For those that are not part of the community, it can be hard to see the difficulties Goths face externally, let alone internally. Unfortunately the subculture does not always provide the refuge from bullying or isolating behaviour that it should.
The subject of elitism is often one that is tiptoed around in the fear of an argument ensuing or statements being made that cannot later be retracted. Though I understand that it is a sensitive subject, I still believe that it is something that needs to be spoken about and not swept under some metaphorical carpet. After all, how can problems be resolved if we aren't willing to acknowledge them in the first place?
Of course I'm not saying that this is a problem solely associated with the Goth subculture, people from all walks of life experience elitist behaviour everyday but that doesn't mean we should accept it.
Why Is There Elitism?
Naturally, I wanted to learn more about Elitism besides what my own experiences have taught me prior to writing this article, and from what I could find there seems to be a lot of controversy on whether Elitists are right or wrong.
It seems that while most Goths, including myself disagree with Elitist behaviour there are some who find it necessary to keep the community filled with ''Real Goths.'' This belief has stemmed from the added Sub Genres of Goth that have developed in more recent years such as Nu Goth.
There is a fear that as more Sub Genres appear, the less people will bother to learn about the original subculture and how it started. The less they will care about the music and the more it will become about the aesthetic. Most of us would agree that Goth is more than just what you wear, but some are taking this belief to the extreme through blocking off the possibility of any newcomers by ensuring they find it difficult to feel accepted by those who should be more understanding than anyone else. And it's not just newcomers who are the target of a lot of these verbal attacks, some Goths who have been in the community for years are now finding that they no longer feel they belong.
Aside from this reasoning, surprisingly, a lot of Elitists are actually those who are relatively new to the subculture and are using it as a way to fuel their superiority complex and gain power and control over those around them by policing their interests and life decisions.
While it's of course good to show passion for things you love, it is not okay when you cross the line and start putting people down because you don't feel they meet your standards.
How To Identify Elitist Beahviour?
Some people may not realise when they are dealing with elitist behaviour but when you know what to look for it's fairly easy to recognise, for example:
- If you feel that you are being spoken down to or the person is acting stuck up then this is usually a sure sign that you are dealing with an elitist.
- Nasty or standoffish attitude.
- Name calling or rude comments.
- Believes in strict rules in order to be classed as Goth.
- Consistently attempts to make you prove your ''Gothness.''
How To Handle It
It's good to remember that while Elitists are extremely irritating, they don't tend to have much backing from the rest of the community. You will also find that the younger Elitists end up leaving the Goth scene within a couple of years which shows there isn't any substance to what they are preaching.
Ignoring Elitists is usually the easiest way of dealing with the problem. This can be done through by refusing to respond to their comments or if that becomes too difficult, blocking them from your social media accounts.
Although you can't block people offline, you can still choose not to spend time with them and even if you have to for a social occasion don't allow them to make you feel inferior or of less value.
I don't believe that there is a way to completely rid ourselves of the problem but some Elitists perhaps don't see how negatively their behaviour impacts those around them and so educating them instead of becoming hostile could help to resolve the problem.
In the end, I feel that being alternative is difficult enough for a lot of people which is why it both astounds and upsets me when I see elitist behaviour. The whole basis of being alternative in any way, is being unintentionally, unlike the majority of society which causes a lot of us to be rejected. Knowing that, why would you want to make anyone else feel unwelcome for not fitting a certain criteria? Isn't that the epitome of hypocrisy?
Despite what you may believe, there are no rules to being Goth. Being a Goth also does not mean that your life has to revolve solely around the subculture, it is a part of you, but not all of you.
As always I wish you all a spooky day and if you would like to share your thoughts or experiences on the topic of elitism either within or outwith the Goth subculture then feel free to leave a comment below.