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The ‘Goth’ subculture

GothIn Tuesday’s G2, Dave Simpson argued that the Goth subculture amongst sections of today’s youth is probably a good thing (via). Quoting an academic from Sussex University:

Most youth subcultures encourage people to drop out of school and do illegal things. Most goths are well educated, however. They hardly ever drop out and are often the best pupils. The subculture encourages interest in classical education, especially the arts. I’d say goths are more likely to make careers in web design, computer programming … even journalism.

This is not normally the kind of thing I’d pick up on. I knew many goths, but could never claim to have been one. However, something does quite regularly strike me. Often, on a Wednesday, I trundle back from my morning in GP Land and stop off at Sainsbury’s to pick up some groceries and other sundries. Now, my local branch of Sainsbury’s (which is laid out most oddly, but that’s by-the-by) is just down the road from the local Sixth Form College, and many of the students pop down there to purchase their lunch (and they might possible pick up some other sundries too).

As I’ve shopped, I’ve become increasingly aware of the disdainful attitude of the staff and other customers towards these youths – some of whom are dressed in the Gothic style. This is despite that fact that during my regular visits, I have never – never – seen any of the pupils misbehaving in the shop. Yes, they’re boisterous and occasionally loud, but that’s not really doing anyone any harm. I can quite easily pick up my shopping with no trouble whatsoever. And yet these young people are tutted at, often stalked by staff, and generally treated as second-class citizens. This is based purely on their profile as young people.

I ask you, if the staff of Sainsbury’s had a similarly negative attitude towards elderly people, would it be acceptable? Certainly not. And yet the elderly cause more logistical headaches for the supermarket than do the young people, through no fault of their own. They tend to require more assistance, and tend to spend longer in the shop, for example. The basis for the blatant discrimination against the young people appears to be a popular stereotype perpetuated by the popular press, and no-one complains about this. Society views youngsters and a nuisance, not recognising that these are the doctors, lawyers, and priests of the future, whilst simultaneously rejecting the disrespect of the elderly based on their past lives as doctors, lawyers, and priests. And yet surely it is more logical to respect someone for what they have the potential to become than to respect them for what they have been, and will never be again.

If a section of the community is not respected, then respect is not fostered within that group. If we insist on discriminating against and criminalising the harmless, natural activities of the teenagers of this country, then we cause more problems than we solve. So next time you see a ‘goth’, or read about some kid being given an ‘ASBO’, please look beyond the stereotype, and respect that the individual you’re tutting at today might well be caring for you tomorrow.

This post was filed under: Media, Miscellaneous.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Anonymous

    07.19, 08/01/2007

I agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment from Karl Rohr

    13.33, 09/02/2007

Yea, I am sick of the discrimination I suffer everytime I walk through town. By the way, check out http://groups.yahoo.com/group/godhatesgoth
In my oppinon it is a Neo Christian cult, mind you I am methodist myself. I hope you continue doing research and writing off of this artical. Contact me at diablo_hellsing@yahoo.com If anyone would like to discuss this issue with me.

Comment from kinjya

    19.02, 27/02/2007

you know its about time i find something good about the stuff i am known for, i am known as gothic at my school and everyone around here thinks gothic people are all suicidal and wanna kill everyone, well, i want my education, and yea maybe i hunt but not to kill peopl, and also, i am a nice person alot of the time, but all people think when they see me is death girl and stay away she might kill us all, i like hearing good things about all this, not like alot of people who think we are bad people without knowing us…

sincerely yours: kinjya of the ghostpack

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    21.31, 28/02/2007

I’m glad you’ve both found this page, and glad you agree! Thanks for your comments.

Comment from Lily

    23.07, 07/06/2007

Yes, very well put. I’ve been what you might call “goth” for well over 18 years now (nope, haven’t “grown out of it”). And I AM a nurse. Of course, when on the job and wearing surgical scrubs, deciphering that I’m a goth is a bit tricky.

Comment from Anonymous

    12.04, 11/06/2007

I like this as it proves that we are not monsters intent on destruction and ‘self harm’. there will always be extremists in every subculture. so why is it just this culture that seems to be picked on?

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    09.46, 12/06/2007

Thanks for your comments, Lily and Anon. It’s always interesting to read the views of “goths” themselves on this issue. 🙂

Comment from Kinjya

    13.32, 21/11/2007

i figures i would drop in to see what is happening here now, its been a while, still the same as before, still treated the same by alot of people at my school, just figured that you should all know, people fear what they dont understand, and dont want to take the time to understand what they do not know about, they jump to too many conclusions, my parents said i would grow out of the “gothic scene” but ive been like this for as long as i can remember, just want to let all of you know, dont let what others say stop you from being who you are, and dont let them make you change, you make your own furture…

once again…
sincerely.. Kinjya Of The Ghostpack

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18th November 2008.

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sjhoward.co.uk » The BBC’s “Have Your Say” feature adds value

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