Sexiness and Gender in Gothic Youth Culture. How do Ideals of Beauty Relate to Gender Roles?


Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2014

22 Pages, Grade: 3,0


Excerpt

Table of Contents

1. The Different Layers of the Goth Culture

2. The Goth Youth Culture
2.1. A Brief Insight into the Emerge of the Goth Subculture and Prevalent Ideologies
2.2. Fashion and Lifestyle
2.2.1. The Importance of Fashion and the Goth’s Ideal of Beauty
2.2.2. Sexiness and Salability
2.2.3. Gender Roles

3. Goth Subculture: Different Layers of Fashion, Beauty, Sexiness and Gender

Works Cited

Web Publications Cited

Pictures Cited

1. The Different Layers of the Goth Culture

This year, the year 2014, is the year of the 250th anniversary of (Neo-) Gothic and n Horace Walpole´s novelThe Castle of Otranto,published in 1764, is seen as the first representa-n tive of the Gothic romance. Its main innovation was to arouse opposed emotions such as hor-n ror and commiseration. This use of a radical contrast is one of the hallmarks of Gothic: light n and dark, good and evil, love, sex and death. ‘Gothic’ is to be counted to one of those terms n that have to be observed more closely because it contains more than at first sight. Gothic is n not just black clothes and a depressive attitude. It rather turns out to be really difficult to en-n compass because it comprises many different aspects: Gothic stands for architecture, for litera-n ture and for the special present subculture: the Goths. This term paper does not approach the n architectural or literary aspects of Gothic. This term paper investigates and explores the n Gothic subculture and attempts to bridge the gap between the question of what ideals of n beauty and sexual appeal are prevalent in the Gothic scene and how do they relate to notions n of gender.

During the venture of capturing Gothic in its complete dimension, one might n come across terms like subversion or reinvention which is typical Gothic and therefore it is not n a surprise that the modern Gothic subculture seems to be slightly obscure itself. And it is really n hard to define who is an authentic Goth or what prevalent ideas are behind this special life-n style.1 So I tried to inform myself as detailed as possible about the different styles of fashion n and always asked the question what intention was behind those ideas and notions I came n across. One problem was that the media has installed prejudices towards Goths and I realized n that I had to overcome them more than one time. Reading literature helped to get a general n overview about the Gothic subculture. Especially Gavin Bradley´s Goth guideGoth Chicand Dunja Brill´s insight book into Goth culture provided the most inside knowledge about Goth-n dom. But reading the therein discovered information and the many interviews, did not cover n the selected topic to my utter satisfaction. Therefore, I went on to reading blogs, forums writ-n ten by the Goths themselves. But talking to Goths personally helped the most to get a better n insight into not only the Gothic lifestyle but also into their fashion, their ideals of beauty, n which sexual appeals are prevalent within the subculture and what standards, norms or rules n are considered when it comes to the gothic definition of gender and the therewith associated n roles. Very quickly I realized that Gothic is more than only an image but an aesthetic, an atti-n tude, a compete different lifestyle and its tradition seems like a heritage of shades of grey and n subversion. It is a subculture with many different and complex layers exerting an appealing n temptation for everyone interested in the extraordinary lifestyle of the Gothic queens and n kings.

This term paper cannot even begin to cover every layer of the Gothic subculture. n But it will give an insight into the most visible, as well as a few invisible, features helping to n understand the connection between the Gothic idea of sexiness, beauty and the role of gen-n der. Starting with a clear and brief insight into the emerge of the Gothic subculture and with n a cohort introduction into the ideology of the Goth, the term paper continues with explaining n the importance of fashion within the Goths’ lifestyle and with the essential features of their n special to get dressed. The next chapter illustrates the ideas of beauty in regard to being a n Goth followed by the exploration how Goths define sexiness and salability in consideration of n their dress code and their lifestyle. The term paper finally concludes with the development of n gender roles prevalent in the scene.

2. The Goth Youth Culture

2.1. A Brief Insight into the Emerge of the Goth Subculture and Prevalent n Ideologies

For a better understanding of the Gothic lifestyle, it is inevitable to give a brief insight n into the beginnings of the Gothic subculture and the therein resulted attitudes. The black n scene emerged in Britain in the early 1980s and in the awake of a musical genre originally re-n ferred to as Post-punk. Specific characteristics of their music have been “echoing guitars, slow n repetitive drums and wailing vocals fused into an eerie, hazy sound. Song lyrics revolved n around the dark recesses of human soul: death, suffering and destruction as well as unfulfilled n romance and isolation, but also the more arcane, taboo aspects of magic and mythology (e.g. n ancient rituals, vampires).’’2 The performers were dressed in black cloths and sometimes wore n pale make-up to give their music a theatrical style. These features were transferred to the pub-n lic style and therefore became the fundamental basis of what is calledGothnowadays.

