jkalovesskeletons asked: I sent you an ask before, and I just wanted to clarify that at this point I find thisisnotgoth ridiculously annoying. However, I do enjoy her personal blog. I think the humorous intent of thisisnotgoth kinda gets lost in the narrormindedness and obsessiveness. But anyway, what is your opinion of "nugoth"? Also whats your favorite band? c:
Okay, I’ll answer the short, easy one first. My favourite band is Type O Negative, and has been since 1994. =)
Now, here’s the big long answer, so bear with me (and aidanapocalypse, you sent me a question as well, so I’m kind of going to address both of them at once).
Believe it or not, even though I’m closing in on 41, I still vividly remember what it’s like to be a teenager; I don’t have kids of my own, but I have a very good memory and I’m still about 22 in my head. I remember how IMPORTANT it was that people understood that the image I had chosen for myself was conveyed correctly and wasn’t tainted or sullied in any way. So I do understand where “thisisnot” is coming from in that sense, and in a way we were more fortunate—nobody wanted to mess around with the goth subculture at that point. If you were in it, you were there because you wanted to be, not because it was marketable or “cool”. So, I do get it.
But that right there is the crux of the matter, and why I think so many people are struggling to maintain what they think is “pure”. I’ll explain.
To start, I’ll answer your question about “nugoth”. I don’t think this is actually goth, and I’ll tell you why—nugoth is simply a fashion trend. And here’s where people like “thisisnot” get confused and caught up in semantics.
Yes, the goth subgenre started with the music—but the music was, at its moment of inception, inexorably linked with the look and aesthetic. Because the people that started the music movement—Siouxsie, Peter Murphy, Dave Vanian, Roz Williams, and yes—Andrew Eldritch, all his howling protests aside (just to name a few)—brought with their music a look and aesthetic that was immediately married to the sound.
And as soon as they did, the fans and other musicians began to expand on that idea. As I mentioned in my last answer to a question, most of the things I’ve posted about here were already in the scene when I entered it in the mid- to late-80’s. The black clothing, the velvet, the black lipstick, the love of horror and horror movies, the Victorian-era things, the Romantics (not the band), bats, ravens, candles, clove cigarettes, cemeteries, the macabre, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
See, the thing is, most people who became part of the goth scene already loved these things on their own—they found the music later. It was a revelation—music that expressed the darker things they loved, and embraced it. You can’t be born into the world knowing about goth music, but you can be born into the world loving all those things. So you find goth music, and you come home, in a sense.
Or, if you don’t necessarily already have a love for those things, but you discover goth music and love it, some of that stuff creeps in (no pun intended). Because if there’s something in goth music that speaks to you, then there’s something in you that’s attracted to those things, at least on a basic level. Now, I’m not saying you HAVE to love those things, but it’s usually a natural progression.
So what “thisisnot” is missing is the fact that these trappings weren’t added on by people who were poseurs or something—the root of them was always there, and they were naturally added on (some of them very quickly) as the scene grew.
Now, as I said earlier, if you were a goth up until about the mid-90’s or so, it’s because you wanted to be. It’s because it was part and parcel of who you were. It took dedication to seek out and find that music, because it wasn’t played on the radio (with a few notable exceptions, like WFNX in Boston, or college radio stations, or “120 Minutes” on MTV). And finding clothes also took some doing—pre-internet, you had to either live in or near a city that had a shop that sold gothic clothing, or you had to shop at Ren Faires, or send away through the snail mail for catalogues (all of which I did).
We were very much of a “tribe” mentality at that point, and we could identify each other by our paint—white face makeup, black lipstick, hairsprayed crimped hair, black velvet clothes, combat boots, the music we listened to, etc. Going out to a goth club or a goth night was like coming home.
Hot Topic happened.
At first, we were thrilled. A store in the mall that sold goth clothes! I could shop for Sanctuary clothing whenever I wanted! I didn’t have to horde black lipstick and nail polish at Halloween and hoped it lasted the entire year until next October! It was great.
Until we realised that if *we* could buy goth clothes—so could everybody else.
Suddenly, people who had never walked the walk could talk the talk. And people who were not goths were dressing like them. Suddenly, goth became a fashion trend.
And that’s where we find ourselves today, and why people find the need to make tumblr blogs like “thisisnotgoth”. Because the goth subgenre is no longer just that—it’s also become a fashion trend. Before, we were safe in our black tower; we didn’t mix with other people, and other people (with the occasional exception of a high fashion magazine trying to do an “edgy” shoot) didn’t mix with us. But now our look is being appropriated—but it’s just the look, without any of the history or the aesthetics. And that makes people upset, uncomfortable and mad.
And I can understand that. Before, when I was younger, goths were misunderstood as “satanists”. Then the emo kids came along, and we got confused with them (and if anybody’s wondering, the two are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, but that’s another post). And now, with this “nugoth” trend, it’s doing it all over again, but it’s worse because they’ve even stolen our name.
But the danger in trying to maintain the essence of something is that in doing so, you run the risk of shutting out new thoughts and ideas and allowing the thing itself to stagnate, and I think that’s why I was so upset with “thisisnot”—especially when I realised how young they were. If the goth community is going to grow, we need to be open to the younger generation, to new ideas, styles, and change.
As I said in my last post—do we need to accept everything willy-nilly? No, of course not. I think “nugoth” is simply a fad that non-goth people are trying on and will eventually fade away once the next big thing comes along. But if somebody likes to listen to goth music and wears pink skull barrettes while they’re doing it? Hell, more power to them—Siouxsie had a pink album cover, lest we forget.
So, to end this long-winded answer. Yes, goth did start with the music—but it immediately became something much, much bigger. And that thing immediately began growing and changing. And as members of the goth community, it’s important for us to grow and change along with it, while keeping the original spirit of goth undead at the center of it.