Why Don’t Films Get Goth Right?

Do you know what’s sad as hell? The fact the screenwriters, and directors, still almost never correctly portray Goths. Most of the time the are aggressive teen girls who have attitude problems and look like they shop at Hot Topic. Here is a list of the worst offenders.

We are the weirdos! No, no you aren't.

We are the weirdos! No, no you aren’t.

A lot of those who claim to have been Goth as teenagers go on and on about how they loved The Craft and how they modeled themselves on the character Nancy. Who is Nancy? An aggressive teen Goth girl who looks like she got her clothes from Hot Topic and has an attitude problem. Absolutely no surprise there, right folks? Of course she is rather evil as well and goes all power-hungry towards the end of the film, which makes her totally insane. Goth chicks all practice Wicca and are secretly insane and are just waiting for the right moment to come before releasing their inner insane bitch. This was made right after the Columbine massacre so the filmmakers perpetuated the angsty Goth model. A friend and I went to see it and during the part where Nancy declares that her and her friends are weirdos my friend shouted really loud ‘I am the weirdo!’. That will always crack me up!

A gaggle of Goths in Satan's School For Girls.

A gaggle of Goths in Satan’s School For Girls.

I am watching the remake of Satan’s School For Girls while writing this and it’s what gave me the idea for this article. Thanks! Well, this little tale has a whole group of Goth girls supposedly practicing Satanism, when in fact they are practicing Wicca. Goths always have to choose between the two, and it’s so difficult isn’t it? There are times I wake up in the morning and can’t decide! All of the Goth chicks in this look like walking advertisements for Hot Topic circa late 1990’s. They all have normal colored hair and really bad accessories. They all just need some hugs and wardrobe advice, from somebody who is actually in the damn subculture!

My life is a big dark room.

My life is a big dark room.

Notice how this film was made right around the same time as the two above? This became a trend! This time it’s super angsty Kim who is psychic! Not only does she smoke cigarettes, or maybe they are cloves, she has an attitude problem. I’m beginning to get all grumpy repeating that, but I didn’t write these films so it’s not my fault. Just like Nancy she goes kind of nuts in the end and realizes that she helped kill some people. Maybe all Goths have repressed memories of this and we are all inherently evil! Kim has a collar on, but she doesn’t look quite as bad as the characters in the other films do. I like how Kin is all hanging about in a cemetery when we first meet her, because Goths love cemeteries, right guys! Okay, yeah a few of us do!

Oh dear.

Oh dear.

The Bride Of Chucky featured a Goth named Damien. Yes, Damien. He’s a typical sleazy Goth guy with really awful tattoos and a bad sense of fashion. Also, he’s wearing those damn metal finger point thingies that just scream poseur to me. If you like them that’s your problem. All Goths must be into kinky sex because they dress in all black and are into Satanism and the occult. Do you see a pattern there? Oh, and once again, this was made during the same period as all of the other films. I think studio execs, and writers, thought that Goths were dark and spooky during that time due to the whole Marilyn Manson is scary shitfest and decided that adding them to horror films would be a good fit. It really wasn’t, it was like putting a square peg into a round hole.

Do you know why all of these films got it wrong, or perpetuated the Goth stereotypes? Because these writers, costumers and directors were all lazy as hell. Seriously, I think most of them just turned on Rikki Lake at the time and pattered their Goth character(s) on teens who proclaimed their love for Marilyn Manson by being annoying twats. A sign of a good film is when the filmmakers put an effort into their final product. I’m not saying that these films aren’t entertaining, because they are, but they just don’t get Goth right.

Ghetto Gothic Is Neither Gothic Or Original, So Get Over It.

This woman is stealing the ghetto gothic look! Oh noes!

This woman is stealing the ghetto gothic look! Oh noes!

Just this morning I read this stupid article on Vice about how black subcultures, particularly Ghetto Gothic, are being appropriated from the people who created it. Ghetto Gothic is spelled an entirely different way than the form I’m using here, however the other version hurts my eyes so I’m being a bit proper about things.

