Sunday, 10 March 2013

On Goths II

Inspired by my last post on goths, I would also like to talk about the stereotype that goths are arrogant and look down on anyone who doesn't have the right Lip Service clothes. I'm not sure how prominent this thought is in other places, but at least in the Finnish discussion it comes up often. To this day I have not met a single person who actually does it. Naturally it is possible that there are people who sneer at others because of their clothing, but I haven't seen it happen in the goth scene and no one has been able to tell me of a specific event where it would have happened.

I claim it is a MYTH. Goths dress up, that's what we generally like to do when we go out to events. Dressed up people look unapproachable and maybe even a bit scary. They look like something you cannot reach if they are strangers. Add to that the fact that the people who have been honing their dressing-up skills for years usually have gotten to know other people, and you have clusters of dressed up people happily chatting. It's not an easy thing to approach a group or try to blend in in that environment. But it is not because the people wearing Lip Service sneer at the newcomer's clothing or hair, they just might be also shy or just concentrating on having fun with their friends or organizing the event. I also know the feeling of envy when someone has the corset that you have been drooling over for months, or they look better in the same top! It's horrible! But at the same time totally harmless, any civilized human being can still function normally.

I've come to Tampere as an outsider, from another city, young and just interested in goth music and visual style. I think I would have noticed during these ten years if there would be some strange apartheid politics regarding newcomers and their clothes. I'm pretty shy, and I've still eventually ended up in a position where I DJ, help organize events and have many friends among the goth scene. And I claim it's not because of my clothes ;P

To make the point clear here's a picture of me from 2004 looking totally fabulous
in my horrible unruly brows an crimped hair ;P And that top is self made!


I dress up because I love it and it's a way of expressing myself. I love to come up with new combinations of the clothes I have or buy a new piece that goes well with the ones in my closet. I'm a visual person and feel like this is a continuation of painting, decorating my home or choosing just the right eyeshadow colour. I do not dress up to sneer at other people or show off how much money I've spent on clothing!

I organize events and sincerely want people to come there and enjoy the music and the atmosphere. Every new face is most welcome! I still look back with regret to the time when I was DJ'ing and noticed a lost looking goth girl in the venue, but she had left by the time my shift was over. I would have liked to say hi and make her feel welcome, because she was clearly there alone and uncomfortable. I'm friendly and like to talk to new people, even thought I'm shy, and I'd like to make it easier for people to just join in the fun and talk and dance and have fun with others at goth events. I feel that the Tampere scene is like a circle of acquaintances: everyone knows at least the others' faces, so coming to an event here is like a pub night with friends. That's what I personally like. Good music and good friends. Not some secret society looking down on less-familiar peoples' apperance!

Just last weekend in Helsinki I met the most wonderful two goths that I had not met before. We liked the same music, went to the same events so it was easy and nice to chat. And I did not even look at what they were wearing, but it must have been black ;)

21 comments:

  1. i often wonder what is it like to live in a city where the goth subculture is actually present. i'm from 100k town and i know exactly one person (besides me) who listens to at least one goth-approved band :D
    so i really envy you that you are able to meet other goths :D

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  2. I personally think that whole myth exists amongst younger goths who are coming into the subculture, as they are trying to things "right" and because of it become rather judgemental amongst each other, as they're trying to prove their place in the subculture. I also think it has some roots in the internet forums, as it often seems to be much of the same, people trying to prove their "gothiness".

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    1. A good point! Some teenagers want to get the feeling of belonging by being judgemental and separating "us" from "them". In the internet people tend to be more harsh and it's harder to convey the right tone when using only text.

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  3. Love your hair, We have that color in common!
    Would you like to follow each other? Let me know! :)
    http://lizziapple.blogspot.com/

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    1. I really love your blog's layout, I'm a follower now! :)

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  4. so far ive mainly seen people admiring and complimenting each others clothes (ok, at least from the people that i like to talk to... dont really care about bitchy people) but what i think is even more sad is that it seems a lot of 'us' are staring and flaming each other for the way they dance. im not into cyber/industrial dancing and get ugly looks when i start stomping/do what my feet tell me to do. when youre not dancing like those youtube people you get the same looks and bad comments, like going out was a competition.
    but hey its nice that you welcome new faces, i do the same when i go out with friends and when im out alone (which happens quite often, too because i like to go to new places) i am usually trying to find people i've never talked to, you might find new friends this way, no matter if they are 'new or old', alone or in company :-)

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    1. How interesting! It might be just by Finnish surroundings that have made me totally oblivious to dancing, since we are such a shy people. Everyone seems to have a unique way of dancing, but I have seen the industrial dance become popular. I think I have to be more observant and see how people react to dancing, it would be very interesting to see what's actually going on.

