I. The Gothic personality.
Generally speaking, true Goths are intelligent, artistic individuals with an almost fanatic reverence for the arts and all types of beauty. Many Goths possess certain qualities prior to their initial identification with the subculture or even their knowledge that it exists; some of these qualities include thoughtfulness, creativity, intelligence, shyness, and an introspective nature.
II. The Gothic philosophy.
I will strive to sum this up in as few words as possible. The Gothic subculture is based on the idea of finding beauty and light in all those things dark, grotesque, tragic, and sorrowful. The seeming fixation with Death is an example of this; Goths embrace things that cause fear and revulsion in mainstream society, because in truth they are no less beautiful than their daylight counterparts.
If any among you wishes to further enlighten him or herself, I suggest the study of old Gothic literature, the very best of which is exemplified in the works of Dante, Shelley, Byron, Lovecraft, and Poe.
III. Gothic music.
The term "Gothic" was, to my knowledge, first used to describe the emerging subculture by the band Joy Division in the late 70's. Along with Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy, and The Cure, this band helped establish Gothic as a musical genre. The Gothic sound is characterized by dark, brooding, strange music that can sound cacophonous to the uninitiated. Some other notable Goth bands include Switchblade Symphony, Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil, and Christian Death. By the way, bands that are widely mislabeled as being Gothic, yet are NOT, include (to name a few): Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Type O Negative, Evanescence.
IV. Gothic attire.
Most people know that Goths favor black if they know anything at all. There are so many different styles of dress among Goths that I dare not attempt a complete list; here are some of the most commonly worn materials and articles of clothing among Goths: velvet, silk, fishnet stockings, PVC, brocade, lace, LOTS of boots, things with buckles, dark jewel tones such as purple and wine colored garments, gloves, very high heels, band T-shirts, chokers, corsets. Many Goths, especially the "old-school" Goths, will tease their hair mercilessly with crimpers and hairspray to achieve an "Edward Scissorhands" type of effect. Hair dye is, of course, widely used. Traditional Gothic makeup consists of stark-white powder, and black or dark eyeliner and lipstick. Men and women both have a tendency to pluck their eyebrows nearly out of existence, and then draw them back in. It goes without saying that a person who looks like this is not necessarily a Goth. This aesthetic, however, is an intrinsic part of the subculture and cannot be disregarded for its superficiality; Goths tend to thrive on artifice anyway.
V. Miscellaneous Information.
Goths are commonly found passing their free time in small coffee houses, book shops, art galleries, Gothic clubs, and, of course, cemeteries. Many Goths smoke; clove cigarettes are very popular with our crowd. Drugs of choice for those Goths who wish to indulge in the vice may include Speed, LSD, Alcohol, Ecstasy, and the like...I applaud those who abstain from drug use, for they have greater strength than my own. Goths frequently enjoy movies and television shows such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Hunger, Nosferatu, and The Addams Family. Goths do NOT eat bugs and drink blood; we eat Cheerios just like everyone else.
I myself have been a part of the subculture for a mere two years-- I am by no means a veteran of the Scene, but my passion for it is great and grows continuously. I hope that this definition has been useful. To know more, I suggest The Autumn Cemetery Text (available online... google it).
Famous goths, despite their denials of affiliation with the scene, include Peter Murphy, Andrew Eldritch, and Siouxsie Sioux.
by jade suspira April 05, 2006
I don't know anymore. There are so many definitions of goth nowdays, especially music. For example:

There's classic goth music, like the Sisters Of Mercy (including the greatest 80's pop song ever made, This Corrosion) and Bauhaus. There's Victorian-style goth, but that's rare. The only good example I can think of is Rasputina. (Their song "Transylvanian Concubine" was on a Buffy soundtrack.) There's electrogoth, like Switchblade Symphony and Faith and The Muse.

After this, things get fuzzy.