Anyway! A DJ in New York who goes by the name of Venus X claims to have started the Ghetto Gothic subculture and went on a rant a few months ago about how Rhianna was stealing the look she invented without giving her any credit. A look that some random DJ invented? What? Wait a second, our friend didn’t invent dressing in black, in fact she copied another subculture and spawned some hybrid creature that shouldn’t exist. Venus X claims that Ghetto Gothic is all about art and isn’t about how expensive the clothes are. Yeah, sure, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell to you! Hip hop and rap have only been about just the image for a very long time. Venus X actually threatened to close her club night after all of this happened because she was so angry about it. Maybe she is Goth after all, because I’ve seen TONS of Goth DJ’s do this over the years. Drama llamas.

It’s obvious that this Venus X chick thinks that the Goth subculture is only about dressing in black, that dressing in black automatically makes you dark and mysterious. Venus X comes across as dark and mysterious as an egg salad sandwich. I find it the height of comedy that somebody complains about a celebrity stealing ‘their’ look when they themselves stole the look from somebody else. What next, is she going to say that nuns are stealing her look? People have been dressing in black for ages, besides those who are of the Gothic persuasion, so who the heck is she to get all up in arms about all this?

So, what it comes down to is a mostly white subculture being borrowed by a mostly black subculture, then that black subculture getting mad at a black woman for stealing the look. I couldn’t make up this teenage drama even if I tried! If a person is only dressing in black, and doesn’t listen to Goth subculture based music then I don’t consider them to be a Goth. End of story.

No, You Can’t Just Magically Become Goth

Oh hell no.

Oh hell no.

I quite honestly don’t care if I come across as an elitist bitch by writing this post. This is a subject that has always bothered me and one in which probably wouldn’t be around without the help of two things: Marilyn Manson and the internet.

Are you old enough to remember when Marilyn Manson reared his ugly head? I sure am, and let me tell you it was a truly awful thing to behold. The man, and his music, aren’t Goth but by golly did his little teenage fans think they were! Now, why was this? It was because the mainstream press labeled him Goth so his followers thought that they were Goth by association. Of course they weren’t, they were just idiots trying to piss off their parents and shock people. They would go on daytime talk shows, especially Jenny Jones and Rikki Lake, and brag about how Goth they were and how much they loved Marilyn Manson. You can’t make this shit up.

These misinformed and annoying kids thought that they could just automatically become Goth by going to Hot Topic and buying some overpriced and cheap looking outfits. Their attitude was the same as before they were Goth, they were just brats playing at being spooky. Being spooky, to them, meant being rude to others and acting like a twat. What they failed to understand is the being Goth is about much more than dressing in black and wearing bad make-up, rather it’s about being drawn to things that have a darker feel. Also, it’s quite heavily about the music, which these teens had no idea about.

I have a story that relates to all of this. One time I was walking around a toy store wearing a Christian Death shirt and it was around 1997. A teen comes up to me and asks me if Christian Death are like Marilyn Manson. I tell him no then move on. He then proceeds to keep following me about the store going on and on about Marilyn Manson. I think I only escaped because I went to the checkout to buy something.

The internet has done nothing to help all of this. Yes, there is some really good information out there concerning the subculture, but it is just as filled with misinformed people spouting off what they think Goth really is about. This is usually done by teens who think they know it all when in fact they, of course, don’t. Giving people advice on how to dress Goth, and not talking about the music aspect or anything else, does not help things at all. There are tons of kids out there who still think that being Goth is all about the image, and that in order to be Goth they have to fit into a neat little box that has already been thought out for them.

When a teen enters the modern Goth subculture they don’t have to be intelligent. They can look up the ‘subtypes’ of Goth and pick out which one they want to be. They feel like they have to stay in their little box and not stray out of it or they won’t be considered a romantic, cyber, Victorian, etc…Goth. It’s ridiculous! Gone is all creativity and being your own person. They don’t develop their own style or personality, instead they become a walking stereotype, which is just plain stupid. Also, try holding an intelligent conversation with these empty vessels. You can’t, it’s impossible!

If you don’t like Goth music or things with a darker edge then don’t call yourself Goth or ‘become’ Goth. Just be yourself instead of dressing in a costume.

