The goth subculture is a contemporary subculture found in many countries. It began in the United Kingdom during the early 1980s in the gothic rock scene. The goth subculture's imagery and cultural proclivities indicate influences from nineteenth century Gothic literature along with horror movies and to a lesser extent the bondage and sado-masochism culture.
The goth subculture has associated tastes in music, aesthetics, and fashion. Goths have a tendency towards a lugubrious, mystical sound and outlook. Styles of dress within the subculture range from deathrock, punk, androgynous, medieval, some Renaissance and Victorian style clothes, or combinations of the above, most often with black attire, makeup and hair.
Some goth slang terms are used by some goths and others to sort and label members of loosely related or at times unrelated subcultures. These include but are not limited to mallgoths (a poser goth) in the US, dark in Latin America and Italy, hackians in New Zealand and spooky kids, moshers or mini moshers in the UK. More positive terms, such as mini-goths or baby bats, are also used by some older goths to refer to youths whom they see as exhibiting potential for growth into mature goths later on.
For a complete list of Goth slang terms see
Defining an explicit ideology for the gothic subculture is difficult for several reasons. First is the overwhelming importance of mood and aesthetic for those involved. This is, in part, inspired by romanticism and neoromanticism. The allure for goths of dark, mysterious, and morbid imagery and mood lies in the same tradition of Romanticism's gothic novel. During the late 18th and 19th century, feelings of horror, and supernatural dread were widespread motifs in popular literature; The process continues in the modern horror film. Another central element of the gothic is a deliberate sense of camp theatricality and self-dramatization; present both in gothic literature as well as in the gothic subculture itself.
Goths, in terms of their membership in the subculture, are usually not supportive of violence, but rather tolerance. Many in the media have incorrectly associated the Goth subculture with violence, hatred of minorities, white supremacy, and other acts of hate. However, violence and hate do not form elements of goth ideology; rather, the ideology is formed in part by recognition, identification, and grief over societal and personal evils that the mainstream culture wishes to ignore or forget. These are the prevalent themes in goth music.
Goths share generally an apolitical nature. Unlike the hippie or punk movements, the goth subculture has no pronounced political messages or cries for social activism. The subculture is marked by its emphasis on individualism, tolerance for diversity, a strong emphasis on creativity, tendency toward intellectualism, a dislike of social conservatism, and a mild tendency towards cynicism, but even these ideas are not universal to all goths. Goth ideology is based far more on aesthetics than ethics or politics.
While there is no one common religious tie that binds together the goth movement, spiritual, supernatural, and religious imagery has frequently played an important part in gothic fashion, song lyrics, and visual art. In particular, aesthetic elements from Catholicism play a major role in goth culture.
Goth fashion is stereotyped as a dark, sometimes morbid, eroticized fashion and style of dress. Typical gothic fashion includes dyed black hair, dark eyeliner, black fingernails, black period-styled clothing; goths may or may not have piercings. Styles are often borrowed from the Elizabethan, Victorian or medieval period and often express Catholic or other religious imagery such as crucifixes or ankhs.
More about Gothic fashion at
Visual art influences
The Goth subculture has influenced different artists - not only musicians - but also painters and photographers. In particular their work is based on mystic, morbid and romantic motifs. In photography and painting the spectrum varies from erotic artwork to romantic images of vampires or ghosts. In the Fine Art field, Anne Sudworth is a well known goth artist with her dark, nocturnal works and strong Gothic imagery.
Some of the graphic artists close to Goth are Gerald Brom, Nene Thomas, Dave McKean and Trevor Brown. H R Giger of Switzerland is one of the first graphic artists to make serious contributions to the Gothic/Industrial look of much of modern cinema with his work on the film "Alien" by Ridley Scott.
I highly recommend this link: is is the gallery of deviantART artist Trellia where she describes ALL types of Goths! Really excellent!
Goth clothes, accessories, make-up, hair-dye and what not!