GOTH SUBCULTURE - MUSIC, ART OR RELIGION

Kristina Paytasheva

What kind of feelings the word “Goth” bring to human mind? Bleakness, darkness, church music. But these are only primary, spontaneous associations, probably provoked by vague memories, by something that is long ago forgotten. But actually Goth is a whole tendency, which unifies music, style, and way of dressing, making-up, behavior … of life.

HISTORY OF GOTH SUBCULTURE
Goth subculture is a contemporary subculture. It originated in the United Kingdom in the early 1980s under the influence of Goth music and as a part of punk. The Goth subculture is also influenced by 19th century Gothic literature, along with horror movies. Gothic music encompasses a number of different styles, however a tendency towards a lugubrious mystical sound and outlook is observed.

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The punk clothing and hairstyles mellowed, and the core “rejection of society” attitude alone lived on in the gothic subculture. Movies like The Crow and bands like The Bauhaus helped establish the gothic image as dark, depressing, and even evil. As more and more “dark” movies came out, number of the gothic subculture expanded, and there is now a gothic community in almost every major city around the world, and quite a number of towns have their own representative contingent.

WHY DO PEOPLE BECOME GOTHS?
Marilyn MansonMost Goths become Goths because they have been spurned by “normal” society because the way they want to live their lives does not fit in with how most people are told to live theirs. This is one of the reasons most young people to turn to some subculture. Usually it starts in the puberty period, when the young man becomes aware of and kicks against the established social rules, his music taste goes from one extreme to another. The young man likes this subculture feature and starts to copy everything that he preaches. Music, make-up, way of clothing, way of behaviour, way of life.

Goths are free thinkers, people who do not accept the moral rules of society. Goths tend to listen to what you have to say, and make their own judgement. This kind of free thinking and rejection of dogma earns only rejection in today’s society.

Many Goths today are Goths for a variety of other reasons. They like the music, or the clubs are better, they have Goth friends and joined in with them, or they just like staying up late nights and Goths are the only ones awake to talk to.

GOTHIC MYTHS AND GOTHIC FACTS
The reputation of Goths is none too good among most parents and teachers. There exist some stereotypes of behaviour in the society, and if they are broken by somebody there will be a punishment. Stereotypes are almost always forced on the group of people they're applied to by people who are not within the group but are instead a critic of the group, most often due to simple lack of understanding. Here is part of the delusions and the real facts about Goths:

- with all those black clothes and all that freaky make-up, all Goths must be Satanic.

The ghoulish and morbid appearance of many Goths is derived from the way of rebellion devised by the original Goths of the XXth century, who used the look to protest what they saw as a sanitized, materialistic "always keep your chin up no matter how bad it hurts" society. Some say it was sort of mourning attire for a miserable and dying society; some say it was more a rejection of traditional ideas of beauty. Either way, it was more of a social protest than a declaration of religion. It remains so today. The Gothic subculture has no specific religious affiliation at all. There are Goths of all faiths, from Jewish to Christian, Muslim to Buddhist, from Atheist to Satanic. Many of these faiths have special sub-movements within the Gothic community, most notably the Christian Goth movement, which has its own music, value system, and community.

Goths are all fixated on death. They all want to kill themselves - or someone else.

Дамски готик начин на гримиранеThe commonly held idea of Goth is that of the maladjusted, antisocial outcast who attempts suicide on a regular basis and is incredibly proud of the scars left from previous attempts. This idea is utterly false. While some Goths are outcasts and often feel depressed or alone, the rest of the world isn't immune to these problems either. Goths are no more maladjusted, antisocial, or depressed than any other average human being. It may be more obvious in Goths because Goths tend to be more open with their negative feelings, or perhaps because more attention is paid to depressed Goths than other depressed teens because the Goths seem "odd" when compared to the accepted norm. Goths deal with the same pressures that other teens deal with - academic failures and stresses, social anxieties, family problems, etc.

They also deal with a great deal of rejection, intolerance, judgment, and prejudice, potentially creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One of the reasons why the Gothic viewpoint is so foreign and frightening to most people is because it challenges the way we traditionally think about "unpleasant" things. Goths refuse to see certain things as "beautiful" simply because they're acceptable while seeing other things as "offensive" because they're unpleasant or uncomfortable to deal with. They also describe the Gothic subculture as "a way to understand and come to terms with the darker aspects of life." Goths accept death as a natural part of life, part of the natural balance of things. This doesn't mean, however, that Goths invite death by attempting suicide or homicide - those things would upset the natural balance as much as denying death does. Instead, Goths accept and respect death for what it is - and move on.

All Goths are Worshippers of Marilyn Manson.

