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Racism/Colorism in the Goth Community

Submitted by DaisyDisaster in goth

To be clear, I'm not accusing the entire goth community of being explicitly racist, but I do wonder how much lurks beneath the surface, especially because of one particular practice. A lot of goths use very stark white makeup or makeup that is lighter than their skin tone to achieve a lighter-skinned look. I've been known to do it in the past.

Regardless of its origins (it's been a while since I've read up on it, but if I'm remembering correctly, its influences include Gothic lit and the silent film era), I'm thinking of its effects on the goth scene today and how it contributes to racism and colorism. Although there are those who try to give more exposure to goths of color, having very light, white skin seems to still be a beauty ideal in the scene. I've stopped using foundation lighter than my actual skin because I'm concerned that this idealization of having the whitest skin possible is a reflection of white supremacy in that it privileges white/white-passing people.

What do y'all think?

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Dumai wrote

to be honest given how many goths seem to overtly fetishise aristocratic victorian fashion im kind of not surprised that this scene would have problems with racist aesthetics! in fact this is kind of why i resisted calling myself goth until my dress sense basically got to the point that it was impossible to deny what i am.

anyway i'd say you're thinking along the right lines here

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[deleted] wrote

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Dumai wrote

well i mean there's the whole thing about white cybergoths with dreadlocks which is appropriative as heck but aside from that.. well they just kind of look ridiculous don't you think

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[deleted] wrote

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DaisyDisaster wrote

One of the things I'm concerned about in regards to why there aren't more POC in the scene (at least in regards to North America, as there are scenes in other regions) is that they see that there are few of them represented and that white people are trying to be, uh, more white, so they decide that it's not a place they'd feel welcome.

I guess it's been especially concerning for me because my boyfriend is non-white and has said that he wishes he had my white complexion because he finds it more aesthetically pleasing. He also doesn't think he belongs in "good" (which, in context, I interpreted as white) neighborhoods because he's a first generation American. I don't want people to feel that way about the goth scene because of its aesthetic focus on whiteness.

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TheDevilAndMrJones wrote

At least my favorite Gothic artist, Voltaire, is not a bigot and is (possibly) bisexual. His fans are pretty cool too.