My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

The Gothic subculture is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, and looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Tim Burton, Siouxsie Sioux and Anne Rice et al.) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. Goth should not be limited by what is considered "goth", inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The Synthetic Aesthetic & Hypocrisy

Recently, Amy of ::Stripy Tights and Dark Delights:: wrote ::this:: post on Goths that denigrate people of a certain popular aesthetic (Essex Girl in the UK, Jersey Shore to an American, I would guess that a lot of places have their equivalent) for being "fake" because of the fake tan, fake eyelashes, bleached hair, fake nails, hair extensions, heavy makeup, bust augmentations, etc. etc. I am probably repeating what she said here, but it is an important message, so I feel like reiterating it in my own words on this blog 

A lot of Goths and other Alternative types are just as "fake". I certainly go around with a corseted waist, a wig, fake eyelashes, heavy makeup, a pallor that is partly nature and partly makeup (more to even it out than make me paler), high heels, piercings etc. My waist is not naturally that thin, my hair is is not actually red (not even by dye), my eyelashes are pretty long, but they don't come with feathers, and I got all those jewellery-attachment-points through having someone poke holes through me! I go to great lengths to achieve a particular aesthetic, and that is all that these 'Essex Girls' are doing. There are people who have had far more extensive body mods than me; more piercings, elaborate tattoos, and even fangs, pointed ears and horns, all in search of a particular aesthetic. This is certainly a synthetic aesthetic, one that is created through artistry overlaid on nature. 

Usually someone comes in with the justification of something akin to 'oh, but they are following a trend, to them it's about fitting in and appealing to men and getting attention, they must be really insecure! We do it in the pursuit of our own personal aesthetic!' 

Who are we to judge? 

Unless you know someone well enough to have good estimation of their real motivations, you have no business judging someone. It is the same sort of prejudicial assumption as when mainstream people assume that we dress and look the way we do for attention or to rebel against our parents or to opt out of decent society. Considering the time and money and effort spent on a lot of these women's looks, I would say that there has to be a significant proportion who really are chasing their dream aesthetic. Yes, there certainly are those who follow that aesthetic to be trendy, to get attention, to impress men, because they are insecure with who they are under the fakery, etc. but there are also people who co-opt the Goth aesthetic in order to get attention, to impress men, to be rebellious, to try and shock people, because they are insecure with who they are under the fakery, etc. It is unfair to judge a group by the action of individuals who are not necessarily representative. It is easier to distinguish a Goth from someone co-opting the aesthetic, because there is some broader definition of Goth, but the 'Essex Girl' aesthetic is just an aesthetic (the party animal lifestyle, drinking, etc. are not inherent; plenty of people who don't follow this look behave like that, and not all who follow this look behave like that); there is no co-opting it away from a broader subculture. 

Basically, this is an encouragement not to judge; instead take people on their individual merit, on their own actions and behaviour. How somebody looks is not necessarily and indicator of what they are like, as we should all well know. A dose of humility and an open mind are good things to have. 

4 comments:

  1. Couldn't have said it better myself! This goes for slut-shaming as well. I cannot stand it when people slut-shame. It begs the same question - who are you to judge? It has nothing to do with you! The last two sentences of this post are spot on.

    Wonderful post! ^-^

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    Replies
    1. I really don't like it when people make assumptions about skimpy clothes and promiscuity. I've met very covered-up women who are very promiscuous, and women who wear very sexy and revealing clothes regularly who are strictly monogamous.

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