the "goth" look

I really didn’t know where to put this… sorry! I’m interested in the Catholic perspective. For those of you who are teens or young adults… or for those who have children in one of those age groups… how do you feel about the “goth” look and is it compatible with Christianity, if it’s just a fashion statement and nothing more? btw I don’t dress in this way… I actually like bright colours lol. But I’m just asking in a general way.

Also, what do you think about girls painting their nails dark? Is that “gothic”, or just a fashion?

Personally, I do not believe a Goth look is compatible with the concepts of Catholic moderation, modesty, and decency.

Goth attire as I have seen it is a perversion of the dignity of the human person. If you look up pictures of goth attire, you will see hundreds of unsmiling faces with strange white makeup, funeral attire, images of death, and sexual imagery. There are dark themes, possibly satanic symbols, and a somber, bleak outlook on life and appearance. I see nothing good in such things. We should be joyful and dignified in our appearance and our actions, and goth does nothing to further that goal, but instead pushes people in the opposite direction.

The simple question to ask is, does this goth sub-culture lift the soul and mind to God and beauty? If not, how can there be any good in it?

I don’t think many young people adopt this look for just the fashion statement. It’s too counter-culture and shocking for that. There is more to Goth than just the black clothing and make-up. Many of these kids are interested in the occult and especially vampires (thanks in part to “Twilight”). They listen to dark music, act depressed and angry, and go for the shock value at the very least, with their behavior, dress and accessories.

If a young person starts dressing Goth, then he or she is saying “I identify with this group of people and want to be considered one of them.” Maybe there are Christian Goths, but if not, I’d worry a little. My 2nd son acted like an “emo” for years and gave us a considerable amount of trouble. I just thought he was completely screwed up until I read a description of that sub-set of teen culture and then I understood. He had adopted that identity or set of characteristics even if he didn’t self-identify as an “emo.” The longish hair, the tight pants, tight shirts, even cutting. The whole thing was so opposite to who I knew him to be…it was bizarre. He still wears his pants tight but he’s stopped the cutting and being totally miserable, walking around with a vulture on his shoulder, it’s just an invisible vulture.

“Quoth the Raven,

LOL Kids!

My concern is that a lot of people associate one’s choice to wear black (a respectable, sophisticated clothing choice) with the Goth culture. There’s nothing wrong with wearing all black. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with dark nail polish, dark lipstick, etc.

Embracing the Goth culture itself is disrespectful of life and celebrates the macabre. Wearing black or other elements associated with the Goth culture without the intent to embrace the Goth culture is just a fashion statement. Interpreting it to be something more is silly.

But one doesn’t start wearing the garb of that group unless one identifies at least in a small way with the group, correct? I mean, when someone goes out dressed in black from head to toe, with kabuki-white makeup and black lipstick, black nails, studs, etc. that is not a fashion statement but a desire to have a reaction. Even if the teen is just skirting around the edges, something about that look is attractive, no?

Wearing your hair longer than the norm is a fashion statement. Wearing long skirts when the style is short, is a fashion statement. Dressing like a biker chick is saying “I am a part of this group of people who dress this way.” So is dressing like a Goth.

Thanks for the replies everyone :slight_smile:

After thinking about it some more, I think I agree about the Goth culture… the culture (sub-culture?) itself isn’t really compatible with Catholicism.

But what do you think about incorporating something from their fashion, in a very subtle way? For example… I definitely don’t dress as a goth… I have blonde hair, I wear clothing of different colours, not a lot of makeup, etc. But what if I wanted to paint my nails dark purple? (just for fun, not to represent anything ‘dark’). Is that even “gothic”? Maybe Im just not sure what is “gothic” and what isn’t. I’m not seeking to look anything like actual goths

No, dark colored nail polish is in right now. I am 53 and have both younger and older friends and all of them will wear dark nail polish at times. Mostly the younger folks wear black, dark purple, etc. but I have seen people my age wearing it too. I do not think that they are trying to become Goths!


Now, the kabuki makeup and black lipstick are a different matter altogether…


And just for fun I googled, “Can a Goth be Christian,” and got a lot of hits, including this one.

Should have expected it. :rolleyes:

I think people need to be very careful about what they are painting with a very broad brush.