Symphonic metal, like Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil, is sometimes considered gothic metal. Industrial music, like Nine Inch Nails, occcasionally mixes with gothic music. Electrogoth and electropop sometimes overlap, an example being Ladytron and Depeche Mode. There's pagan rock, like Inkubus Sukkubus, but the only reason that has a gothic following is because many goths follow a Pagan or Wiccan path.

In conclusion, no one knows what goth is anymore, because it's forked so many times. However, it is agreeded upon that Marilyn Manson is not goth.
"What is gothic music?"

"I...just don't know anymore."
by My name! MINE! September 21, 2007
I am a goth, but I do not fit into most of those categories!

*cut myself
*drink blood
*hang round in cemeteries
*wear nothing but black
*wear black and white make-up 24/7
*listen to "goth" music 24/7
*hate people because they don't dress like me
*have any of the same clothes as my friends
*always go to goth pubs and drink anything red
*worship Satan
*have every possible part of myself pierced or tattooed

*eat meat, junk food & any other kind of food I can
*wear lip gloss sometimes and a bit of eyeliner
*go to "normal" pubs and drink wkd Blue
*have many types of friends: goths, trendies, townies, emos
*have a leather trenchcoat (but no, i do not agree with the so called "trenchcoat Mafia")
*sometimes wear blue, or red, or purple
*hate people that can't accept that everyones the same: if you skin a goth, skin a townie, skin a gay person or skin a coloured person, they are all the same underneath.

Its not the clothes or the music I hate, its the attitude of the people.
Walking to the shop whilst wearing a leather trenchcoat:-

"townie": "oi, Matrix"
me: "hmmmmm, right"

Being a white female and all:-

"townie": oh my god, you're Blade, innit?"
me: "not seeing the distinction between me and a very tall, muscly, black guy"
"townie": "hahaha, its Blade"

this is the funniest one though

Walking with my boyfriend through the local fair to get to the pub:-

"townie girl 1": paedophile, goficks, satanists
"townie girl 2": oi, you goficks
Us: yes??
Townie girls: Why's u goficks? dus you like cutting yourselves and drinking blood and stuff?
Us: no, why?
Townie girls: why's u goficks?
Us: why are you townies?
Townie girls: we ain't no fucking townies, we's casual!
Us: you look like townies to us, its all about your attitude, anyways, why are we goths?
Townie girls: coz you wearing black
me: but your wearing a black cardigan, does that make you a goth?
<townie girls look at each other for a while>
townie girls: we aint goficks.

At that point we were laughing too much and had to leave! i got bored of them and tuned out, lol
by Gothicmidnight_isle of wight January 07, 2005
You are NOT Goth Just Because You Wear Black

You Are NOT Goth Just Because You Like Horror Movies

You Are NOT Goth Just Because You Are Depressed

You Are NOT Goth Just Because You Think It Looks Neat

You Are NOT Goth Just Because You Listen To Metal (which isn't real goth music by the way)

You Are NOT Goth Just Because You Like Blood

You Are NOT Goth Because You "cut yourself"

You Are NOT Goth Because You Wear Tripp Jeans

You Are NOT Goth Because "love " Hot Topic

A True Goth isn't defined by their look but by their music.

I am going to try to put this into my own words as much as possible because I am tired of "trendy teens" Calling themselves goth and giving us a bad name.

Lets start at the early goth first. The Gothic Romanticism.

Gothic was a type of architecture as i;m sure most of you are well aware. The ruins of the Gothic architecture became to symbolize the inevitable decay and collapse of human creations. This is where Gothic Literature stemmed from. The writings were meant to produce the same feel of emotions as the Gothic architecture for lack of better word. Think of Edgar Allan Poe and how his writing mostly stood for the collapse of the human psyche. See where this ties together? This is where the Victorian Goth style also comes from.

Now Fast forward a few hundred years to the most recent and well know revival of goth in the 70's.

