A goth is a fan of gothic music. Gothic music came about in the early 1980's with bands like The Cure, Bauhaus, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Gothic music has evolved so much today as there are many different types of it. Anyone can be goth and not even dress the part. For example, a person wearing a pair of blue jeans and a flannel shirt can be goth. If you listen to gothic music, you're goth. It's as simple as that. However, there is actually a lot to goth and even many different types of goths ie: perkygoth
, etc. While I say that a goth is a fan of gothic music which is generally true, it is also many things. That is why we have so many different permutations of goth because there really is NO ONE TRUE definition of it. Someone is drawn to goth for one reason or another, takes it into their own hands and adds their own spin on it, making the subgenres of goth that I already mentioned above and the list goes on and on. Goth is basically anything you wish it to be. However, I think before one calls themselves goth, they should at least be familiar with the music.
As for the stereotypes, they are not true. Goths are not suicidal, they are not depressed, they are not satan worshippers, they do not cut themselves, and they do not have to wear black constantly. Besides, ANYONE can be depressed. Yes, there are goths that are depressed no doubt, but there are also many "mundane" as they are called in the scene, or "normal" people who are depressed as well. I'm sure however, that unforturnately, there are goths who do fit the other stereotypes but all goths should not be stereotyped!
I already listed examples above: a fan of gothic music generally makes a goth. A goth does not have to dress the part as well as a goth certainly doesn't have to wear strictly black all of the time. It really depends on what an individual chooses to wear and it would probably be, whatever they're comfortable in.