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Goth, Poser, Other

A friend just posted this South Park quote on their Facebook wall: "Let us be abuntantly clear: If you hate life, truly hate the sun and NEED to smoke and drink coffee, you are Goth. If, however, you like dressing in black cuz it's fun, enjoying putting sparkles on your cheeks and following the occult while avoiding things that are bad for your health, then you are most likely a douchebag wannabe vampire boner. Because anybody who thinks they are actually a vampire is freaking retarded. Fuck all of you."

And I get the humor in that definition of "goth." I do. But it neatly wraps up about 90% of the social anxiety I experienced as a teen and early twenty-something.

I do not now, nor have I ever hated life. Anyone who genuinely hates being alive is deeply depressed and should seek counseling. I avoid the sun when remotely reasonable; I have extremely fair skin and I'm not a big fan of skin cancer, so I keep out of the sun when I can and wear copious amounts of sunscreen when I can't. But I don't hate the sun anymore than I hate the moon. What an absurd thing to say. And I've never been a smoker or a coffee drinker. Give me clean air and a cup of tea any day (or night).

I do like wearing black. It's flattering, and more importantly it's an aesthetic that genuinely appeals to me. I only glitter when I do burlesque (and not always then). As for the occult... well, I've been a professed pagan since about age 11. And I do avoid many things that are bad for my health--see above re: not hating life. Though I've never pretended to be, nor have I ever believed myself to be a vampire.

In my younger years this was, as mentioned, a pretty significant source of social anxiety for me. At that age I was only just starting to indulge my darker tastes, and every day I didn't get dressed in something from Hot Topic made me feel like a poser every day that I did. When I went to Rocky Horror that weekend, would all the pretty, goth-y people somehow know that yesterday I wore color? In retrospect it's all very silly, but at the time it felt very real.

These days, at age thirty, I look at this South Park definition of goth, roll my eyes, and wonder WWtAFD?* Ignore the nay-sayers and go on being their genuine selves without a care as to what labels other people do and do not apply to them--that is what The Addams Family would do. And as an adult, that's more or less how I deal with the whole "goth" question. I acknowledge that that's how many other people see me, but also realize that anyone who feels I can be defined by a single word probably doesn't know me very well. And in the meantime I'll go on wearing jeans and (color!) t-shirts most days, and still feel extra pretty when I put on my gothiest outfits. I'll keep watching pink comedies alongside black ones, and laughing just as hard at both. I don't compromise who I am when it comes to my sexuality, my religion, or my profession--why should I be ashamed of either my lighter or my darker halves?

*What Would the Addams Family Do? By the Sout Park definition not a single member of that clan would be truly goth. In their own, abnormal way the Addamses are some of the happiest, most well-adjusted people portrayed in pop-culture. They love each other and always do right by one another (with, of course, some entertaining mishaps along the way). Morticia doesn't wear black because it makes her goth. The very notion! She wears it because it's such a lovely, cheerful color. The family doesn't play "Wake the Dead" because it's "so, like, dark." They play it because it's fun.


( 6 Mourned — Mourn )
Jan. 23rd, 2013 09:06 pm (UTC)
Yes yes yes!
Well said! I don't even have anything to add, because my whole response is: THIS. A MILLION TIMES THIS.
Jan. 23rd, 2013 09:08 pm (UTC)
TL;DR: I defriended a moron douchebag and continued not to take life advice from South Park
Jan. 24th, 2013 03:40 pm (UTC)
i totally get your feeling of anxiety, it seems no matter how i was dressing i was a "poser" to whatever group i looked the most like. at some point, i just started dressing like me, and i too gravitate toward black, "goth" or "punk" looks, although i have no taste for most of the music associated (which for some reason, dressing goth at a TMBG concert was even taboo). so, i guess my look/style is "poser" which is fine by me because i like it and that's all that matters, lol.
Jan. 24th, 2013 09:00 pm (UTC)
If LJ had "like" button, I would like your comment.
Jan. 24th, 2013 11:07 pm (UTC)
Jan. 25th, 2013 12:37 am (UTC)
I found that episode funny as hell, but I agree with you.

I dress like Nicole. That happens to include a lot of metal/punk/goth looks. Except when it doesn't. As I've gotten older, I've been dressing more and more exactly the way I've always wanted, and spending less and less time around people who align closely with any one scene.
( 6 Mourned — Mourn )

Take This Book In Your Hands

Like it or not, witches are drawn to the edge of things, where two states collide. They feel the pull of doors, circumferences, boundaries, gates, mirrors, masks. . .
. . .and stages

--Terry Pratchett, Maskerade

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