A Piercing Look At Goth Culture And Fashion - washingtonpost.com
goth is back in the news media again--not as dangerous, deviant teen cult, but as fashion interest item! The Post has featured Gothic Beauty magazine, a slick goth lifestyle rag that largely conflates "gothic" fashion with busty women in tight corsets and heavy eyeliner, suggesting in the article that contrary to popular image, goth is really very forward-thinking and cutting-edge.
while it's nice to see goth treated a little more fairly in the media, Gothic Beauty offers a rather vapid representation of a subculture that has more going on creatively than implied by photoshoots of women in their undergarments, parading about in tight vinyl and poofy synthetic hair. Gothic Beauty largely propels itself by capitalizing on the sex appeal of its tattooed and pierced models, reducing goth fashion to freaky chicks in skimpy outfits. and as much as i'm in favor of alt models and creative clubwear, i think it does goth and other alternative women a disservice when our aesthetic is exploited for its purely erotic allure (reminds me of a certain quasi-controversial alt porn website...).
for something a little less shiny and more diy, check out Drop Dead Magazine (devoted to deathrock music and fashion, the horror-tinged, punky side of goth). sadly, the days are largely past of goth/industrial magazines that featured both music, fashion, and culture, at least in the US (r.i.p. Carpe Noctem).
as usual, though, the news media still can't quite decide if goths are just edgy, misunderstood artistes, part of the emerging "creative class," or an appropriate trigger for moral panic over loners who obsess over the occult and plot to murder their schoolmates. i suspect that context will reveal some of the disparity -- at times, media outlets are content to exploit the latter trope, dipping into broader social fears about youth to explain some sort of violent act or tragedy, yet the rest of the time, reporters prefer to mine colorful (or monochrome!) subcultures for their value as spectacle. at the risk of proffering an overly simplified explanation, both cases give off more than a whiff of prurient sensationalizing.