First of all, lets dive into what a subculture is exactly. Well, subcultures are norms different from the majority, and are managed by a social group within a wider society. Each Individual subculture has its own unique set of characteristics making it distinguishable from the other subcultures, but together, they still operate as a whole striving for the same overall goals. Now that the definition of what it is to be a subculture has been covered, a particularly type of subculture is going to be discussed. An example of a subculture is a Goth.
Now what is a Goth subculture? Well, the modern day Goths began as a subculture in the early 1980s in the United Kingdom, they came out of the punk rock subculture itself. In the late 1970s there was the punk rock movement; which is a very edgy anti-establishment type of rock. One of the punk rock bands was called Bauhaus, the leader of the group was Peter Murphy. In the Goth subculture Peter Murphy is the godfather of the Goths. When a person is talking about the Goth subculture it really comes down to appreciating the beauty in darkness.
There are a variety of different types of Goths, with different beliefs and religion. These Goths for the majority of the time dress the same, however, there are some distinct differences to their style preference. Not all Goths wear black nor have the same taste in music or bands. They are not in cults nor worship Satan. Goths can be found all over the world and come from many different ethnicities. In this paper I will discuss what it is to be Goth, the different types of Goth groups, and the beliefs and religion aspect of it.
Many can classify Goths and portray them as negative and anti social individuals, but in fact they’re quite the opposite. As mentioned, Goths ultimate obsession is finding the beauty in things others would consider dark. “They love all that is dark and mysterious. That doesn’t mean Goths are evil, it just means they have a different perspective to many. And it also doesn’t mean Goths are unkind, violent or lacking in humor, in fact quite the opposite is true. Goths love to laugh but their humor is more of the black comedy sort.
They aren’t sad because they like dark things – dark things make them happy and inspire them. Goths are often intelligent, romantic and artistic realists. Being Goth is not about how one dresses” (whatisgoth. com) Image retrieved from https://artsandsciences. colorado. edu/magazine/2009/03/goth-and-christian-intimacy-talk/ Usually Goths do not associate with anyone outside of their group: It very easy to distinguish someone who is Goth among others. When looking into the Functionalist aspect and perspective of it, each aspect of society contributes to society’s functioning.
Functionalist believe that without the beliefs and the values one has, achieving what is best for society is impossible. The Goths do not relate with this, but have many of the similar beliefs as being a group not really so much as the society aspect of it. This meaning that what their intentions are is to change and secure their group from the outside, but what they do does not help society in any way. The two main groups I will be discussing about are the Gothic Meet up groups and the Gothic Rock.
The meetup groups are located in the UK, which makes sense because this is where this subculture came about. There is a particular website where it explains what they are. This website is titled “London Gothic: The London Goth Meetup Group”. “We are a friendly and welcoming bunch of people with the primary aim to help goths meet and socialise with other goths in the London area. Our main interest is music and we often go to gigs and clubs. We run a range of different events such as walks, picnics and RPG nights.
We attend festivals, go to the theatre, the cinema and art galleries, as well as organising the occasional pub social. We have young members, old members and plenty of people who just enjoy being goth. We are explicitly inclusive of anyone who falls under the broad banner of gothdom, regardless of gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnic origin, disability, faith or any other traditionally divisive factors” (meetup. com). They also have a section explaining “what they are not”, “If you are expecting misery, moping, self-pity and think the world is against you personally, this is not the group for you.
We are not better than you, but we’re not a self-help group either” (meetup. com). By stating this, they believe of course that there are a lot of fakes out, who don’t agree with all the things that come about of being Goth, and what they do on the daily with their lives. People have the assumption that being involved in a Goth subculture, that they are obsessed with one thing and one thing only, which is death. Another thing is that all Goths are depressed. However, the website that I mentioned touches on the fact that they are not a safe-help group.
Another important topic that has to do with this subculture is that all Goths cut themselves to get attention. They makes these cuts in obvious places for people to see, mainly friends and family, so that their loved ones show interest in them. They are not suicide, they just want the attention, to know that people actually care for them. Looking into the peer reviewed article, “As a grouping most easily defined by its appearance, the Gothics are also the by-product of the marketing practices, stylistic conventions and global trends associated with the fashion industry.
For example, it has been argued that the Punk style originally developed, not as a spontaneous cultural response to social and economic disenchantment among the young, but rather out of a series of fashion statements by Vivienne Westwood, an avantgarde British clothes designer, in the early 1970s” (Nordquist 1991:75). The color preference was not restricted to only Punks, it was actually a fashion statement throughout the late seventies. “Most goths believe in the existence of a dark transcendental power. They are focused on this power and want to make contact with it by means of occult magic and rituals.
Gothic is absolutely against organized religion (whether it be christianity or other world religions); religion ought to be personal. The gothic movement is very open towards religions which do not meet the approval of the mainstream culture and which tend towards occult and magical rituals focused on darkness and evil. There is a lot of experimentation with religion within the gothic movement, particularly with western occultism, esoterica, wicca, neo paganism, black magic, and Satanism” (Zebenbergen). A gothic subculture is associated with a few different religious beliefs. One of them would be Wicca, which is a very old religion.
It’s mostly about believing in mother nature and people believing that they can cast spells. In general, it is a very friendly and earth friendly religion, people are taught not to harm anyone. Another religion that people associate Goth with is Satanism. This is not about worshipping Satan at all, but more with doing what you like and having fun, not worrying about restrictions or rules. Lastly, there is Vampirism, there is vampirac families where they have rituals, but it’s a family hierarchy, where the families are very supportive of each other and sometimes each member has their own rules.
These vampires feed of the energy of the people around them. Overall, Goths are unique individuals who express their style in a different way from society. This doesn’t mean that they are extraterrestrials or possess some type of negativity, but they are part of a subculture that emphasizes creativity. Just because a person sees the physical appearance of a Goth, does not mean that they are all anti-social, angry individuals. They have a unique way of dressing and different beliefs and religions from another person but they are all just like anyone else.