A Study of Gothic Subculture

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Updated 3-12-2009
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Goth Stereotype

Like any stereotype, the goth stereotype is a one dimensional exaggeration and people are usually not so one dimensional. Goths have a variety of interests, tastes and backgrounds. I personally don't know anyone who fits the stereotype exactly, but I do know a few who come close. Mostly, the stereotypes are something to make fun of. It helps us look at ourselves and laugh, to be able to have a sense of humor about the whole thing.

Three words best sum up the what the stereotypical Goth is all about: death, pretension, and angst. The stereotypical Goth always wears black clothing, or every now and again white -- never any other color. They have dyed black hair, black nails, white face makeup, black eye makeup and black lipstick -- maybe some designs drawn at the edge of the eyes in black eyeliner. (This goes for guys and girls.) The stereotypical Goth nowadays likes to dress up like a vampire or act like one. They like blood, death, coffins, bats, skulls, spider webs and anything spooky. Take a look at common culture under fashion to get more of an idea of the kind of things they might wear. They will never wear jeans and a T-shirt, and they never go out in public without their makeup on. Stereotypical goths look just like all the other stereotypical Goths.

The stereotypical Goth is excessively vain, and when he/she goes out dancing, will stare at him/herself in the mirror. They spend hours doing their makeup. Every ten minutes, they check to see if it is smudged. They also have a persecution complex. They insult and judge baby bats who are not Goth enough, but they get very upset and feel so tormented when some normal person makes the "Halloween isn't until October, you freak" comment. The stereotypical Goth never smiles and always broods. They write bad cheesy poems about angst or vampires or tragedy. He/she is not just an artist, but an arteest (super pretentious bad artist trying to be an intellectual). They drink coffee, avoid sunlight, and only smoke clove cigarettes. They will not listen to anything other than gothic music. They hang out at graveyards for kicks or sit around at coffee shops all day. Their job, if they have one, will probably be either fast food or telemarketing. They take themselves and life very seriously and blow everything way out of proportion. They always act over-dramatic. They spend a lot of time watching The Crow and reading Interview with the Vampire again and again.

The best humorous representation of the Goth stereotype is done by Jhonen Vasquez with a character he draws named Anne Gwish. She appears a few times in his various "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac" comics. A classic line of hers is, "My life is a dark pit of darkness."

Black no. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All): This is a song by the band Type O Negative. The band really sounds more toward heavy metal in their music, although they do sing about some "gothic" themes. This song is a great description of a stereotypical Goth. It's also a good example of the fact that Goths who have a sense of humor about themselves can laugh at this.

She's in love with herself
She likes the dark
On her milk white neck
The Devil's mark

It's all Hallows Eve
The moon is full
Will she trick or treat?
I bet she will

She's got a date at midnight
With Nosferatu
Oh baby, Lilly Munster
Ain't got nothing on you

Well when I called her evil,
She just laughed,
And cast that spell on me
Boo Bitch Craft.

Yeah you wanna go out 'cause it's raining and blowing.
You can't go out 'cause your roots are showing.
Dye em black. Dye em black
Black No. 1
She dyes em black, black No. 1

Little wolf skin boots
And clove cigarettes
An erotic funeral
For which she's dressed
Her perfume smells like
Burning leaves
Everyday is Halloween

Loving you was like loving the dead

Instant Club Hit (You'll Dance to Anything): A song by the punk band Dead Milkmen that came out in 1987.

She'll dance to anything.
You'll dance to anything.

Okay, look at you,
Don't you look like Siouxsie Sioux.
How long did it take to get that way?
What a terrible waste of energy.
You wear black clothes, say you're poetic.
The sad truth is you're just pathetic.
Get into the groove, get out of my way.
I came here to drink, not to get laid.
So why don't you just go on home.
If you want to moan, you'll have to moan alone.

You'll dance to anything...
You'll dance to anything...

Don't try to tell me that you're an intellectual
Cause you're just another boring bisexual.
("I met Andy Warhol at a really chic party")
Blow it out your hair cause you work at Hardees.
80 pounds of make up on your art school skin.
80 points of I.Q. located within.
Know what you are? You're a bunch of ...
Artfags! Artfags!
Choke on this you dance-a-teria types!

You'll dance to anything by the Communards.
You'll dance to anything by Book of Love.
You'll dance to anything by The Smiths.
You'll dance to anything by De-peche Mode.
You'll dance to anything by Public Image Limited.
You'll dance to anything by Naked Truth.
You'll dance to anything by any bunch of stupid Europeans who come over here with their big hairdos bent on taking OUR money instead of giving your cash, where it belongs, to a decent American artist like myself!

You'll dance to anything!