First Generation Goth- 1979-1985

this derived from post-punk with the most influential bands of this time being Siouxsie and the Banshees, Christian Death, Bauhaus, and sisters of mercy. These are just a few of the many bands where goth music has derived from. If the music doesn't have some kind of resemblance to this kind of music it is NOT goth. Metal is NOT goth. I love metal but please don't confuse it with goth. So all you COF fans out there..hate to tell you this but they aren't goth. They are Black Metal and Marilyn Manson? Nope. He is just EBM. Nothing more and nothing less.

Now Second Generation goth- 1985-1995

By now the post-punk era was starting to give way to some newer music styles such as the blending of industrial with Gothic themes as seen in such bands like Skinny Puppy and Depeche Mode.

Now Here We are. Third Generation 1995-present

The Gothic aesthetic has become popular due to bands such as HIM, Marilyn Manson, Within Temptation, whose music is nowhere near being Gothic but because of their looks they have become associated with that genre much to the chagrin of true goths everywhere. Hot topic also helped to make this culture mainstream and breeding mall goths who probably have never even heard of Siouxsie Sioux.

In order to be a "true goth" you have to love true Gothic music. And it should be a good majority of what you listen too. Liking one song by switchblade symphony and then listening to nothing but nightwish and within temptation won't make you a goth, no mater how much make-up or hair gel you are wearing.

So please learn about a culture before you try to embrace it and end up embarrassing yourself and others.

And try listening to some old school Goth/Punk

Siouxise and the Banshees, and the Cure are always good start.

Person 1-What are your favorite goth bands?

Person 2-I like Christian Death, Suspiria, Bauhaus, Siouxsie, and Lamb Of God Is pretty kick ass too.

Person 1-Awesome.
by RubyBloodDrop October 17, 2008
Goth is a kind of cultural movement, or anti-cultural even. They do not drink blood or sacrafice small children, nor do they eat bats and wear pvc and pale make up all the time.
Goths separate themselves from popular trends and fads only to find that goth itself is becoming a trend fast, goths aren't what they used to be.
Goths are cool, but theyr'e falling into the trap of cultural imitation.
by Citezen:Erased April 08, 2005
goth is a subculture that grew out of the punk culture in the 80s.

i will agree with non-goths in that most goths are very evasive when it comes to defining the term "goth." i will also agree with them in that "goths" who simply whine and make fun of non-"goths" are pricks. most "goths" don't really know what it means to be goth.

the gothic period (late 1700s-1800s) was a period of the "sublime." rather than look for skin deep beauty in something, the gothics would look for intellectual or moral value. for example, they would prefer a battered old castle staircase to a sparkling new marble staircase because the old one has more character.

the TRUE goths of today are named this way because they follow this thought pattern of looking for the thought-provoking instead of the aesthetic. why revel in the darker side of life? "sinister" things (i.e., death, fate) provide more food for thought than pretty things (i.e., blue skies, love).

thinking in this rather morbid way usually results in the true goth being rather satirical. SOMETIMES they may be withdrawn and maybe a little snide, but this is because knowledge is a burden.

the pseudo-goth (the one everyone thinks of when they hear "goth"; bear in mind, i do NOT consider these people goth) is some middle school douche who shops at hot topic and listens to music in the gothic genre (i.e., bauhaus) whether or not they actually like the music. they are quick to judge people and make fun of them every chance they get.

then theres the TRUE goth (like me). we think in the manner of the people of the aforementioned gothic period. some of us are "artsy" simply because we can express our knowledge so freely in it. we don't *neccessarily* shop at hot topic (though they have some cool shirts) and we don't *neccessarily* listen to goth music/death metal (i like pink floyd & queen). we are intellectuals.

most of us are pretty nice. many goths are outcasts in some perspective, so they are often receptive to people who need a friend.
fake goth (aka valley girl goth): like, oh my goth, gag me with a crucifix! i got this bauhaus shirt because ellen and julia and megan and paula have it! i'm so individual! i wish i knew what bauhaus was...

real goth (like me): ...style doesn't make a goth; your thought process is most important
by unusu-al October 03, 2004
Goth isnt...

wearing black every day
trying to be scary and intimidating
Green Day
black eyeliner
punk music
baggy pants with chains
Being evil
black lipstick
Marilyn Manson
devil worship
being depressed
pale white foundation
rugs and alcohol
hating life
heavy metal
Hot Topic
blood guts and gore

Goth isnt about how black your clothes are, how many piercings you have, how crappy you can make your eyeliner look, being tough and intimidating, acting or being depressed, listening to mainstream metal or punk, or even acting elite and better than everyone just because you know who Bauhaus is.


The Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, Fields of the Nephilim, The Mission, All About Eve, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, London After Midnight, (some) Siouxsie and the Banshees, Faces of Sarah, Inkubus Sukkubus, Merry Thoughts, Manuskript, Clan of Xymox, Midnight Configuration, Suspiria, Ausgang, Danielle Dax, Carcrash International, Specimen, Mephisto Walz, Rozz Williams, March Violets, The Creatures, the Birthday Party, Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Die Laughing, Death in June, X-Mal Deutschland, Lene Lovich, Nina Hagen, And Also the Trees, Batfish Boys, In the Nursery, Ipso Facto, Flesh for Lulu, Ordo Equium Solis, Rossetta Stone, Tones on Tail, This Mortal Coil, Killing Joke, Current '93, Dead Can Dance, The Machine in the Garden, Gene Loves Jezebel, Véronique Diabolique, The Cure, Joy Division, Cinema Strange, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths, Coil, Cocteau Twins, The Damned, The Tear Garden, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cruxshadows, The Pixies, Legendary Pink Dots, Moev, Love and Rockets, Ministry, Sleeping Dogs Wake, The Church, and The Cassandra Complex.

Despite the fact that outward appearance does not constitute gothness, many people within the subculture do choose to dress a particular way. Its not usually a matter of conformity, but for aesthetics. For instance, while its tacky to wear white foundation, people within the subculture often seem to find natural paleness more attractive than a tan for whatever reason. Its more aesthetically pleasing, therefore a goth who tends not to venture into the sun without protection may not be doing that to seem overtly goth, but only because pale skin makes them feel more beautiful. The same goes for style.

The gothic "uniform" varies from person to person, for those who choose to wear it. (Its definitely not required.) In fact, its not even a uniform, since creativity, innovation, and style are embraced. Goth style isnt the black t-shirt and baggy pants that the Hot Topic generation would have you believe. Thats not very creative or unique at all. Nor is it aethetically pleasing. Also, black is NOT a must. Other commonly worn color are emeralds, navys, purples, crimsons, and even white and cream.
Various types of materials besides common cotton and polyester are often incorporated into style too. Crushed velvet is popular, along with leather, pvc, lace, rubber, latex, and silk. Bondage fashion is worn by a few, and that doesnt mean wearing Hot Topic pants with those stupid bondage straps in the back. Corsets are a gothic staple for ladies and men. In many instances, Victorian and Edwardian fashions are adopted and modified to unique styles as well. Gothic style is style. Its about looking good, well dressed, made up, gorgeous. For those who choose to don the goth apparel, throwing on Manson t-shirt and some black lipstick isnt going to cut it.

Recently, goth fashion has evolved into something more inspired by other genres like electronica, ebm, darkwave, and industrial as well as goth. Its not always the classic velvet and lace look.

Please do not use certain internet sites to further perpetuate ignorance. Just because a site has the word goth in the URL or somewhere on the page doesnt mean its the ultimate master on all things goth. For every decent website giving good, informed info, there are 10 more passing off stereotypes and nonsense to whoever wants to listen. Use common sense. Find out whats up from people who actually know whats up. You wouldnt ask a preschooler their thoughts on cognitive neuroscience, would you?
"I'm so goth, me. Now lookit my I-pod with all my Cradle of Filth mush"

"I'm SUiCiDaL sO i MuSt Be A gOtH rIgHt?"
by DeadCanDanceDemon November 07, 2008
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