Support Shawn's writng with a donation

Monday, October 26, 2015

What Shawn Learned About The Goth Subculture Writing Spinsterella

While I was writing Spinsterella I learned a lot about Goths and the Goth subculture. And after doing over a year of research for that novel I thought I’d share what Goth is NOT with readers.

Goths are not weirdos. While most Goths see things from a darker perspective there’s nothing strange of bizarre about them. Underneath the surface of the dark and spooky makeup and dark clothing they’re just regular Joes and Janes. And once you start talking to them you’ll soon learn they’re just like everybody else.

Goths are not always dark and brooding. The Stereotype about Goths in media are that Goths are dark brooding and angsty people who hang out in cemeteries or coffehouses reading poetry.

Definitely NOT True.

Most Goths are actually some of the happiest out there. While they wear dark clothes and spooky makeup, many often have bright and sunny personalities. And quite a few are very friendly and kind. If people took a moment to approach them, they’d actually meet someone who possibly could be be a good friend to them.

Goth is not a phase. Some parents think Goth is a phase that their teenagers will grow out of when they get into their mid to late twenties. However, this is not the case at all. There are actually 30, 40 and even 50 and 60 year old people who are part of the Goth Subculture. And some people have been part of the Goth subculture for 25-30 years! While some people do leave the subculture for various reasons, others often feel so comfortable living on the dark side that they make it part of their lifestyle way into their adulthood and even their senior years. 

Goths are NOT only White kids.  Some believe that Goth is a subculture that only White kids get into. However, this isn’t true at all. While the origins of the Goth Subculture have their roots in the United Kingdom in the 1970s, Goth is now a worldwide subculture that people participate in large countries like the U.S. and Canada to small countries like New Zealand and Fiji. There are White Goths, Black Goths, Hispanic Goths, Native American Goths, Indian Goths, Asian Goths, and Arab Goths. In almost every corner of world people participate in the Goth subculture and are enjoying living on the dark side of life.

There is no “right” way to be Goth. Many, even some in the Goth subculture think that there’s only one way to be a Goth. While there are certain fashion staples that most Goths wear, and certain music that Goths listen to and certain movies and TV shows that they watch, there are no defined set of rules for being a Goth. So don’t let the so-called“Elite” Goths discourage you or try to define what Goth is for you.

What is considered “Goth” is what an individual feels comfortable with and whatever someone feels comfortable about expressing. Some may want to go for a more conservative look, while others may go for a more visually striking one. Some Goths like tattoos and piercings while others don’t. And some Goths may like traditional Goth bands like The Cure, VNV Nation, and Souixsie and the Banshees, while others may like pop music like Katy Perry and Bruno Mars. What is considered Goth is like a fingerprint, and no two people will have the same views regarding the subculture or the same interests in it, and it’s cool to agree to disagree. 

There are numerous subcultures within the Goth Subculture. The standard image of Goths in media often show people who dress up in all Black and look all sullen and angsty. However, there are actually numerous subcultures within the Goth Subculture. And some do not wear black at all. There are Traditional Goths, Victorian Goths, Retro Goths, Corporate Goths Pastel Goths, Lolita Goths, Fit Goths, Techno/Cyber Goths, Gothabillys and Ghetto Goths.

Each subculture in the subculture has its own style and sometimes subcultures actually overlap in terms of style and asthethics. So there is no true definition of what “Goth” truly is just like there is no one true definition of what “Black” truly is.

The Goth subculture is not about witchcraft, or the occult. While a few Goths are into wicca and some are into occult, The overall Goth subculture is not all about these subjects. Goth is actually about fashion, music and expressing oneself with a dark style and a dark asthetic.

Goths have a variety of hobbies and interests. Many believe that Goths only care about dark things like skeletons, bats and horror movies. However, this is not the case. Underneath the dark clothes most Goths are average Joes and Janes and they have all sorts of hobbies and interests outside of the Goth subculture.

Some Goths collect action figures, while others are into video games. A few are into Manga, others into comics and fantasy. A few are into crafts like candelmaking, knitting and making their own clothes or even fixing and building computers. Some are even into cooking! What a Goth likes varies for person to person, and their hobbies and interests sometimes will tell the world more about them than their appearance.

