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The positive psychology of goth

...or how a dark subculture can be a metaphoric light.   

I am no stranger to woe and darkness, for I am made of gooey gothic splendor.
One of the major misconceptions about the goth scene is that its only about the darker side: death, gloom, and despair. Despite this knee-jerk association, the reality is that some of the rather sunshiny constructs from the field of positive psychology apply quite easily (and amusingly!) to goths and the goth scene.

 

Elitism in Cosplay



If youre into any alternative subculture, youve most likely heard of cosplay. If you, however, are not much into it, you probably dont know what its like on the other side of the hobby, in the very heart of cosplay community. To do cosplay, before play you will obviously need a costume. To get a costume, you will either need a certain set of handy skills to make it yourself, or money to pay somebody to make it for you. But to go out there in a costume of yours, youll also need courage and nerves of steel.

 

Tattoos: mainstream or rebellion?



In the moments before the artists whirring tattoo needle touched my skin, my mind flooded once again with decades of judgments and admonitions. Listening to the echoing voices in my head, you would have thought that getting a tattoo meant the instant perks of gang membership, a career in the illegal sex trade, and the very real possibility that one day Charlize Theron would gain 30 pounds and shave off her eyebrows to portray my ruination in a movie.

 

Oh, my conservative parents were so wrong: the many benefits of growing up (and staying) goth...


Going through a bit of a goth phase, I overheard one of my parents sigh to someone on the other end of the line. Goth phase, I snickered to myself, yeah, theyll see, this is who I really am.

Years into this goth phase, every time I exited my teenage goth bedroom, my latest goth outfit nah, creation! - was met with furrowed parental brows and the pleading look that said, are you really wearing that out? Id double down in my resolve, and meet their look with my own defiant (albeit overly-eyelinered one) that silently said, of course.