First and foremost, Marilyn Manson should not be taken as a representative of the Gothic subculture. Why? Because most of what he does is the antithesis of the Gothic movement. The Gothic mentality is founded on the maxim "be thyself”. Everything that Manson does is motivated by its shock value and his anticipation of society's reaction to it. Manson compromises himself in the name of image. He makes a wealthy living out of being a caricature of everything he believes parents and general society loathe and love to hate. His music, his appearance, his demeanor - everything is a slave to society's opinion. While it may be true that many Goths do indeed enjoy Marilyn Manson's music, none "worships" him and almost all Goths agree that he is not Goth - even those who are fans. It is considered as heavy metal.

Представителка на готик вампирския стилWOMAN GOTHIC FASHION
There are many subcultures within the gothic movement and there are many styles of gothic fashion, but the mainstream Goth girl look typically consists of black clothing with silver or pewter accessories. The most common gothic outfits have a morbid, dreary or romantic look. Frequently you'll see elegant dark gowns, short black shirts, corsets, veils, gloves, fishnet stockings and boots. If you're not into dresses Goth girls can also wear tight fitting trousers, boots and lots of buckles or safety pins.

Expression of personal style is the core to gothic fashion. It is very common for girls of Goth to wear spikes or piercings and to tease or spike their hair. Popular hair colors are black-blue or color streaks or black of color like blue, purple green or red. Black eyeliner is a gothic staple and worn around the eyes sometimes resembling tear drops or running makeup like Brandon Lee's character from The Crow.

The romantic Goth is a subcategory of Goths. These people are usually deep-thinkers and passionate. Often a loved one at some stage in their life, an event that has deeply affected their worldview, has hurt them. They usually do not wear black exclusively but instead favor elaborate corset gowns with lace and velvet, brocade or satin. Reminiscent of Old Victorian clothing from the 17th century the colors are black, dark blue, deep purple and blood red. Goths have a fascination with medieval, Victorian and Edwardian history, which really shows in the romantic Goths clothing styles.

Another subculture of the gothic movement is the vampire or vampiric style that exemplifies grief, mourning, despair and death. Vampires often believe human existence is without objective meaning or purpose. Vampire goth style is expressed by wearing black eye shadow, morbid pale white skin and either shroud like clothing or elaborate gowns.

Мъжки готик фешънMAN GOTHIC FASHION
Goth guys do not have standard gothic outfits or set rules for what a male Goth should look like. Gothic subculture fashion is based on expression of individuality and personal style, and goth guys draw on their inner creativity to create the gothic clothing look that conveys their unique look. However there are a few points in their clothing. The no-hair shaved head “convict” look is so last year. You'll find that most hot goths now have different hairstyles – from very short haircuts all the way to longhaired. Gothic guys have learned to express themselves. Hair dye is popular. In fact, removing black hair dye has become an industry in itself. Gothic hair is either black or multi colors. Popular Gothic hair dye includes black, pink, dark blue, deep purple, red, green and orange.

If you're looking for some example hair and clothing styles, check out the gothic and punk gallery.

GOTHIC SYMBOLS

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Gothic girls and guys alike wear both silver and pewter jewelry in the form of symbols to compliment their outfits. Some symbols are worn upside down to imply a reversal of meanings. Just because a Goth wears a cross upside down does not mean they are a Satanist. Goths wear symbols but mostly to shock people or for effect. Gothic crosses, crucifixes, runes, ankhs and pentagrams seem to be a staple for Goths as well as these symbols: daggers, silver bullets, bats, dragons, coffins, crosses, devils & demons, grim reaper, skulls and skeletons, barbs and spikes, serpents, spider webs and graveyards. I'm sure I missed a few, but this list gives you a good start.

ПентаграмаЕгипетски кръстThe pentagram is a five-pointed star, a pagan symbol of fire, earth, air, water and spirit. The pentacle is a pentagram with a circle around it. These terms are often used similarly. Some Goths may wear a pentacle to shock people or for theatrical effect. Since the pentacle, particularly an upside-down pentacle, is associated with Satanism, be aware that it can cause some strong reactions in people. Ankh - Popular in ancient Egypt, the Ankh held strong cultural significance, and is often interpreted as the key of life.

In Egyptian tomb paintings, the gods used the ankh to awaken the souls of the dead to a new life.

Gothic Crosses - the Gothic cross is usually dark Germanic. Popular in the gothic and vampire cultures.

Готик татуировкаGOTHIC TATTOOES
Gothic tattoos represent some of the most interesting and beautiful forms of tattoo art today. Gothic lifestyle is so individually unique that there are no set standards for designs. Some of the more popular designs include Gothic cross tattoos, pentagram Gothic tattoos, and the ankh gothic tattoo. Gothic tattoos also have quite different styles with old English lettering and complex designs. Most people that are unhappy with their tattoo got it under pressure on the spur of the moment. It's a good idea to shop around and talk to several Tattoo artists. It's also a very good idea to ask other people about their tattoos and where they got them done, what their experience was like, and if they were happy with the person that did it.

