Success By Night

Following up the article from a few weeks ago showing the Gothic subculture fosters a supportive environment for psychologically sensative teens, turnig them away from suicide rather than towards it, comes this article about how Goths tend to grow up to be successful, well adjusted adults, but with a better sense of fashion and creative leanings:

Dr Dunja Brill, a 32-year-old German with her own Gothic tendencies, studied the subculture in Brighton, Edinburgh, Berlin and Cologne for her doctorate in media and cultural studies at Sussex University.

[…] Her interviewees included medical doctors, a man who had pursued a lucrative career in the law before becoming a musician, a bank clerk and an architecture student. The bank clerk was free to dress in black because her job did not involve coming into contact with customers, although like many professional Goths she reserved more extreme hair and make-up for club nights out.

“The Goth lifestyle allows you to lead a perfectly sane, stable lifestyle with a proper job, your own flat and even a family, then at the weekends or in your leisure time follow your Gothic activities,” said Dr Brill.

Many Goths choose jobs in the creative industries, academia or social work, where they are allowed more freedom to pursue their identity, but most are willing to make compromises.

“There is this idea in the subculture of being a proper full-time Goth, but that’s incompatible with holding down certain kinds of jobs. Most Goths who stay Goths and get proper jobs tend to make compromises but keep as much of the classic black and white clothing as possible. A white shirt and black suit corresponds to the Goth personality. It’s easier than being a Punk. Most Goths are very neat. They’re quite vain. Especially for the women, long black dyed hair is perfectly okay. It’s more difficult for a man.”

While many subcultures buck against the system in every way they can, Goths embrace classical education.

“Going to do a university degree is encouraged. It doesn’t encourage people to drop out of school. Whereas in the Punk scene you turn down the normal educational values, in Goth you gain status if you’re perceived as being educated. You get people who are in it for the shock value, but they are usually the ones who grow out of it,” said Dr Brill.

“The scene has quite middle-class values – education, highbrow culture, theatre, museums, romantic literature, poetry, philosophy, Gothic architecture. Many Goths like classical music. It’s a status symbol to have a good collection of classical pieces – mostly requiems and darker pieces,” she added.

The article goes on to give a thumbnail sketch of the history of the subculture, which is pretty spot on and entertaining.