Your kids are dressing in Black.
They’re talking about vampires, bats, and black cats.
They’re reading books by Edgar Allen Poe, Anne Rice, watching horror movies, and listening to bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, and London After Midnight.
They’re playing with Oujia boards and hanging out in the cemetery and other spooky places.
Relax. You don’t have anything to worry about. Your kid is just a Goth.
What is a Goth? A Goth is a person who has a darker view of the world. They see the beauty in things most people would find macabre, strange or unusual.
Many parents who aren’t Goth or aware of what the Goth Subculture is come up with preconceived notions about it from their own frame of reference. And that limited perspective has them making generalizations about Goths that aren’t true.
Many parents who are religious often believe that Goths are into Satanism and that their kids are part of a group of Satanists. While many Goths wear religious symbols like pentagrams, devil’s horns and ankhs, the Goth subculture has absolutely nothing to do with any religion.
While quite a few Goths wear religious symbols in their jewelry and clothing, many are Agnostic. Quite a few are Christian. Some are Jewish and some are Muslim. In most cases when Goths wear religious symbols it’s not about religion. It’s to make an ironic statement. Sometimes to make a satirical one.
Some Goths may collect oddities such as animal bones, jewelry made from animal bones or taxidermy items. However this isn’t a sign of antisocial behavior. When Goths buy these items they usually buy them from reputable businesses and make sure that the animal died of natural causes.
No Goth believes in harming animals. In fact, many Goths love animals and many have pets. If an animal is being harmed by someone, oftentimes Goths who will make an effort to speak out about it or tell the local authorities about the person participating in animal cruelty.
While Goths have a darker view of the world, they aren’t dangerous. Most Goths are pacifistic and don’t believe in violence. In many cases if there’s a disagreement Goths usually will agree to disagree.
In the forty plus years the Goth subculture hasn’t been a single act of violence attributed to Goths. In most cases when there’s an event like a Goth night at a club or a coffee house or a concert featuring an act with a Goth band such as The Cure, it usually comes and goes without incident. That can’t be said about many rap concerts or rock concerts around the world.
Some parents believe that Goths are a gang. Others believe Goths are cult. However, Goth isn’t either of those things. Goth is a subculture. And because Goth is a subculture people are free to come and go as they wish.
For some kids Goth is a phase. And they find they don’t like it after a year or two. For others it becomes a way of life.
Unlike gangs and cults, no one recruits anyone to become a Goth. No one forces anyone to become a Goth. People choose to be a part of the Goth subculture because they want to be a part of it. In many cases kids participate in the Goth subculture because they have a darker view of the world and want to share that view like minded people.
And that darker view doesn’t mean evil. Most Goths see a positive to many things people see as macabre, strange or unusual. And they go out of their way to show the good in those things people perceive as evil.
While I was writing the Romance Spinsterella and the Young adult/Teen novel Spellbound I spent three years learning about the Goth Subculture. And after listening to the music, watching thousands of hours of YouTube videos from Goths all over the world, and talking to numerous Goths both young and old I can honestly tell parents they have nothing to worry about if their kids are part of the Goth subculture. If anything, the Goth subculture is one of the safest places a kid could be.
I’d be more worried about a kid into rap and hip-hop than a kid who’s into Goth. Because most kids into rap and hip hop often get involved with with gun, gangs, drugs, crime, and violence in an effort to get street cred. The most a mischievous BabyBat will do is try to buy some wine or try to buy a cigarette. And in quite a few cases older Goths will check them. Oftentimes older Goths will try to help younger Goths understand that their behavior not only reflects badly on them, but on the whole subculture overall.
In many cases kids come into the Goth subculture because they like the music. Some come in because they like the fashion. However quite a few become a part of the subculture through other hobbies and interests. Many Goths are comic fans. Some are Anime and Manga fans. Others are wrestling fans. And they discover what’s great about the Goth subculture from friends who share those hobbies.
I’ve seen Goths at comicons, the library and out and about here in New York City. They’re not brooding. They’re not angry. In most cases they’re smiling, having fun and living life to the fullest. In most cases they’re some of the nicest people you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting. If most parents saw them in public they’d be the kinds of kids they’d be proud to call their son or daughter.