Why Do Goth Proms Exist?

Why???

Why???

One aspect of the modern Goth subculture that I totally do not understand is the concept of having a ‘Goth Prom’. Seriously, I just don’t get it at all. This is a phenomenon that does not go back to the 1980’s and is just plain ridiculous.

I never went to my junior prom or my senior prom. The main two reasons being that I didn’t like most of the people in my graduating class and that I didn’t want my mother to have to waste money on an event that I knew I would be miserable at. Even at that age I was very aware of the fact that a school prom is basically nothing more than a popularity contest. That’s all it is folks, if you think it has any deeper meaning than that I have a bridge to sell you.

There had to have been one person that first came up with the entire of holding a ‘Goth Prom’, and whomever that is should be put into a corner and made to wear a dunces cap. Why the hell would you essentially want to attend an event that is based upon a popularity contest? So what if it has Goth music and everybody is dressed in black, it’s the same damn thing. So, you didn’t go to your school’s prom and want a replacement? The problem isn’t the school prom, the problem is the fact that you think that you have to go to a prom to fulfill some sort of mysterious social contract.

If you want to look special for just one night then buy a really pretty dress and wear it to a Goth club night. It’s as simple as that! You don’t need a ‘special’ night to look pretty. What the heck do you normally wear to clubs, a potato sack with a drawing of Morticia Addams on it? Do you also want to go out with your date to a special dinner? Then go to dinner and a regular Goth club night while all dressed up. Do I really have to explain this? Really?

Tell me, what is the difference between regular culture and the Goth subculture at this point? Well, absolutely nothing as far as I can tell and that makes me a bit sad. Instead of being a group of social outcasts that didn’t really care about social constructs like a prom you now have a bunch of people running around wanting the subculture to be exactly the same as ‘normal’ society. The only difference being people dressing in black and dancing funny. It’s conforming to a societal standard while pretending you’re different from society. Mr. Spock is not amused!

Why I Dislike Steampunk

I can't even...

I can’t even…

Now, I know that the title of my rant will be a bit controversial to the people who actually enjoy steampunk. Oh well, it’s my opinion and my blog. I can’t be expected to find everything aesthetically pleasing just because others want to shove it down my throat. That’s what it feels like; a bunch of people online trying to put steampunk down my throat and telling me that it’s okay even though it tastes like crap.

The number one thing that bothers me is the fact that it’s just yet another sub-genre of the Goth subculture. Don’t argue with me on the fact because it is. If the majority of the people participating in it listen to Goth music, go to the clubs and act like it’s a secret cabal then yes it falls under that umbrella. When the modern incarnation of steampunk reared its ugly head the uber-goobers from the Goth subculture slid right on over and started dressing in brown.

I’ll admit it, I’ve been an uber-goober in the past. However, I’ve grown up and moved on. The uber-goobers in the steampunk ‘culture’ are out in force. I always see people online telling others how their clothes aren’t good enough, or that they shouldn’t be gluing gears onto things. Maybe they don’t realize that not everybody has a good paying job, or enough time on their hands, to put such a huge effort into how they look. Steampunk, after all, is mainly image based. People can go on and on about the literature end of things, but do you honestly think the a lot of people into it have actually cracked open some Jules Verne books?

Almost ten years ago I had an online confrontation with the lead singer of Abney Park. I wish I would have screen saved the conversation because it was very enlightening. He told me that the reason why the band turned steampunk was to cash in early on the trend. I hope that shot down some of you dirigibles! That’s what it is: a trend. It is an ‘underground’ part of the Goth subculture that people have been getting in on to make some cash. By becoming steampunk people are just trying to latch onto what they think is the next big in alternative culture. It’s the same that happened when a bunch of Goths leapt over to the rave scene in the 90’s. Like the rave scene steampunk has a limited shelf life before it becomes totally mainstreamed. Actually, I’ve seen people claim that it is already mainstreamed. The steampunk jumpers will just hop straight back into the goth subculture from whence they came. Whatever genre of Goth that they were into before will be their home to go back to. Instead of bringing back glow-sticks and repetitive music they will perhaps bring back steampunk water guns and accordions?

