Rejecting Social Norms: The Goth Subculture Essay

Rejecting Social Norms: The Goth Subculture Essay

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The late seventies and early eighties saw the beginning emergence of the Goth subculture: a group of social misfits that appear to always find themselves on the outskirts of mainstream pop culture. It is a complex subculture with great depth and mystery. The Gothics share a connection with the darker aesthetic, through their intense music and sexual fetishism, calling into question their predisposition to depression and rejection of social norms.
There is rarely a single moment in history when one can pinpoint the exact moment when a subculture emerges. It is a slow building of multiple influences. Valerie Steele, Gothic Dark Glamour, describes historical accounts of nomadic, warriors living in the forests of northern Europe in the third century A.D (3). These barbaric tribes, referred to as “Goths,” tore through the countryside killing people and destroying entire villages (Steele 4). Over the next hundreds of years, the obsession for the death and darkness evolved into more of a superstition and religious practice with the emergence of witchcraft and Satanism (Steele 5). This dark culture attracted cultural outsiders who where intrigued by melodramatic horror stories and homosexual aesthetics (Steele 9). Fast forward to modern day Goth subculture, which began a transformation of identity in the late seventies and caught fire in the early eighties. Splintering off of the British punk movement, the term Goth was coined in the United Kingdom by journalists and public figures in the music industry that credit Anthony H. Wilson when he described, “Joy Division as Gothic compared to the pop mainstream” (Steele 127). However, others credit the music band Bauhaus as the grandfather’s of Goth. According to David Thompson and Jo-Ann Gr...


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Park, Jennifer. "Melancholy and the Macabre: Gothic Rock and Fashion." Gothic: Dark
Glamour. New York: Yale University Press and The Fashion Institute Of Technology
New York, 2008. 115-157. Print.
Smith, Alicia Porter. "The Study of Gothic Subculture: An Inside Look for Outsiders." Gothic Subculture. Gothic Subculture, 12 March 2009. Web. 3 May 2014.
Steele, Valerie. "Gothic: Dark Glamour." Gothic:Dark Glamour. New York: Yale University
Press and the Fashion Institute of Technology New York, 2008. 1-114. Print.
Thompson, David, and Jo-Ann Greene. "Undead Undead Undead." The Study of Gothic
Subculture. Alternative Press, Nov. 1994. Web. 3 May 2014.
Young, Robert. "Prevalence of Deliberate Self Harm and Attempted Suicide Within
Contemporary Goth Youth Subculture: Longitudinal Cohort Study." British Medical
Journal 332.2 (2006): 1058-1061. Print.









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