patrick Wolf.
Heavy Goth is most popular in our generation with bands like Evanescence. These bands are mostly linked to metal like AC/DC and Marilyn Manson.
Dreampop or Goth Pop, on the other hand, is cute yet creepy (Sophie’s favourite). We assume it should be popular in Japan seeing that it is so closely related the Lolita Goths (will touch on that later int he post), but that is just an assumption. Below is Kerli and her music video for her song “Walking on Air”.
And there’s Steampunk. It is the least popular genre in Goth music. There isn’t a solid distinctive characteristics of this kind of music. According to and extract from last.fm Steampunk is described as “a group of bored Goths who decided to change their clothes and write songs about airships”. Ouch.
Then there’s JGoth, which in my opinion, the coolest and most different genre of Goth music yet. Originated from Japan, with it’s distinctive make up and their super glamorous attire, they stand out from all Goths. Most famous JGoth band, Dir en Grey, definitely my favourite.
Of course with the types of music genres, there will be types of people listening to them. So let’s get the stereotypes straight.
Below are a few types of Goths we picked out.
Romantic/Victorian Goths dresses like the Victorians but in black. They wear lots of outfits with a corseted waist, even on men.
Example of the type of music they listen to.
Cyber Goths and Industrial Goths are quite similar to each other. The difference is that Cyber Goths tend to wear a lot of Neon coloured clothing.
Music they listen to:
Gothic Lolita, famous in Japan. They wear doll-like dresses with lots of frills, ribbons and laces, mostly in dark shades like purple, blue, red and of course, black.
Music they listen to:
Punk Goths are basically Goths with punk fashion as you can see in the picture below.
As for Fetish Goths, they wear a lot of latex and choker. They are close related to the BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism) community.