Then, there is the whole appeal of it. What appeal? I don’t find steam powered devices appealing, mostly because they look too damn complicated. Also, I don’t like the color brown. You can pry my black clothes from my cold dead hands! Then there are the goggles. No, just no. There are tons of photos online of steampunk chicks wearing brown leather corsets with those damn goggles perched on their heads. It’s like a steampunk machine has stamped them out. I almost forgot, there is also the colonization theme of some it that makes me very uncomfortable. Do these people realize that the only people who had it good during the Victorian age were white men? That without modern technology, and ideas, we would probably still be stuck with segregation and other really terrible things? Do you know what? Let them create a theme park that they can play in that would show the reality of what such an era of time would be like.

That felt good! No, you will not be able to change my mind.

How Not To Look Daft When You’re Old

These don't look good at any age.

These don’t look good at any age.

I mentioned in my ‘Woe Is Me’ post some of the items of clothing that I refuse to wear. When it comes down to it you don’t want to be ‘that person’. What person am I talking about? You’ll know them when you see them! For example, I went to Ozzfest one year (long story) and there was an older man, around my age, who was walking around wearing Tripp pants. You know the ones, wide legs, chains all over them. They just looked odd on somebody his age. Well, they quite frankly look odd on just about everybody but that’s not the point. Yes, you should be able to wear what you want at any age, but sometimes those choices aren’t the ‘right’ choices. Now, I’m not going to be telling you exactly what to wear, because I don’t know your personality or your exact style. If you don’t like what I have to say on the subject that’s fine, I’m an adult I can take criticism. However, don’t tell me I’m wrong just because my opinion is different from yours. Thanks in advance.

A lot of people have written about this subject but the majority of them have been younger than me. I find it odd when people younger than me try to tell me how I should dress. Yes, I’ll follow the fashion advice of some twenty year old living in a college dorm who thinks that Marilyn Manson invented the Goth subculture! That was sarcasm, by the way. If you are in your twenties, or even your thirties for that matter, just sit back and be quiet on the subject. Especially when you think that arm warmers are acceptable things to wear. I almost shuddered writing that.

You should automatically know what doesn’t and what does look good on you as you get older. Is that spiked collar that you wore twenty years ago not looking too good on you right now? There is a reason, it’s because you aren’t young any longer. Yes, it sucks that we have to get older and change the style of clothes that we wear, but it happens to each and every one of us. You aren’t all alone in the world striving for your individuality against all the odds! Did I just burst a bubble or two writing that? I certainly hope so!

About ten years ago I got rid of about 90% of my wardrobe? Why would I do such a crazy thing as that? For one I wasn’t going to clubs any longer and had nowhere to wear the clothes that I had collected over the years. Think about it, there is no point in keeping clothes when you have no place to wear them to. Yes, you can go around town wearing long net skirts and corsets, but you’d look a little over dressed. That may be fine for you, but that’s a tad too over the top for my tastes. Very, very rarely do people look good dressing like that every single day no matter where they go. I’ve never seen one in real life but I’m told they exist.

When I moved here the only items of clothing that I still had from my ubergoth past were my velvet coats, which I will NEVER get rid of no matter what. A nice velvet coat is hard to find damn it! Before I go on I would like to point out that I have gone through certain cycles of appearing ‘Goth’. Some years I care more about how I dress than others. I’m always the same on the inside but on the outside I can be a lazy wench. Lately though I have felt like dressing a bit better, hence the rebuilding of my wardrobe. Since I have been in that process for quite a few months now I have been very easily been able to pick out the things that I know will look good on me.

Things I have avoided:

SpikesĀ – Hell no. There has been a lot of clothing lately sold in shops that is mass produced that have spikes on them. At this point in history I think it’s crass to wear them.

Ripped Fishnets – If I wore them these days I would just look like a drunk woman who has fallen down some steps and ripped her tights.

CorsetsĀ – Granted I used to look damn good wearing them, but I can’t imagine going to M&S in the morning wearing one.

