The Background of Black

Gothic is a word that is known around the world, in almost all its parts and areas as something that is not just a word or a look, but Gothic is a complete culture. The word Goth has had various meanings and connotations throughout history. From a style of architecture which began in France in the middle of the 12th century to the style of painting and sculpture which started in the 13th century, the word Goth has been well known around the world. The word goth has also been associated with music and was particularly famous in northern Europe from 1200 to 1450. Even though there have been various things linked to gothic culture, the basic idea of the notion of being gothic is related to mystery, gloominess, sadness or violence. The word that has a connotation of degeneration and decay has given rise to a whole culture and lifestyle, particularly in the past few decades.

The gothic culture is not a complete culture in itself but rather a subdivision or an offshoot of a more dominant culture. This subculture is rather contemporary in its nature although it has classical roots embedded in the very concept attached to the word. The Goth subculture properly began in England during the 1980s through music and particularly the Goth rock genre which itself was an offshoot of the post-punk genre. This style of music started on its journey to excessive popularity and became quite dominant and widespread across the world. Although the subculture became particularly incorporated into the common culture through music, it is largely influenced by art, architecture, and history.

The particular eras of history that Goths are especially obsessed with are the medieval, Victorian and Edwardian eras. Basically, the gothic subculture does not have a particular definition using which people can be classified. They also don’t have a rigid set of beliefs. The gothic subculture is inherently artistic and depends on each person’s own definition of being a Goth. According to culture specialists, the gothic lifestyle just involves the idea of making a statement. The fact that you want people to see you yet you want to be left alone is what being a Goth is all about. Inside you are a creature of isolation and on the outside, you are a mysterious and dark being.

Although many Goths say that being a Goth is wrongly associated with Satanism and paganism, yet the Goth lifestyle involves the use and beliefs in various symbols and practices that are involved with Satanism and have satanic roots as well. The people that gravitate towards the idea of being a Goth are usually the people that have either had experiences with depression or other events that involve violence as well. The common feelings that are associated with this particular culture or lifestyle are anger, desperation, depression, hatred and angst. The basic issues that Goths find on a societal and individual level which they choose to voice as well are all the negativities and violence that one finds all around. Gothic people tend to be more intellectually active and think consciously about issues such as violent activities and various forms of discrimination.

One thing that is very popular about the gothic subculture, and is probably the most dominant visual aspect they choose to express, is their use of the color black. Whether it is the dark makeup that they put on every day to stand out and make a statement, or their unique and different style of clothing, a common pattern that is present in everything that is even remotely gothic is the color black. This is done to show their feelings of depression, melancholy or even hatred and angst. Although the gothic subculture is contemporary, throughout history the ‘Goth feeling’ has been particularly characterized. Even in classic novels, whenever a writer has had to describe a character that was dark, mysterious or even satanic, the word Goth has been used. For example in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, to describe the male protagonist’s dark and mysterious father and his abbey, the writer has frequently used the words Goth and gothic.

Gothic style and clothing are obviously dark. Aside from implementing the darkness of black, other acceptable colors that may be added into the mix are gray, deep red and purples. Other colors have been used as well, but more commonly and more accepted in the true gothic culture are the colors mentioned. The most historic and long lasting styles that the gothic culture has brought along through historic victorian styles that include lace, velvet, fishnets, and leather. The most commonly used accessories when it comes to authentic gothic style is gloves, silver jewelry that references either religious or occultic themes, lacy corsets and more. There is also some emphasis on the implementation of cuffs that are ruffled, capes, colored hair and pale makeup. Like mentioned earlier, the main premise of the gothic culture is to go against the grain and against the norm.

The inspiration that many gothic styles take from include characteristics of vampires and demonic entities. Hence, this is why the color black is highly emphasized and if you remember capes being mentioned earlier, this is quite vampiric, to say the least. Deep red colors are used to express blood and troubled emotions. Silver religious and occult themed pieces can symbolize demonic beliefs. All of these different aspects of gothic style and expression are deeply embedded in vampiric, victorian, demonic and medieval histories. There are a lot of different variations of goth today and they are largely inspired by the classic goth style. Some of the most iconic expressions of gothic fashion include Theda Bara and Siouxsie Sioux while stylists like Kambriel, Rose Mortem, and Tyler Ondine are implementing gothic styles day to day.

Something that is very eerie and different about the gothic subculture is that it is excessively related to witchcraft as well as other satanic practices. Each event that has taken place in history which is related to witchcraft is acknowledged by gothic subculture. Movies about vampires always involve gothic themes, characters, and stories that we see from time to time. Gothic culture has had it’s part in our modern day and age, without a doubt. Generally misunderstood, maybe a better understanding of where this culture comes from is just what we need.