If this website does nothing else, I hope that it convinces you that there is no single gothic style of music and clothing, there is no single gothic attitude and no single politic or religion. Gothic people are individuals just as republicans, democrats, Jews, bodybuilders or sports nuts are. Some are Christian, some are atheists, some are pagan, some are Jewish and so on. We have democrats, republicans and more than a few third party members. Even among standard styles, gothic fashion runs the gamut from long ball gowns to fetish wear and everything in between - and not all conform to standard gothic fashions! Our musical tastes run from instrumental neoclassical to death rock. We've influenced everything from metal to folk music...and we are free to like music which is not gothic.
Gothic people will draw inspiration from the mood, philosophy and culture of the gothic historical period, and even more so from gothic art and literature forms. I've seen it argued that Gothicism as a social understanding has always existed in small pockets of society ever since the period of history was first revived, particularly during periods near the turn of a century. There certainly has been more than one notable revival over the years. However, our current dance with Gothicism is fairly recent.
As a distinct social group, Goths blossomed out of the original punk culture of the 1970s. Both goths and punks have stood in rebellion against society, each from a differing perspective. Punks projected hostility toward society, goths instead chose a quiet withdrawal.
From a gothic perspective, most of the distinctive features of modern life are pointless in the end; modern society is actually subject to a grand hypocrisy. It denies and castigates extreme emotions yet cannot bring peace anywhere and has failed to eliminate violence in places such as schools. It is preoccupied with acquiring (more toys, property, possessions, power, fame, influence...) at the expense of relationships and human kindness. It seeks pleasure but denies creativity and emotion except in compartmentalised areas of our lives. Moreover, worst of all, it demands conformity from all, denying individual experiences, divergent beliefs and the inherent value of the person.
The gothic culture quietly defies those norms. It wishes to embrace and experience the full range of human feeling - even those that are not popular or attractive. The darker extreme emotions are just as important a part of life as the bright cheery ones. Sorrow, pain, anger, fear, melancholy are all essential parts of human existence and are beautiful in their own right. We do not see them as dysfunctional or evil. They instead are the partners of the light. Just as there are sunrise and sunset, periods where darkness overtakes light and periods where light comes on the heels of darkness exist in our lives. And they are periods of great importance to the human soul. They are periods of great change, growth, creativity and wisdom. Having the darker emotions does not make a person unbalanced, it makes them human and without them, we would become stagnant.
Because Gothicism was borne out of a desire for self-expression amidst a perceived repression, goths place a high value on tolerance. We don't believe you must necessarily agree with or embrace differences if they clash with your fundamental beliefs (that would be a denial of the self) but you need to allow that other person the freedom to be wrong in peace. Accepted within our ranks is a wide variety of political, social and religious perspectives. Goths are a diverse group, including all races, age groups, backgrounds, careers and personality types. There are some commonalities among these of course, but it is primarily a law of averages kind of thing. There really is no stereotypical Goth.
Though we're not all the same, we tend to all be intense, emotional, dramatic, sensual (in the sensory sense, though I'm sure fetish goths might be considered sensual in the other sense as well), creative, unconventional and for some reason we tend to have highly developed imaginations. We believe what we believe passionately and have given it alot of thought. Creative outlets for self-expression are more important than societies values such as wealth, power or influence. This does not mean we won't wish to live comfortably, but we won't sell our soul in order to do it.
Everyday life for the gothic person is much the same as it is for everyone else. We eat, sleep, work, study, have routine hobbies (fishing, sports, crafts, videogames, reading, whatever), keep house, raise kids...the usual. We do not confine ourselves to a prescribed set of interests such as horror movies, graveyards or smoking. Those among the gothic culture experience a wide variety of life, just as is available to everyone else. We accept all ages, experience and participate in a variety of activities.
Being gothic is not a club you join, there is no secret handshake and we don't take up a collection and hand out membership cards. We believe that either you ARE gothic or you AREN'T. You don't become so without changing your worldview. We are people who see the world differently than the rest and experience our everyday lives through our own set of lenses. We're whole people, embracing and experiencing life as it comes our way, regardless of whether or not that is pretty...
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