Goth Is No Joke
Weirdo. Mosher. Freak. It's not halloween you know. You look like you're going to a funeral.
Sadly familiar things to hear when you dress alternatively. Sometimes you can laugh it off, ignore it etc. Other times it really gets you down. All you want to do is dress the way you want to dress, but when you do you can't leave the house without somebody deciding to comment on your appearance. If you already feel like a bit of an outcast then this only deepens that hurt. But what's the alternative? Dress like somebody else? Hide yourself away? Neither of those are particularly healthy options either.
Sometimes, of course, it goes beyond name calling. Sometimes it gets violent. There are numerous accounts of people being physically attacked simply because of their appearance, perhaps the most famous is that of Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend Robert Maltby. On 11th August 2007 they were viciously attacked by a gang of 5 boys - first they attacked Robert, then went for Sophie as she courageously tried to defend him. Both Robert and Sophie sustained horrendous injuries, and were hospitalised. 13 days later Sophie died as a result of her injuries. They were attacked, and Sophie killed, simply because of their alternative appearance.
You would hope that now we are in 2021 things would have changed. In some ways they have, and some improvements have been made with the help of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation which Sophie's mum Sylvia set up in Sophie's name to help promote tolerance and acceptance of those around us - no matter what the differences are. The UK TV soap Coronation Street recently ran a storyline based around the Sophie Lancaster story, which has brought some much needed awareness and conversation to the topic, and a dramatisation of Sophie's story called 'Murdered For Being Different' aired in 2017 and won the BAFTA for Best Single Drama, again helping to highlight the problem.
Sadly though it seems that society as a whole still deems it acceptable to judge, and mock, people based solely on their appearance. I recently saw some advertisement for a mobile game called Project Makeover. The ad was one of those playable ones, where you had to choose new hair, makeup and clothing for a character. If you chose the gothic styles you were told you had a fashion IQ of zero and had failed. How is this acceptable? I highlighted this on Instagram and the fantastic Mumma Goth did a brilliant video about this awful 'game' and the dangers of these attitudes over on her YouTube channel - check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FI89S9IhTJo
Mocking anybody because of their appearance is pathetic. People being different is one of the things that makes this world so beautiful, if everybody looked the same it would be very dull indeed. There is so much freedom in dressing how you want, but equally there is freedom in allowing others to dress how they want too! Nobody needs to change their appearance to meet with the approval of others - how shallow do we have to be to allow that to be accepted?
So be 'basic'. Be 'barbie'. Be 'designer'. Be a weirdo. Be a mosher. Be a freak. Be YOU.
Anna Bat x