Fortress Of Tears
Gothic Subculture


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History of the Gothic Subculture
by Alicia Porter

The date of origin is usually placed in 1979 when Bauhaus released the song "Bela Lugosi's Dead." The band originally intended the song to be lighthearted; however, many young fans handled onto this mysterious, eerie sound as inspiration for the potential gothic subculture. The first generation of the gothic movement appeared mostly in the UK in the late seventies and early eighties as a piece from the punk movement. Punk music was breathing its last breath as this dark, reflective mutation put on energy. Bands like The Damned, Bauhaus, and Siouxsie and the Banshees characterize the first generation. These bands were called Gothic later on, but most did not consider themselves Gothic at the time. There is a great deal of uncertainty about who created the term "gothic" and how it got attached to this dark music. The British music press seems to be most responsible for making the label stick.

In the early 1980s, the gothic movement blossomed with bands like the Sisters of Mercy at the front position. However, by the mid to late 1980s, the movement was vanishing. In the late eighties and early nineties, a new, second generation of gothic bands emerged to breathe new life into the scene. They renowned themselves by being the first to regularly call themselves Gothic. Examples would include The Shroud, Rosetta Stone, and London After Midnight. This time period is when the US Goth movement grew significantly, and Gothic became recognized as a distinct subculture. Through this period, gothic music and culture grew and split out into various divisions, pushing the boundaries of what had previously been considered gothic.


As the second generation now ages into their mid to late 20's, they usually become less interested in participating in the gothic social scene. A distinct third generation emerged in the late 90's to shape the future progression of the gothic movement. The third generation represents an explosion in the number of people referring to themselves as gothic. Many of them have learned about gothic culture because of the present widespread commercial availability. The huge popularity of "shock rock" act Marilyn Manson has thrown the spotlight onto this subculture. Marilyn Manson is far more similar to the heavy metal theatricality of Alice Cooper than the mysterious despair of Bauhaus. Many Goths wish to disassociate themselves from the younger, over-ardent followers of Manson who seem to dress and act like him purely for rebellious shock value. The term often used for these youths is "spooky kids."

First and second generation Goths look suspiciously upon the new generation, doubting their realism and disliking the contact they give to a subculture which would prefer to remain underground. The new generation is not presently well received by their elders, but time may prove otherwise. It would be difficult to predict what the future holds for the Gothic movement. After over 20 years, it continues to change, grow, mutate and adapt, making it one of the longest surviving youth subcultures in existence.


What Is Goth?

There are a few items of clothing that will reside in the closets of most Goths.

Black top/ t-shirt/ corset

Black trousers

Black Skirt.

Black Coat/cloaks

Black Shoes/boots/flat shoes

Lace / fishnet / spider web tights

Black dress/velvet dresses



Goth Types

Baby bat: New to the whole Goth scene. Baby bats are normally teenagers who don't quite know what they are doing, but are genuine in their interest in the gothic subculture, as opposed to the Mansonites.

Body mod Goth: Piercing and tattoos in abundance. Their sole thought is what to get modified next. Will be able to tell you exactly what each tattoo and piercing means to them. Airport securitys worst nightmare; Okay, I have piercing here, here, here

Bondage Goth: S. The fetish culture is heavily populated with goths, maybe because of the accepting nature of the gothic culture. Think PVC and leather with lots of adornments such as whips, chains and handcuffs. Probably most of the Goths wouldn't know what to do with half the stuff they carry, but finding out is half the fun!

Bored Goth: I'm bored! the war cry of the bored Goth is well known. Tend to do things out of boredom such as get pierced or run around naked.

Caffeine Goth: will most likely be discussing deep, meaningful topics very, very quickly. Their system runs on caffeine and they think coffee should be one of the major food groups

Corporate Goth: Goth at heart, through their suit. Corporate Goths survive on stress and love their jobs, often part Caffeine Goth.

Crow Goth: put on black lipstick and eyeliner (a la Eric Draven)

Cyber Goth: Think electrical circuitry as accessories and duct tape as clothing.

Hillbilly Goth: Recognized by their leather clothes, tight jeans and shit-kickers, hillbilly Goths are a mixture of tanned skin and eyeliner. The result is often quite scary.

Horny pervert Goth... no comment

Literature Goths: do well on the written word. Always well-expressed, even if all they do is quoting difficult to understand writers.

Medieval Goth: If you should happen upon one outside of this setting you can recognize it by its corset and garter. Can often sew, put on an English accent or handle a large sword. Or all of the above.

Mopey Goth: The sorrow of the world lies on their shoulders and they want you to know it.

Old school Goth: Their black is blacker than your black! They've been listening to Bauhaus since before you were born and this naturally makes them far Gother than thou. They tend to speak that since they are older, they are wiser, so all must bow before them.

Pagan Goth: With their flowing robes and sliver pentacles even normal pagans can be confused with Goths.

Perky Goth: Yes, you can be Goth without being depressed. Yes, you can be Goth while wearing pink glitter. Yes, they do resemble raving lunatics. Who said Goth has to be dull and dark? Perky Goths are out to have fun!

Pretty Goth: Goth babe / boy. These people are perfect; perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect make up.

Punk Goth: Goth began from the end of the punk movement and these people get the best of both worlds.

Role-playing Goth: Fans of Dungeons and Dragons. Also these Goths often seem to spend unnatural amounts of time on their computer.

Romantic Goth: Think Morticia and Gomez Addams for the ultimate version of romantic Goths. Whether quoting Edgar Allan, or presenting each other with black roses these Goths are the epitome of gothic romance. Love knows no true bounds; many polyamorous Goths are romantic Goths as well.

Shock rock Goth: In it entirely for the shock value. Wear black and tell people they're depressed. Worship the devil and call themselves Satanists. These Goths are just trying it on for the sake of giving mommy and daddy a heart attack.

Shy Goth: Hiding away in the shadows at the back of the club if you corner one of these Goths you'll have a job getting a conversation out of them. Dreadfully shy around people, but can be brought out of their shells slowly.

Slut Goth: Found wearing fishnet and high boots. This is the person that everybody lusts after, and luckily they never stay in a relationship long enough to put people off.

Sp00ky kid: Marilyn Manson worshipper. So named because of his original band name, these kids havent an original thought in their heads.

 Trendy Goth: Real Goths shun these trendies and see them as poseurs. Instead of bleach blonde locks these Goths sport black hair, black tops from Gucci and Versace skirts. Haven't a clue who Bauhaus are, but that doesnt matter because they get to have their popularity contests whatever.

Vampire Goth: I'm a 200 hundred year old vampire, I have an greedy thirst, I need human blood! Invariably still live at home with their parents and attend high school. They wear the cheap plastic fangs because their job at McDonald's doesnt pay well enough for the real thing.

Weekender Goth: Only appear on weekends, they spend the rest of the week wandering around in jeans from the Gap and chatting with the jocks. When Friday night comes they hit the clubs made up in a mask of whiteface and eyeliner. Most genuine Goths can easily see through this mask.

Weird Goth: The people that even the Goths give distrustful looks at. They do what they want, say what they think and generally freak everyone around them out. A weird sense of humour and complete lack of embarrassment are basics for this type of goth.

Gothic Clothes