So, being unmotivated, I decided to try and find some goth photos to eventually make my gothic motivational posters. And where is a good place to find such things? Why, Goth or Not, of course.
Goth or not, being one of those "judge my picture" sites has a lovely scale from one to ten; one = you might as well be a gap kid, and 10 = goth as fuck. The votes are averaged into a percentage so that, on your goth card that you carry in your wallet at all times, you may flash your percentage of gothness to impress friends and win the presidential election.
I'v visited this site before, and find it a rather fun game. Yes, game. After all, who really wants to take superficial photo judgement to heart? Granted, no person can be judged solely by their photographic appearance, but...if you analyze the pictures based on the way these people have chosen to present themselves, their level of creativity, and add in the title or name at the top, you can get a hint of what reality might be.
I tend to vote for people a little differently than some might, although I was taking note of where my opinions seemed to overlap with the other voters.
Most people I voted for got 5's, which is average. Average pictures are the type where the person is obviously wearing black attire and eyeliner, and looking morose, aloof, sad or comtemplative. Maybe a couple piercings, basic poses, nothing out of the ordinary, backgrounds consisting of dorm rooms, living rooms, blurry bondage scenarios, or your basic graveyard. This kind of photo seems to be the dominant category, as well as being what most people think of as stereotypical goth.
Then there are the people who are trying too hard. These I rate typically at 3 or 4. Usually these photos are taken with webcams, are all almost always pixelated closeups. The subject often wears heavy eyeliner with exaggerated tears,crow lines,or egyptian eyes, often a collar, cross or pentagram, and is definitely overacting in the realm of ennui. Background are almost always bedrooms and college dorms, sometimes with laundry on beds.These people are trying to achieve the sterotypical goth look, and as a result are kinda shoving their own creativity and expression to the wayside.
People who try to look like stereotypical goth but really don't even have a handle on that usually get 3 or less from me. This group does most of the abovementioned activity, but the amount of makeup and eyeliner is quadrupled into the proportion of actual face area. More tongues are sticking out, and there's a better chance of finding cheese and cliche among these photos, as well as Manson posters. The poses are more dynamic, but way overdone with claw hands and droopiness.
Others that also recieve 3 or less from me are known as the clueless. These people are few, and are honsetly trying to represent the stereotypical goth look, but are missing the mark by miles and not doing their own personal expression a favor. Typically these photos are again closeups of cheerless expressions, and not much more. Maybe some smeared black lipstick.
In general, I find that names are a pretty good clue to what the pic is going to look like before it shows up. People that names themselves "Goth Gurl" or have "Devil___", "Angel___", Whore of Babylon", Dark____, or cutsy names along the lines of Cryptie are ones that are once again trying to fill the enormous skull buckle boots of the goth label, and needing to stuff several wads of kleenex in the toes.
So, then, what actually gets good votes from me? People who don't strive so much for the dreary cliche view of goth and actually go out of their way to get creative - even if it's downright silly. Rivetheads and punks get a 6 or 7 from me, as their style is part of the genre. I haven't gone higher than 6 or 7 however because usually the few that do post pics are trying to fit the "Industrial" stereotype.
People with a really unique look usually get an 8 from me, which is the highest rating i can give as far as the "beauty" aspect is concerned. This whole deal really isn't a beauty contest, no matter what anyone tells you. Brightly colored hair and theatrical but tasteful makeup gets an 8, maybe a 9.Anyone wearing black but also wearing some sort of color(s) along with gets an 8. I have yet to see anyone dressed entirely in blue or purple posting on here, but if I ever bother to go again and find them, they'll get a 10. Rare people, like the japanese goth girl and the black bondage girl got 10's from me however, as their look was still in the realm of what people would say is "goth", but their attitudes, poses and backgrounds said a hell of a lot more about their actual personalities than most pictures did.
The pictures that most often got 10s from me, and were rare, were silly ones. Like the guy in eyeliner with a face mask and feathery bunny ears. or the one titled Sunshine with the happy lady in a floral dress, or cliche guy with his over the top campy vampire poses...even "I'm gonna out goth you", the guy in the black t shirt who's staring off into space.
Those get 10's. Hands down.
So, what the hell is my definition of what goth looks like?
It doesn't really matter.
The way I dress tends to be dark and yet colorful, and experssive of me, and yet I could definitely be looked down upon by those who feel the need to dress in the "classical style".
All I can say is as much as "goth" is still a piece of me, I am not IT. I tire quickly of the typical cliched look being so revered, as all the perpetuation of it does is drive people to dress and act that way to fit in. And how is this different from any other sub/counter culture/mainstream idea? Couldn't tell you.
I'm sad that people aren't more creative, or perhaps are afraid to be more creative in their expressions of themselves and interpretations of goth. So, what's the joy of being in a subculture that prides itself on being "outside" of the norm, being "unique" and "nonconformist" and "open minded" when the very second you wear something other than new rock boots and a scowl, you become the dreaded plague?
oops, i said the word JOY. I'm waiting for the snipers to come....
Anyhow, so, as amusing as goth or not can be, it is just a game, not to be taken seriously, just like being in the goth scene is also a game.
I feel vaguely depraved that I have before and once again taken part in the superficial judging of photos, as our culture in general so hangs on this idea of pretty pictures and untouchable ideals.
So,for penance I will probably include a pithy photo of myself in full Crow gear for one of the gothic motivational posters.