I feel as though goth is the only subculture that has been bastardized by the mainstream into being nearly unrecognizable from its origins. Like yes from within the subculture and among those who are more knowledgeable about all kinds of music after the 1950s we know what goth music entails and the aesthetic and fashion that formed around it, but among "normies" it feels as though they only recognise the watered-down, soulless and fetishized version of "goth" that exists only to sell shitty, edgy fast fashion and pop music that just so happens to be in minor key. Like imagine if someone declared Avril Lavigne to be the ultimate, most important hardcore punk musician, at best they'd get laughed at by anyone with any knowledge of punk, and yet when someone declares that Fallout boy or Lil Peep are goth musicians it's the person who tried to correct them who often winds up at best being ridiculed or ignored. It's like people want to partake in this subculture without making the minimum effort to actually know what it's all about. To them goth is just a costume that they can buy off dollskill and then discard and then after a while describe that as their goth phase in a bashful manner.
I really feel that this quartering of goth has a lot to do with the use of the term in order to sell an aesthetic to people who want to appear different from the mainstream without delving too deeply into what makes a subculture as such, which of course would imply rejecting the current societal standards based around appearance and behaviour. All modern music-based subcultures are to a certain degree anti-capitalist and anti-consumerist, including goth; the goth aesthetics often reject gender binaries as well as current fads, whereas the music (derived from punk) has (save the mainstream success of several bands in the 80s) rarely been fit for the mainstream for its overall sound and lyrics, which often means that goth musicians release their music independently.
Not to mention that this uptick in "goth" aesthetics among the general public has also come accompanied by an even greater fetishism of goths, especially women, by outsiders. The more I hear "I want a big tiddy goth gf who will let me abuse her under the guise of BDSM 🥺" the more stories I hear from goth/alt women and gnc people being harassed by people with no respect or boundaries, both in real life and on-line. This selling of goth aesthetic without any ties to the subculture also means that this image is being shown to the public in association with behaviours and beliefs that don't inherently have anything to do with goth, but that are associated with promiscous behaviour packaged to the male gaze.
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