Just what makes one a "Gothic" or "Goth" one might ask?
First, the term itself needs to be defined. A history buff might know that the Goths were a group of Germanic barbarians that invaded the Roman Empire between the 3rd and 5th centuries. Lovers of art and architecture will at once recognize Gothic architecture often seen in massive stone cathedrals, marked by very tall thin arched windows with elaborate stained glass designs. The art itself is dark and morbid, revealing the macabre interests of the Medieval Europeans. A more recent definition of Gothic refers to a movement in literature in the 18th and 19th centuries. Gothic literature is noted by gloomy settings, mysterious and often violent events, and psychological terror of some sort. Some widely known authors of Gothic tales are Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allen Poe, and H.P. Lovecraft. What is known as the Gothic subculture today is actually an offshoot of the punk movement of the 1970s. Groups like Bauhaus and Siouxsie and the Banshees took the punk styles from bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash and gave it a darker sound. It was actually Siouxsie Sioux herself who is credited with coining the phrase ?Gothic? in reference to music. Some other noted Gothic bands over the past 20 years are The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, The Mission UK, Fields of the Nephilim, Christian Death, Curve, Rosetta Stone, and many others. It was the dark clothes and ghastly makeup worn by those early Gothic bands that inspired what has become typical Gothic fashion. Some characteristic of this fashion are dark colored clothing: blacks, dark reds, blues, and purples. Many often wear clothing made from leather, or in newer times PVC, or pieces of fetish attire, such as corsets and bodices. Bondage clothing, shirts or pants adorned with zippers and strap that constrict movement have become recently popular. Both males and females may be seen wearing makeup, which often consists of white, or very pale foundation, with dark colors on the eyes and lips. The dark, elaborate clothing was first meant as a backlash against the colorful clothes of the disco era. Goths may read many of the aforementioned authors and may be interested in Medieval history. Many goths also have an interest in alternative religions such as Paganism, Wicca, even Buddhism, although many are atheist. Although Goths may enjoy the darker things in life, many of them will dispel any rumors of being evil or malicious in any way.
Pete Scathe outlines the beginnings of the Goth movement between 1979 and 1984, and looks at the influences on its development, including bands and fashion.
A site dedicated to the people who reign the night, the Gothic people.
B.A. Robinson dispels some of the myths and preconceived notions about Goths, with references.
Image database, text files, net-goth gallery, club listings, and links.
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