Naturally, the Gothic style was not only influenced by music, it also draws from other n sources such as the form of medieval architecture and by the Romantic movement of the late n 18th and early 19th century. With the emerge of the literary approach to Gothic novels, a n wave of literary discussions has developed over the last decades. Reading Gothic literature is n understood as part of the Gothic philosophical and ideological lifestyle. Popular Gothic novels n therefore areThe Castle of Otrantoby Horace Walpole - which is respected as the first Gothic n novel - as well asFrankensteinby Marry Shelley or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle'sHound of the nBaskervillesand a lot of other horror and romance novels featuring Gothic themes which might n not be instantly apparent.3 Another big step into the direction of becoming a proper subcul-Brill, Dunja.Goth Culture: Gender, Sexuality and Style. Oxford: Berg, 2008. Print. Dress, Body, Culture. p.3. n Venters, Jillian.Gothic Charm School: An Essential Guide for Goths and Those Who Love Them.New York: Harper-Collins Pub., 2009. Print. ture has been made in July 1982. A nightclub calledBatcaveopened in Soho, London, which was primarily designed as a meeting point for artists of different kinds of cultural sectors and then developed steadily into a very significant centre for the Gothic-Rock environment. There, members of the Gothic subculture found a place to congregate and to act out their special preferences. Very soon, the club caught the attention of the media who spreads “the seeds of the Goth subculture across the U.K.“4 fairly quickly.

Goth in its modern form draws liberally on these epochs of cultural history5. This is n notably observed in the way Goths style themselves. They attach high value to fashion and n clothing as well as to a liberal self-expression through their outfits. Fundamentally, the present n Goth scene focuses on both music and fashion, as well as “on finding meaning and beauty in n the darker side of life. […] Further, the subculture generally is associated with a high level of n introspection, romanticism, and femininity. […] [and] are also often considered highly roman-n tic and passionate individuals.’’6

2.2. Fashion

2.2.1. The Importance of Fashion and the Goth’s Ideal of Beauty

“Goth is really about fashion. Anyone can listen to music, but if you´re aReal Goth, you n look like one.’’7 Many Goths have the opinion that either music or fashion has the highest im-n pact on people living a Gothic way of life. Although the Gothic subculture derives from the n music genre of punk-rock, their special look was present right from the start. For many people, dressing up gothic alike has a higher priority than coming into a special mood through listening to the music before going into nightclubs.

[...]


1 This term paper uses the word ’Goth’ to relate to the modern underground scene and the term ’Gothic’ to refer to the broader cultural aesthetic.

2 Brill, Dunja. Goth Culture: Gender, Sexuality and Style. Oxford: Berg, 2008. Print. Dress, Body, Culture. p.3.

3 Venters, Jillian. Gothic Charm School: An Essential Guide for Goths and Those Who Love Them. New York: Harper- Collins Pub., 2009. Print.

4 BlackJar72. Batcave (club).Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 23 June 2014. Web. 29 July 2014. <http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batcave_(Club)>.

5 Baddely G. (2002).Goth chic. A connoisseur´s guide to dark culture.London: Plexus.

6 Sasha Blum.The Gothic Subculture. An Empirical Investigation of the Psychological and Behavioural Characteristics of Its Affiliates. Saarbrücken : VDM Verlag Dr. Müller Aktiengesellschaft & Co. KG 2009. p.8-9.

7 Venters, Jillian.Gothic Charm School: An Essential Guide for Goths and Those Who Love Them.New York: HarperCollins Pub., 2009. Print.

Excerpt out of 22 pages

Details

Title
Sexiness and Gender in Gothic Youth Culture. How do Ideals of Beauty Relate to Gender Roles?
College
University of Bamberg  (Department of English Culture Studies)
Course
150 Years of (Neo-) Gothic: Literature, Architecture, Youth Culture
Grade
3,0
Author
Year
2014
Pages
22
Catalog Number
V304100
ISBN (eBook)
9783668080621
ISBN (Book)
9783668080638
File size
535 KB
Language
English
Tags
sexiness, gender, gothic, youth, culture, ideals, beauty, relate, roles
Quote paper
Giuliana Helm (Author), 2014, Sexiness and Gender in Gothic Youth Culture. How do Ideals of Beauty Relate to Gender Roles?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/304100

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