Goths are not Devil Worshippers or Satanists. A common misconception many parents have about Goths are that they worship Satan. However this is definitely NOT true. The Goth subculture has absolutely nothing to do with any religion whatsoever.

Many Goths are actually Agnostic and do not declare a religious affiliation. While Some Goths are Christians, others are Muslims and even Bhuddists. However, one does not need to be part of any religion to be a Goth. Goth is a celebration of the dark side of life, and is not about the worship of any deity.

Goths are usually not violent. While quite a few Goths may wear all black and appear intimidating to some due to the ghoulish make-up, Goths are actually some of the LEAST violent people on the planet. Oftentimes a group of Goths will meet in a place for a gathering or an event and it’ll come and go without incident. In fact, Goths have met up annually in family friendly places like Disneyland for YEARS without any trouble!

Most Goths often know they’re judged by their appearance and will make efforts to try to avoid trouble whenever they see it. Because they know that the entire subculture may be judged by the actions of an individual, most Goths will make every effort to walk away from a fight.

Goth Girls and Women are NOT sexual deviants. Many will look at a Goth Girl wearing things like spiked collars, leather shorts, ripped stockings and corsets and think that she’s into BDSM or all sorts of deviant sexual practices. However, this is not the case.

From what I’ve read and seen in videos where Goths spoke for themselves, most Goth girls and women are actually quite conservative about their sexual behavior. It’s not common for many Goth teen girls to be virgins into their twenties and many adult women in the Goth subculture to be in long-term committed relationships. Quite a few women in the Goth subculture are happily married and some have families.

Goths are people too. Oftentimes people judge Goths by their appearance. Not understanding that Goths are people too.

When a Goth is out and about on the street there are those who would stand and stare at them. And others who will take pictures of them and think its okay. Not understanding how they’ve violated that person’s personal space and completely disrespected them.

A few even think it’s okay to discriminate against Goths in places like restauraunts and jobs and deny them service and employment based on their appearance.

And there are a handful of bigots who would think it’s okay to put their hands on someone and assault them just because they are Goth.

People need to understand A Goth is a person too. They have feelings like everyone else and they have a every right to live and work just like everyone else. Just like it’s wrong to disrepect or attack a person because they’re Black or Gay, it’s also wrong to disrepect or attack someone because they’re participating in the Goth subculture.

When I was writing Spinsterella I wanted to make every effort to present a positive portrayal of Goths and the Goth subculture. As a fan of the Goth subculture for the last 25 years I wanted to create a multidimensional character who would help readers learn more about Goths and the Goth subculture and see the humanity of the people who participated in it. I’m hoping this novel will help readers get a better understanding of Goths and the Goth subculture and they’ll learn to see what’s great about the darker side of life.

Spinsterella is currently available in paperback on and will be available for sale on Kindle & Kindle Unlimited this Halloween. A dark and spooky romantic comedy, Spinsterella is a great treat for those looking for some laughs in a fun love story.


  1. Shawn, I just got done reading your story on Kindle and I gotta admit, it was a great story. Although I am not as introverted as you, I can relate to the social awkwardness and weird vibe that people give you because you don't fit into their gullible definition of "Black", along with the issues of being heavyset. I would definitely recommend this story to a friend. You knocked it out of the park.

    (BTW, the reason why Goths are probably so chill is because their dark clothing represents that they are more in tune with their subconscious mind than most other people, who are taught instead to fear the darkness, much to their detriment.

  2. Thanks for reading it Kevin. I'm happy to year you liked it and learned from it. I really wanted people to learn something about this definition of "Black" most Black people have and how that singular narrative really limits Black people. Race and identity is something we really need to explore more in literature and media. There's been too much of one "Black" narrative for Black people for too long and that has to change.

    Have agree wit you on Goths being so relaxed. many are really comfortable with themselves and who they are. That's what I like most about them.

    Really want to do a Spinsterella Prequel about Matilda's teen years and her reasons for becoming a Goth in the sytle of The Thetas. That may be the next book I write