Mass produced ‘Goth’ clothing – I only have four items of clothing that fall into this category and since I don’t wear them with one another that’s okay. If your entire wardrobe consists of this it shows not only a lack of an imagination it also shows that you like to waste your money, because most of them look like cheaply made crap.

Where do I get my clothing? Half of my clothing comes from charity(thrift) shops and the other half comes from ‘normal’ high street shops. I always see kids online whining about how they don’t like regular shops because they aren’t ‘Goth’. Oh, get over it already. I have found some very cool pieces at New Look for very cheap. For instance I found a red, black and white plaid dress there for only 4 quid the other week. I’d much rather save some money and get something like that then spend ten times as much on something similar just because it’s a ‘Goth’ brand. The main charity shop where I live always has dark pieces of clothing there, and quite often they are of very good quality. Since some very rich people live here they will donate a skirt that original costs $300.00 and I’ll get it for five. I don’t care if it’s by a designer, but the fact that it’s sewn very well makes me happy. That means I won’t have to fix it any time soon!

Now I realize that what doesn’t work on me may work on you, or vice versa. For example, I wear horror and sci-fi t-shits sometimes. People may call that being lazy but I am a huge film nerd and can actually talk at some length about the film whose shirt I’m wearing. My husband and I don’t drive because this is Europe and you can actually walk to get to the store instead of having to drive 5 miles. Since that is the case wearing a t-shirt, jeans and boots makes a bunch more sense when we go for a long walk than wearing a long skirt and heels. Id rather be sensible that be in pain for a week.

So when it comes down to it you should automatically know what looks good on you as you reach middle age. Don’t hem and haw about it, only YOU know what looks good on you. You don’t need a twenty year old telling you how to dress and you certainly don’t need me. However, I’m really awesome,etc…

 

Woe is me!

My whole life is a dark room!

My whole life is a dark room!

I moved to the UK from the United States almost two years ago. That in itself isn’t really a huge deal, people move to different countries all of the time. However, I moved to a very, very conservative area. How conservative may you be asking? I’d say a good 95% of the teenagers here dress exactly the same. No joke, the level of conformity here is the highest out of any single place I have ever lived. When a group of teen girls walk by I quite honestly can’t tell them apart. It makes me wonder if some of these teens walking down the street look at me and wish that they could have the same freedom to dress as I do. Why don’t they? Since people tend to be wealthy here I’m guessing there is an extreme amount of peer pressure.

Over the years I have waxed and waned when it comes to my appearance. Some years I’ve looked very Victorian, others Deathrock, and still others I just wear a horror shirt and some jeans. I guess it all depends on the mood I’m in and how totally lazy I get. Right now I’m kind of a combination of everything. I figure that at the age of forty-three I can pretty much dress how I want to. I do have a list of things that I refuse to wear though:
-chains
-spikes
-black lipstick
-torn fishnets
-corsets

Now that you have some background as to how I normally dress you can imagine my surprise when people genuinely look very surprised when I’m walking down the street. As you can tell I’m not an angst filled teen wearing a ton of make-up and scowling at people. I don’t dress the way I do to impress people, I dress in clothes that make me feel comfortable. Actually I look rather corporate Goth most of the time.

Anyway! The other week I went to the local M&S with my husband and I noticed that our cashier was a teen girl that had a white streak in her hair, you know like Dave Vanian. I mentioned this to her and she told me that she like The Damned a lot! That brought a smile to my face and I told her that I thought it was cool that somebody her age liked them. Then came the shocker. She told me that she wants to copy one of my tattoos. Okay, wait a sec. I still don’t know whether to be flattered or scared over this because the arm that she pointed to has two Roman themed tattoos on it that both mean a lot to me. I spent months and months pondering whether to get them or not, so some girl I don’t know saying that she want to copy me kind of fills me with dread.

Am I becoming some sort of style icon around here? On the one hand I think that’s kind of neat, but on the other hand outright copying me isn’t original. Sure, a person can’t exactly steal somebody’s ‘Goth look’ since everything being done now has been done in the past, but living in a very enclosed area makes it very obvious if somebody does this.

Maybe I should become a guru and set up classes to brainwash all of the teens around here into becoming…just…like…me. *twitches*