      Going out alone is such a great way to meet new people, you are so right!

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  5. Lots of My friends have forgot how it was to bee Young goth and try to get in to the Scen .
    And They ofen says bad thing obut the Young goth look.
    But we was Young Once and new and needed older goth to learn us. So Im always take time to talk to Young goths and share things.

    We all has been baby bats Once :)

    My englich is so bad when Im writing....

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    1. Don't worry, I can understand you perfectly! It doesn't matter how good the grammar is if you are understood :)

      I think you are right, many people have forgotten how it felt to meet older goths and try to become a part of the scene. Thinking back and remembering those feelings could be really helpful!

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  6. I don't think it's a myth at all. From my experience, it really depends on where you live. NYC is notoriously snobby, to the point that Andrew Eldritch absolutely refuses to ever play NYC again. (When and it he ever tours again) While it *might* not be true nowadays -- I haven't gone out in a while -- it was certainly true in the 90s and throughout much of 2000s. It's actually pretty well-known and accepted. Boston and Philadelphia are both much more friendly and open than NYC ever was and is. My personal experience with Boston (I lived there for two years) was a pleasant one that felt more like a community. Philadelphia is truly the "city of brotherly love" because every time we are there people are so nice to us! Ed tells me that goths in New Orleans are truly wonderful folks ... actually pretty much all the Southern US goths I've ever met were extremely nice. My friend LP who lives in California, says that San Diego goths are much more friendly and outgoing than LA goths, who she says are super stuck up and way too egocentric.

    My experience in Europe is limited to France, England and Ireland ... but I have to say, the folks I did meet were all so nice.

    I truly 100% believe that this isn't a myth and that it depends on where you live.

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    1. An interesting point! Do you think it could have something to do with big cities that have lots of people coming to live there from smaller places? I know the Finnish capital has this sort of effect on some people, when they move to live there they seem to think becoming an arrogant person is mandatory.

      You sure have experience from many cities, so I totally believe you when you say there are such people. I guess I want to stay in Europe as much as I can, then ;P No offence!

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  7. Unfortunately I have come across people that DID have this kind of attitude, and I think it happened when a few rotten apples started forming cliques at certain parties. They were mostly people in their teens and early 20's at most and it happened in places where there were a lot of people from this age. I think it was peer pressure and the fact that people from that city were rather snobby in general, not only goths.

    In my home city goths have always been very welcoming and nice. I remember being the young newcomer and (mostly older) people reaching out to me. It was the best time of my youth to be accepted like that. The goth scene in my city is getting smaller every year, so it really is essential to be nice to new people to keep it alive. This might not go up for all scenes, but to me it seems like there is more arrogance in lively scenes that have no incentive to be friendly.

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    1. Might be that it's the teens that do it. So the part about the older goths doing it would be myth, but some insecure newcomers would still rate other people's Lip Service. Sounds logical! It also sounds very logical that big and lively scenes could be more arrogant.

      The feeling of belonging and being accepted is so wonderful!

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  8. I imagine it's a combination of both. If someone encounters one rude individual, they're probably more inclined to perceive they're being snubbed by people who are really just too shy to approach them. One bad apple really can ruin the whole bunch for anyone new and just trying to break into the scene.

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    1. So true, I really hadn't thought of it that way!

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  9. Once again, very well said. I hate how some people think that just because you have nice clothing and dress up that this somehow means you are "elitist" or a snob. I hang around with all types of people with all different styles and I get along with people who are not goth as well. I do not judge people by what they are wearing. Also, it makes me kind of irritated when people get weird about how much others spend on their clothing. When I used to be a student, I did not have much of a budget for clothing so I did a lot of DIY, used clothing, etc. These days I have a good job and I work a lot so I am able to afford some nice items of clothing more than I used to. I wish this didn't cause some people to think you look down on them, this is NOT the case! I feel that if I work hard for my money, I should be able to enjoy the clothing that I like. Where I live, there is a thriving goth scene and most people know one another and we all get along regardless of what anyone wears for the most part so I am thankful for this.

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    1. That's true! It's really horrible to be thought of as an elitist just because of the way you dress. And I want to be able to enjoy my money by spending it on cool clothes! It would be just silly if everyone had to dress down not to offend anyone, when it's a big part of being goth to be able to dress as you wish.

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  10. Also, I love the old picture of you, it's very cute!

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  11. Wow! You're still beautiful even from way back then! :D

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    1. Thank you! I always think I look super silly in old pictures, but it's hard to look at yourself objectively!

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