GOTHIC BOOTS
One of the most important part from the wardrobe of one representative of gothic subculture are the boots. Most of the models of boots are unisex, which gives a great variety of choice. It is very important to choose leather boots, made by good brand, but not boots from synthetic materials. In that way the foot will be both warm and feel comfortable. Good brands for gothic boots are: Dr. Martens, T.U.K., Demonia, Gripfast, Torrid, Inamagura, Sheffield, Ranger.

Often gothic music is mixed with other styles in Bulgaria. Actually, the gothic movement is various and only that person, who is interested seriously in music, can distinguish the different forms of gothic. Usually the Internet forums turned into debates about the different styles, but the participants in the forums don’t come to some resolution, they only carp. But people who participate in these forums have to have some knowledge in the area of music. Gothic often is mixed with symphony metal, with industrial, with heavy metal etc:

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TENDENCIES AND BANDS
Gothic is a music style, interpreting elements from classic, church music and the medieval folklore. The roots of this style lie in the late 1980s and the early 1990s of XXth century with bands like Dead Can Dance and Ataraxia. The dark, emotional and poetical texts are characteristic for this style. Of course, gothic music has its subdivisions and subtendencies:

  • Gothic folk presents interpretations of medieval folklore music. The bands of this style often perform in clean aspect traditional music from this period (Ataraxia, Lupercalia).
  • Neoclassic is contemporary classic music and his representatives are Ophelia’s Dream and Elend.
  • Gothic ambient is a style, which is characterised by slow compositions, in many cases without rythm (Dark Sanctuary, Arcana).
  • Darkwave is a style, that appeared with gothic rock and the new wave and presents gothic music with player-pianos. Clan of Xysmox, Cruxshadows are representatives of this style.
  • Gothic rock appeared in the end of ХХth century and it came from post-punk style. Along with this style the goth subculture was born. Sisters of Mercy, Clan of Xysmox, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Fields Of The Nephilim, Sex Gang Children, Christian Death, The 69 Eyes, Incubus Sukkubus are representatives of this style.
  • Gothic metal comes from black, death and doom metal interweaving gothic dark themes and romance. Within Temptation, Epica, Haggard, Tristania, Lacuna Coil, Theatre Of Tragedy, Heavenwood, Lacrimosa, Crematory, Moonspell, Darkseed are representatives.

CREATIVE
Many Goths are tender souls, who escape from the reality when they write. Their works are exceptionally touching and sincere. They concern themes like money, drugs and love. They want to change the world they live in. They don’t want to live in a world made by hypocrisy and insincerity, which exists only upon the power of money. They wish all people on earth to be good, and in gothic opinion only in that way the world will go into one level road, without wars and homicides. Their published texts are a way of rebel, they want to be heard:

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BALANCE
Most people believe that they have a right to live their own lives the way they choose and that they have a particular right to be themselves and live free of outside pressures to present themselves as something else. Goths are no different. Goths don't want society's approval, or its blessing, or even its acceptance - Goths simply seek its tolerance and the right to be who and what they are without fear of harm of mind, body, or threat of freedom.

PHOTOS:
1.Representative of gothic subculture
Photo: ©
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goth_subculture
2. Representative of gothic subculture
Photo: © http://evangelist.blog.cz/0701/gothic-make-up
3. Representative of gothic subculture
Photo: © http://evangelist.blog.cz/0701/gothic-make-up
4. Marilyn Manson
Photo: © http://www.last.fm/event/220195?setlang=en
5. Woman goth way of making-up
Photo: © http://evangelist.blog.cz/0701/gothic-make-up
6. Representative of gothic vampire style
Photo: © http://www.goth-chat.com/vampire.html
7. Man gothic fashion
Photo: © http://www.hotgothicstuff.com/gothic-guys.shtml
8. Gothic symbols
Photo: © http://www.hotgothicstuff.com/gothic-symbols.shtml
9. Pentagram
Photo: © http://www.themysticcorner.com/dbDisplayImage.asp?productid=4597&currpage=pendants.asp
10. Ankh
Photo: © http://boogierocks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=78
11. Gothic tattoo
Photo: © http://www.300million.com/newsblog.php?month=January+2007
12. Gothic boots
Photo: © http://www.alibaba.com/catalog/11533271/Steel_Gothic_Blue_Boot/showimg.html
13. Gothic boots
Photo: © http://www.gothic666.net/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=374&view=next
14. Gothic make-up
http://evangelist.blog.cz/0701/gothic-make-up

VIDEO:
1.Sisters Of Mercy – Temple Of Love
2.Bauhaus – Mask
3.Within Temptation – Memories
4.Epica – Cry For The Moon
5.Lacrimosa – My Last Goodbye
6.Crematory – In My Hands
7.Moonspell – Vampiria
8.Darkseed – The Fall


Read: 63949 times                                                  © Fashion Lifestyle Magazine, issue 3, October 2007

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   ISSUE 1: Industrial Subculture – the Mutated Child of Punk


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