A Short Post on Dealing with Elitist, Gother-Than-Thou Types

Despite the Lady of the Manners’ best intentions, a post for September just didn’t happen, and the Lady of the Manners would like to apologize to you Snarklings for that. Of course, with October being THE goth month of celebration, things have been extremely busy around here at the Gothic Charm School lair, so while the Lady of the Manners is working on a new post, have a piece of … bonus content, as it were. ”

Elitists. Gatekeepers. People who say “You’re not a REAL goth unless”. The Gother-Than-Thou scourge of our subculture, and a persistent problem that many of you keep running into. So here: A selection of questions and (slightly rewritten) answers, taken from the gothiccharmschool tumblr, about how to deal with those types of lowly wretches.

Anonymous asked: What’s the difference between being a poseur and being new to the gothy culture? Sometimes it feels like the same thing… =/

Honestly? The Lady of the Manners thinks that “poseur” is a term thrown around by elitist types who are feeling a teensy bit insecure about their “coolness” in comparison to everyone else.
The only thing that would make the Lady of the Manners even consider using the term “poseur” is if someone professed interest or knowledge in something (anything, not just things to do with goth) but were fibbing in order to make themselves feel cooler. If you’re new to gothy culture, fantastic! Go forth and explore, and be thrilled that you will get to experience it for the first time! Don’t feel you have to act knowledgable and jaded; if someone mentions something you haven’t heard of, ask them about it. If they scoff at you or call you a “poseur” in response, the problem is with them, not you.

(There is no Elder Goth Cabal, and if there was, it would be more interested in introducing people to our spooky wonderland, not in being cranky gother-than-thou gatekeepers.)

Anonymous asked: As an eldergoth, what’s your opinion on the recent topic going around YouTube on whether or not you can be goth or not if you don’t like the music? There seems to be a mix of “yes, goth is more than music!” and “no, goth is ALL music.”, and even both “Maybe, just know the history.” Have you ever seen something like this in the past when you were a younger goth?

Of course the Lady of the Manners saw that sort of thing when she was a younger goth. There were people drawing arbitrary lines in the black sand and shouting at each other from both sides: “You’re not a real goth if you don’t know all of the bands and have the limited edition bat-shaped vinyl release of “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” by Specimen!” vs. “You’re not a real goth unless you are constantly clad in fishnets, black lace, and velvet, with your hair sky-high and perfect swirly eyeliner!”

For the record, both sides are absolutely wrong. The goth subculture is a combination of the music and the fashion, and ALSO includes the books, art, and movies that provided the loamy cemetery soil for the modern goth subculture to claw its way out from.

You don’t have to like all the music. You don’t have to embrace the every aspect of the fashion. But YES, please know at least a little bit about where the whole thing came from.
Finally, if any elitist gatekeepers try to tell you otherwise, laugh at them and tell them that your Auntie Jilli and the Elder Goth Cabal (which doesn’t exist) says they’re wrong. Then ignore them forevermore.

Of course, there are other ways you can deal with elitist gatekeeping types, if you don’t quite feel like laughing at them:

Anonymous asked: Do you have tips on how to handle with elitist goths?

Ignore them. If they insist on interacting with you, smile coldly at them and practice saying things like, “That’s your opinion” and “How nice for you”, in as disinterested a tone of voice you can manage. Smother your words with as much bored sarcasm as you possibly can manage.


With that, the Lady of the Manners is going to throw the (as always, moderated) comments open! How do you Snarklings deal with elitists in our subculture?

7 Responses to “A Short Post on Dealing with Elitist, Gother-Than-Thou Types”

  1. dad and patty Says:

    Being a Goth is a Work in Progress. Some are less finished than others. Imagine what they will be in another year, or ten.

  2. Lady of the Manners Says:

    Hi Dad! 🙂

  3. Thea Maia Says:

    And there are those of us who found Goth through the earlier Punk movement. I have never really liked most music that was made specifically under the “goth” label, as you know.

    But really, music is just a tiny facet of such a huge movement of appreciation of the Gothic.

    If you start with the creation of the term Gothic – started as an architectural movement in High and Late Middle ages. Gothic revivals began in mid-18th century England and flourished in the Victorian Era along with reverence of the the morbid (what is more morbid than making hair jewelry from your dead relatives? Or loving photos of the dead so you don’t forget them?) Gotta love Queen Victoria the original black wearing mourner setting fashion!

    I was reading Gothic Romances both classic and new in the 1970’s. And let us all bow down to Stevie Nicks and her original witchy fashion starting in 1975.

    As I have personally stated (and had to defend in college papers) about being Feminist – being a feminist is anything I want it to be – because it is what I am.

    So, I am a Goth. I dyed my hair black the first time in 1980. There was no word for what I was when I started.

    An artist is someone who makes art. A Goth is someone who makes themselves Goth.

    So – ultimately, if you accept the label of Goth and you live with it for more than a Halloween costume – it should be whatever you make of it.

  4. Miss Cherries Says:

    This applies to Stempunk too. You always give such good advice! I will use the “How nice for you. “ a lot.

  5. Nyxxia Says:

    I remember when I was a baby bat and feeling alone and lost in the “normal world” but FELT like I had found a subculture where I fit, only to be TOLD by others that I didn’t for one reason or another (like doing most of my clothes shopping at thrift stores and getting creative but not being able to afford nice corsets). It hurt realizing that there are insecure people who take that out on others EVERYWHERE. I learned to eventual employ the same tactics with elitist goths that I had with any other kind of bully I encountered, ignore them. Looking inward instead of outward for acceptance, no ones opinion matters but your own. 🙂

  6. Nyx Shadowhawk Says:

    The dictionary defines “poseur” as “a person that acts in an affected way to impress others,” which is a pretty accurate description of most babybats. I’ve taken it that poseurs are more interested in the IMAGE of being Goth than actually liking the subculture. So, that’s the difference. Babybats are genuine. Poseurs are not.
    I’m glad I’m not the only one who was troubled by the music thing… I actually remember clicking on a video and having it open with “If you don’t listen to gothic rock, then you’re not a Goth.” That’s … dismissive. Most people who say things like this aren’t trying to be mean or exclusive, they just come across that way because they have a very specific view of the subculture. They tend to be the same kinds of people that draw a distinction between the adjectives “gothic” and “Goth,” describing anything that relates directly to the music scene as “Goth” and everything else as “gothic.” That’s what I’d call Insistent Terminology.
    Recently, I made a list of all the major Goth types, and literally, the ONLY thing they all had in common was a preference for the darker things in life. That’s what brings the subculture together. Not music, or fashion.

  7. TheRedhead Says:

    I’d call my sister-in-law a “poseur” as she’s more interested in the “oh my god you’re so weird” of being Goth than the subculture.
    If she can get some sort of attention from people, she’s going to do whatever she can to get it.
    For example, she has some very…ugly tattoos. I hate to use that word in reference to art, but whoever did them were TERRIBLE artists (yes, artists: all her badly done tattoos were done by different artists).
    And they’re very large and gaudy and she just LOOOOVES the attention she gets for having them.
    And heaven forbid something she likes goes mainstream. She’s going to LOUDLY whine about it and possibly say she hates it now and will never like it again.
    You’d think with her being an Elder Goth she’d be grown up but nope, she just wants ALL the attention she can get by being obnoxious and “weird”.
    Sorry for the rant, but I really don’t like her as she likes to mock me for reacting with something along the lines of “meh” when people say that I am/something I like is weird.
    And she does this to ANYONE she deems “Not Goth Enough”, which means anyone who’s not being Goth just to draw attention to themselves.

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