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What is Goth?

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Once upon a time, there were minds so brilliant and so filled with creativity

that they had to hide behind the shadows so as not to make the sun pale with jealousy.





What images run through your mind when you think of the word goth? Do you picture someone wearing all black with ghostly skin, black lipstick, piercings, tatoos, dark heavily lined eyes, combat boots, depressed or angry and listening to music that most people have never heard of?

If this is the image that comes to mind, it is a stereotype and it is not a picture of what goth really is. Goth is so much more than music, clothes and makeup. It is being yourself, exploring your own darker side, being facinated and intrigued by the strange and unusual, letting your aesthetic side leap freely, not being bound by the rules of always being socially accepted, exploring the melancholic and calm part of your soul, and feeling a deep need to create what you love (poetry, art, stories, music).

Ten Gothic Stereotypes We All Love To Repeat:

All Goths must wear black. Color is not Goth.

Goth is a subculture based on a musical style.

All Goths listen to the same music.

All Goths are fixated on death.

All Goths drink a lot/do drugs.

Goth came from the hippie movement.

Goths don't laugh except to mock others.

Goths all have tattoos and piercings.

Goths always wear a lot of makeup.

Goth and Freak are interchangeable terms for the same culture.



How do I become Goth?

Goth is not something you can just learn. Gothic people have been born that way. Goth is just as much a part of you as your skin or eyes are. Most people do not have the genuine sense of wonder, creativity, talent, open-mindedness, and appreciation of the duality of existence, nor of themselves and their abilities that makes a person genuinely Goth. While some of these things can be learned over the course of years, most can only be emulated.



How do I know if I'm Goth?

A lot of actual Goths do not know that they are. This is unfortunately the work of stereotyping and misinformation.

If most (10 or more) of the following statements are true, it is VERY likely that you are Goth. If the first statement is false, you aren't Goth. No, not even if all 16 of the rest are true. Of course, you would be readily accepted and most welcome amongst Goths for your strength of individuality and ability to appreciate the culture in general and themselves in particular.

1) You feel the need to spend a lot of time creating things (music, art, poetry, philosophies, stories and the like)

2) Your creative efforts are often described as dark, shocking, scary, morbid or strange

3) You like museums and cultural centers

4) You understand and even enjoy Shakespeare, Shelley, Browning or some other similar work without having to read the Cliffe Notes

5) You know the difference between nihilism and existentialism, even if you don't really live by either

6) You really, truly enjoy music of many kinds

7) You are a very sensual person (aware of color, texture, sound, taste and scent)

8) You don't understand why the people around you spend so much time watching TV

9) You don't feel comfortable looking just like everyone else you know

10) You do feel comfortable just being yourself, even if no one else around is anything like you

11) You wonder "why" a lot, and come up with some interesting answers

12) You wonder "how" a lot, and often figure it out on your own

13) You don't just reject something because you don't understand it

14) You base your opinions of people on who they are and what they do rather than what they look like

15) You are not afraid of the unknown

16) You are not afraid of the dark

17) You are afraid of mediocrity



Hopefully some of this has made an impact on you. Maybe you are now interested in Goth as a culture. Who knows, you might even realize that *you* are Goth...or that the kids who have been giving you a hard time because you can't recite every album produced by Christian Death before Valor took over aren't anything but trendies.



Please Continue: More About Goth


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