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If someone is a member of the Goth subculture, chances are that they've heard one of these comments from someone.

  • "But Goths are Satanists!"
  • "Are you doing drugs?!"
  • "Are you depressed/suicidal?"
  • "So, do you cut yourself?"
  • "You're too happy to be Goth."
  • "But you're so nice!"
  • "But you wear other colors besides black!"
  • "Are you in a cult?"
  • "You don't listen to metal/etc.!"
  • "Do you practice magick?"
  • "Do you think you're a vampire?"

And the list goes on.

Even though the media will portray Goth as less than friendly and safe, the fact is that it's a very open-minded, intellectual and creative one. There's studies about Goth students and intelligence, and it turns out that these students are generally the smarter of the bunch, the ones that enjoy reading and learning, and the ones that make it to jobs like lawyers, doctors, or managers. These students aren't encouraged to drop out of school, in fact, they're encouraged to continue learning and exploring classical literature. There's an article on it here .

At the end of the day, what it boils down to is that the Goth subculture truly is an entire subculture.

  • Subculture: "A cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture." ~ Google Definitions

The Goth subculture is one that adores the dark, the morbid, and the topics that most other people would find too depressing to think about. However, like America's widespread culture, Goth works with people of all religions and people of no religion. There are no religious requirements in order to be a Goth, which is why there are so many Gothic style crosses, pentagrams, and other such symbols like anhks. There are no music requirements, no ethnicity requirements despite the fondness of a pale pallor, no dress requirements, and absolutely no mood requirements. Goths can be as vibrant, happy, and eccentric as they like, and that's why so many people are drawn to the subculture, along with a very possible fondness for horror or mythical creatures or the spooky.

So where did people get the idea that all Goths are Satanists?

The fact that people frequently associate Satanists with black clothing, being "creepy" and being "not right in the head" would conclude them to believe that Goth and Satanist mean the same thing. While it may be true that Satanists dress in a similar way to Goths, it in no way means that all Goths are Satanists, just like all witches aren't Goths either. (I once heard that someone was told they had to be Goth to be a witch. There's absolutely no requirement for either thing!) Goth is also not a cult, it's an entire society for people who enjoy the simply dark aspects and undersides of life. As Jillian Venters, wonderful advice columnist and writer of Gothic Charm School stated, there is no "Goth Cabal" that dictates what people are required to do to become or stay a Goth.

There are Christian Goths, Buddhist Goths, Hindu Goths, Pagan and Wiccan Goths, Atheist Goths and more. Absolutely no religion is specified to Goth lifestyle. The diversity in the subculture allows for a more open-minded, tolerant, and educational experience as people exchange information about their beliefs.

Do Goths self harm, do drugs, or partake in vandalism?

There is no subculture that owns self harm or drugs, and Goths are typically peaceful in nature, they don't like destructive acts, especially on graveyards. People of all types have the ability to feel sad, and hurt themselves. Just because someone is a Goth, does NOT mean that they self harm or are depressed. Drugs are also not specified to any subculture, and Goths will be less than amused to be accused of using them. The older ones may have a drink and cigarette here and there, but hard drugs are absolutely not affiliated with this subculture in any way. The Goths adore graveyards and classical, fine expression, so why they would vandalize anything would be a complete mystery. Just because Goths wear dark clothes, dark makeup and have piercings, tattoos, and interesting or different tastes in music, doesn't mean they're bad people, drug fiends, depressed, or destructive hooligans in any shape or form. It also doesn't mean that someone HAS to be depressed in order to be a Goth. There are very many who are happy with their life and their style. In fact, many Goths are confident with themselves because they love the way they look and the music they listen to.

Do all Goths think they're vampires?

Absolutely not. While there are many in the subculture who adore the creatures (the ones as portrayed by Bram Stoker and Anne Rice as opposed to Stephanie Meyer) a very small minority would actually believe that they in truth, are vampires, and it's actually linked to the Vampyre Subculture, which is completely different. There are Goths who like to dress as such creatures, called Vampire Goth, but they won't go around biting necks and sucking blood with their plastic fang caps.

All Goths listen to heavy metal!

This is incredibly untrue. There are types of Goth, such as Romantic Goth and Victorian Goth that would prefer softer music like classical and opera, and types like Cyber Goth that prefer techno. There are many Goths who have their "guilty pleasure" genre of choice that's completely unrelated to Goth in any shape or form. (I find myself enjoying some of the more mainstream pop songs from time to time.) Once again, in Jillian Venter's words, the "Goth Cabal" did not, does not, and will not ever exist, or tell Goths what they must do, listen to, and wear.

Goths are rude.

There are some Goths that may be less than friendly to people outside the subculture as a defense mechanism from torment that they've suffered all too much before, but on the wholeside, Goths are generally very nice and open-minded people. They won't really cut your head off if you want to ask them about their clothes, their makeup, why they dress the way they do, and other such things. However, if you're going to ask them these things, please be polite about it because it will make them much more willing to be polite and informative in return than if you teased them.

Goths are all white and they all have black hair.

Once again, very untrue. Even though the pale skinned look is incredibly common and almost a key marker to identify many in the Goth subculture, it's not a requirement to express one's spooky, dark ways. People of all skin, hair and eye colors are freely able to participate in the subculture. (Personally, I think darker skinned people look lovely in the elaborate clothes and most blond-haired people have a beautiful ability to pull off black lipstick.) No one should be tormented for being a "poser" just because they aren't stark white with raven black hair.


Want to know more about Goth and all the different types? Click one of the links below. For information about related scenes, see the Goth Cousins box.


Types of Goth
Trad Goth Romantic Goth ~ Cyber Goth ~ Fetish Goth ~ Victorian Goth ~ Vampire Goth ~ Bubble Goth ~ J-Goth ~ Medival Goth ~ Hippy Goth ~ Tribal Goth ~ Fairy Goth ~ Steampunk ~ Emo Goth ~Cabaret Goth ~ Gothabilly ~ Geek Goth ~ Corp Goth ~ Baby Bat
Goth Cousins
Punk ~ Rivithead ~ Metalhead ~ Deathrocker ~ Emo

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