I’m a Goth, not a witch or a disciple of the devil

The Winston-Salem Journal, Nov. 18, 2002

I live in a small town. Mayberry, to be exact. I go to Mount Airy High School, where my class had only 132 people the last time I counted. At this school, I am the only Goth.

Some of you may be wondering, “What is Goth?” I’ll gladly explain.

It’s a fairly large subculture of teen-age through 30-something people who usually dress in vintage clothing. My preference is Renaissance clothing, but people wear things from medieval times up to the 1920s. Guys’ Goth clothing isn’t really that diverse. Usually just tight pants, bondage straps (don’t be scared, those are just cloth straps that hang down from either side of the shirt or pants), and a random shirt that could be mesh.

There is a larger variety of female Goth clothing. Bodices, corsets, belled sleeves, skirts, dresses, pants, extravagant shirts. You name it. And usually, these are black, or some other dark color.

Since most of the people who go to my school wear Abercrombie and Fitch and watch stupid teen movies where Goths are made out to be devil worshipers, there are bound to be some misunderstandings. I’m writing this to clear up a few of those.

First, not all Gothic people are devil worshipers or witches (and there is a difference). Personally, I am a Baptist. I attended Haymore Memorial Baptist Church every Sunday that I possibly can. I even helped start a Wednesday morning prayer group at my school.

But just because I’m Goth, people think I’m a witch. I have had more than a few people ask me about that, and almost every book I read that is not assigned by a teacher is thought to be a spell book.

None of these things have really bothered me that much. The one thing that did really hurt my feelings was an incident on a youth-group trip.

We had gone to a funeral home to have a serious discussion about death, and a guy walked up to me and said, “You must be having the time of your life” just because I dress Gothic. What sense did it make to say that to me when I was at a church function?

If I felt that way, why would I be involved in my youth group to begin with?

That brings me to my second point. Not all Goths like death. I don’t listen to “death metal” rock or have pictures of autopsies pasted up in my room. Death doesn’t scare me because I’m a Christian, but it does make me upset. My hamster died when I was 11 and I cried for two hours straight. I can’t stand to hear about anything or anyone suffering.

Third, not everyone who wears black every day is Goth. Just because you like the color black doesn’t mean that you are Goth.

Of course, different people have different definitions, but don’t assume that because someone wears all black, they consider themselves to be a Goth.

Of course, I can’t speak for every Gothic person when I say all this. Each one is different.

But that’s just my point. No one likes to be stereotyped. And stereotypes are usually not true anyway. For instance, I have Advanced Placement English with a few very nice – and not snobby – cheerleaders.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday November 18, 2002.
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