by Vanity Kills
Date: December 1st, 2008
Entry: the “Black Lipstick Wearing Hippie” myth
Allow me to tell you a little story…
The tale begins thousands of years ago, when dinosaurs ruled the mighty Earth and I was 18. Yours truly was gracing my local Goth dive with my usual sweet and charming presence. A strange girl sashayed past me rockin’ something that screamed “Walmart discount lingerie rack”. An ensemble surely worthy of a day shift stripper for a low low price of $6.99. It is my duty as a catty Goth girl to be the judge, jury, and executioner of any fashion travesty of this magnitude. After all, what just had appeared in front of my eyes wasn’t exactly an outfit, more like a head on multi train collision. As soon as the phrase “What the hell is that?” (Okay, I’m sure I used much harsher language) left my mouth, an ugly troll like creature appeared by side out of nowhere ready to defend the honor of this anonymous yet poorly dressed maiden. Think of a short, fat, and over 40 love child of Captain Crunch and Gimli the dwarf from Lord of the Rings. And don’t forget the ever glamorous skullet. He attacked me for being “so judgmental” and informed me that people embrace the Goth scene to “get away from people like me”.
I guess dressing in black, having big shoes, and bigger hair automatically gives us the innate ability to be ever so tolerant and accepting of everyone around us.
Okay got it. Oh and in case you didn’t know mermaids, unicorns, and leprechauns are fully integrated into modern society too. By the way, I’ve got a bridge to sell you at an attractive price, interested by any chance?
I don’t know if the fugly man gnome and I are part of the same Goth scene, but in the Goth scene I’m a part of, going out dressed to the nines and knowing that you and your friends will be the best outfitted girls at the bar is half the fun. The other half is laughing at the girls with neon green loose kanakelon falls mounted to mousy brown hair.
Fact: If you express yourself by basing your makeup on WWF wrestlers, I have the right to laugh at you.
Imagine how boring a night would be if you couldn’t elbow your friends and giggle in agreement everytime some hot mess that obviously didn’t look in the mirror prior to leaving their house walked by. Political correctness is a necessary evil in the office where if you hurt someone’s feelings your sweet ass is in danger of getting 86ed. What would be the PC term for those who are badly dressed anyway? The attractively challenged? Stylishly disadvantaged? Ha ha ha… is there a Gothic sensitivity training camp I’ll be sent off to for Elitist Aversion Therapy?
They’d pry my eyes open so I’d be forced to look at club shots of kids in Tripp pants, ICP shirts, spiked collars, and Kool Aid dyed hair whilst listening to Covenant’s “Dead Stars”. At the end I’d puke anytime the song would come on (and we all know that happens quite a bit) or I’d get the urge to point out someone’s fatal fashion flaws. I’m sure some of you would love that. ;)
This all goes back to that tired old eternally repetitive question of “What is Goth?”. Some of us are drawn to the darker aesthetic because they feel that Goth as a whole is a subculture shunned by the mainstream and there is strength in numbers when being one of the so called misfits. Many others are just attracted to the elegance of days past or the fantasy of the Hi Tech future that lies ahead. The majesty and refined elegance of Victorian mourning garb. Or the sleekness, symmetry, and cold android like grace of a well put together cybergoth get up. Both styles project an air of elitism. If you can pull it off you’re doomed to people deeming you unapproachable. People will either hate you because they’re jealous or kiss your ass. You can’t really avoid it and it comes with the territory.
Back when I was 18, my Gothness had no punk undertones. It was not a political statement. It wasn’t to show the world that I am open minded and that I reject the preps, cheerleaders, and thugs that populated my high school. I didn’t cast aside the mainstream because I was tired of the mall worshipping consumer mentality of the American teenager and wore black outfits in protest. Not even close. I just thought that their attire and more importantly music sucked. I wanted to cover myself in a wardrobe fit for a queen (I was all about the velvet and lace in high school) from head to toe. I liked my aural stimuli dark and romantic or angry and synthesized. Revolting against anything never entered the equation. Thus calling out people on their latest Hot Topic travesties does NOT make me hypocrite. It just makes me GOTH. Just makes me female. We’re not at all different from our cheerleader friends. Our outfits are just 10x cuter.
Perhaps the vertically challenged homely hobgoblin that deemed himself so morally superior to me and decided to lecture me on the folly and error of my gossiping ways would’ve been better off joining a hippie commune where everyone is special in their own way. Acid and saggy boobed sky clad women dancing for everyone!
I mean if black lipstick really held the mystical powers of open mindness, erased all prejudicial thoughts, and gave everyone the urge to hold hands and sing kumbaya, wouldn’t Manic Panic become a government agency? Wouldn’t all KKK members be captured and forced to wear Robert Smith’s tousled hair likeness on their chests and voila no more cross burnings. Black Panthers would suddenly realize how pointless it is to hate whitey upon being given vampire capes. The Taliban would no longer throw acid on Afghan schoolgirls for committing the crime of wanting to be a woman with an education after being mandatorily tattooed with the face of Peter Murphy on their right butt cheek.
I guess because some jocks make fun of you, you’re automatically supposed to be kind to others. Yeah right. In reality most people can’t wait to take it out on someone else and make them pay their due. A PVC dress does not change human nature.
If one is looking for a safe haven from the criticism and cruelty of the world, a scene where one faces the risk of social ridicule for being unable to properly recite Skinny Puppy’s complete discography in 30 seconds or less, the Goth/Industrial collective might not be the place for them. The New Age movement might be more what you’re looking for. They strongly embrace the self deluding “everyone is an unique snowflake” mentality. The rest of us with self esteem strong enough to handle the occasional naysayer, just talk smack back about the offender to anyone and everyone within ear shot. Then move on. If your ego is completely shattered by someone hating your new foam hair, then perhaps take the booze money you were spending at the bar and visit a therapist and nurse your wounded psyche back to health.
It’s just a club. It’s just a bad outfit choice. It’s just someone else’s opinion. For goodness sake… it’s just GOTH. ;)