Goth is a Mindset, Not Just a Fashion Sense
I really have to give it to the media when it comes to just distorting one youth culture after another.
It all began, of course, with the beatnik movement of the 1950s.
In the early 50s, there were a lot of college age people who were just really sick and tired of middle class American suburban living. They felt that regardless of where they lived in the United States, people who lived in the suburbs or had the suburban mindset, basically wanted to be just like everybody else.
They all assumed the same things about the United States. They assumed that the United States was the best country in the world, that the United States has all the answers in the world, and so on and so forth.
They were rebelling against that because they knew that that was not the case. They knew that there was something to be celebrated in other countries that are not as rich, as powerful or as prominent as the United States of America.
So a lot of these people went through soul searching periods, often hitchhiking through the United States, traveling to many different countries, and the beatnik movement or the beat poetry movement was born.
The focus was not on possessions. The focus on was not on being like everybody else. The focus was not deriving your worth as a human being and as a thinking, feeling organism based on how much dollars are accounted to your name.
In other words, they turned the American 1950s identity script on its head. This was the beginning of an anti-material wealth philosophy.
Now, this doesn’t mean that they’re communists, mind you. This doesn’t mean that they hate money or they hate material wealth. Instead, the focus is on exploring other aspects of the human condition.
But when the media got a hold of this, they just stereotyped them as lazy bums who are allergic to work. They dismiss them as no-good, wasted children of hard working middle class parents who sent their kids to college only to end up with kids who are worthless bums because they don’t want to work the kind of jobs their parents had.
That was the media presentation. And believe me, it was downhill from there because after that, the media got its hooks on the hippie movement, then the punk movement, then the disco, you name it. It’s always the same narrative. And goth culture took a hit because of this.
And it really is too bad because goth is a mindset. It is not just a fashion sense. Because the mainstream media likes to present the gothic lifestyle as essentially just somebody who wears their hair a certain way, everything is black, everything has a certain range of jewelry themes, and not much else.
In other words, it was very shallow, appearance oriented, and all about putting on a show to impress other people regarding how dangerous or seemingly out of step with the corrupted mainstream culture real goth culture is
In other words, the media was playing the same games that they did with punk, hippie, and the beat generation. What else in new?
They lost sight of the fact that goth is a celebration of life in total. In other words, if you’re going to get all excited about a baby being born or a flower showing up in all its brilliance and radiance, then you should also be excited and find beauty when that flower starts to develop worms, when it starts to wither up, and when it starts to die.
Because that flower was only made possible by the fact that a previous flower reached its peak, withered up, died, fell apart, was digested by the earth, and then came up as a flower again. That’s the essence of the goth perspective. It’s all about authenticity. It’s all about a wide ranging acceptance.
We’re not cherry picking reality. We’re not just focusing on the things that are acceptable and things that we should run away from. That’s so awesome about it.
And it’s really sad that mainstream media just presents goth in a very narrow, almost cartoonish way. The bottom line is that it’s just shown us some sort of fashion sense with a heavy emphasis on black.
It goes beyond that. It’s actually one of the most illuminating and invigorating and liberating philosophies you could ever learn.
Because once you start accepting life for all its warts and all its beauty, all its sin and all its righteousness, then you would start to live. That is the promise of the goth mindset.