A Study of Gothic Subculture

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Updated 3-12-2009
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It is difficult to determine if Goths are categorically more depressed than others in the general population. Mainstream society often views depression and sadness as an abnormality that must be suppressed or cured. Adolescence is a time of depression for many individuals; yet, those individuals may feel pressure from family, friends or teachers to be "perfect." These young people may feel incredible pain, but do now show it for fear of being derided as if they are abnormal. Some youths find Gothic culture to be one group of people that says, "We know you are depressed -- it's okay. We don't think any less of you for it. Here's your chance express those feelings."

Depression seems to be a feeling that Goth personifies. It is one emotion that typifies goth best. Punk represents rebellion; Industrial represents anger; Goth represents sadness. Many people now feel so alienated from each other that they will break off into small groups, latch onto a specific belief or idea, and form a culture surrounding it. People belong to these subcultures in order to feel as if they own something and are a part of something. They become an exclusive club, not understanding other subcultures or even the parent culture after some time. Subcultures take an idea and exaggerate it to the point where they typify it. This exaggeration of the beauty of sadness in Gothic culture leads people to think that Goths are more depressed than other groups. It is possible that Goths are more depressed that other people. It is also possible that this is just the impression people get about Gothic because it is an exaggerated personification.

Goth happens to be a group of creative individuals; most are artists in some way. Artists have long had the reputation for depression or mental instability, whether it be a valid reputation or not. At the very least, this may be an image that Goth tries to embody -- the tortured artist.

Being Goth does not necessarily cause sadness, but people can easily become trapped in their chosen surroundings and self-expectations. People can start taking the image and stereotype of being depressed and being Gothic too seriously. They find themselves living up to an image; they close themselves off to thoughts, clothes or activities that do not fit this image. This scenario can cause Goths to create more depression for themselves. However, the likelihood of this occurrence is largely dependent on an individual's personality and how he or she perceives Goth. A depressed Goth was likely depressed before he or she became a Goth.

The bottom line is that being Goth does not necessarily mean being depressed. While Goths are capable of feeling extreme sadness, they are also capable of experiencing great joy. Most are able to maintain balance in their lives. To some, Goth only says that sadness, like happiness, has its own majestic beauty and must be embraced as a valid emotion, not pushed down as an abnormality.