I personally know (the daughter of one of my best friends) a high school girl who likes dark clothing, she is very fair by her nature (should she tan to “fit in”??), and likes black nail polish and fingerless gloves. She doesn’t wear “studs” or anything satanic. In fact, this girl has attended Catholic schools all her life, is EXTREMELY devout, and can’t stand to be around kids who have a lack of morals or Faith. She is a good Catholic girl who is cheerful, fun to be around, has lots of friends, and is very pretty, and captain of the girl’s swim team. Some might look at her and think goth (at least mildly) but she is just a girl who likes a certain look, and nothing else. I see nothing wrong with this, and neither does her mother, one of the holiest women I’ve ever met. I like to think of her look as girly with an edge. :wink:

So don’t get too caught up in what people wear and what they look like - many times it has nothing to do with what’s going on in their soul.


I think we need to be careful before we paint all “goths” with such a wide brush. Everyone is different and chooses what they do for different reasons.

I had a very tough time as a teenager. I was depressed all throughout highschool and as a result I did for a period of time dress more goth-like than many people. Not crazy or anything, but I do think that at times there are children calling out for help with no one to listen. And it’s their actions that show their emotions. To say that goth is not Christian is not necessarily true. I have always been Christian.

As with most things in life, it comes down to motivation. If you’re wearing purple nail polish because you like purple- no problem. I have two teen-age daughters who experiment with different looks in style, nail polish and make-up that have nothing to do with being part of a group. It has to do with wondering how it looks on them. Sometimes they get a surprise-- like finding out how they look with bright pink hair when the red didn’t quite take (even though they bleached their hair first).

Of course, as a Dad I just shake my head because they’re already beautiful. If I think the makeup is too heavy, they get “Rodeo or Circus in town?”

Some kids do it deliberately to provoke/gauge a response without really identifying with the group. A very gifted and intelligent male friend of my daughters wore the skinny jeans and punk rock jacket with band patches, with one half his head having long blonde hair to his waist, and the other side military short and black. I could see in his eyes and mannerisms how he was looking for my response to his look the first time I met him. (I was in the military at the time and I think he was particularly curious as to how a military guy would react). Of course, I took it in stride as I really didn’t care and, I think he would have been suprised at the way kids looked like that I grew up with. He changed his look often during his high school years, but he was always fascinated with people’s behavior. How they react to situations etc.

I do believe that a kid adopting the look of a group with known connotations is a danger flag and needs to be discussed with the kid. Sometimes they take on a style, having seen it and thinking it looks good on them without realizing the connections. Also, regardless of the kids initial reasons, looking like a goth will attract other goths. And that starts to lure them down that road to everything goth is associated with.


good to know! :slight_smile: I’ve seen lots of people wear dark nail polish, and it being advertised everywhere, etc, and I kind of like it if it’s worn with the right things (not an all black outfit). Also I think I have the right nails for dark nail polish since they are short. (I read that dark nail polish on long nails can sometimes look sort of witchlike)

for example, I kind of like this look:
but this one is not for me :wink:
I wanted to check that dark nail polish is not “gothic”, as I don’t want to dress like someone I’m not or give the wrong impression about me :slight_smile:

I do agree that goth and emo culture isn’t really Christian… I have heard of “Christian goths” though

Good for her! Does she minister to any Goths that might approach her thinking she is one of them? :wink:

I don’t think anyone mentioned the soul of these young people - I guess if a Goth is into the occult or Satan worship we should worry - I see misfits, kids who don’t fit into the normal school culture and want to be outsiders. It’s a renegade, “outlaw” group. There will always be a few of those groups within the teen culture. Your friend’s daughter is one of those exceptions, but she is not fully going into the whole costume, either. So as this look becomes more and more mainstream, then the Goth kids will have to come up with some other look in order to stand out, separate themselves from the main social group, and get shocked looks and disapproval from adults.

There you go, that 2nd photo is Goth personified. That lovely girl probably goes through more eye make up in a week than I do in a year!! Sheesh. Our appearance says something to the world, and these kids or young people are giving a message. Maybe some of them are normal kids, but many of them are not, and would have little in common with an honor-roll, parent-loving, mainstream student-type kid.

I think the Emo look is easier to pull off and still be fairly normal, although I have seen emo guys wearing guy-liner pretty heavy too. I see Asian kids who are emo and I know their parents don’t brook any bad grades! :wink:

Have you seen this video and shown it to your girls?

It’s particularly revealing that even WITH all that makeup and costuming, they still Photoshop the photos to change the mother’s face even more!

I think it depends, sometimes they dress like that just to be dark, they’re into paranormal, listen to satanic musi,c etc. That’s definately not something that a Christian could do, but sometimes girls just do it because they like the way it looks or they want to be different.

And about painting their nails black, I have a friend who does that, and she’s most definately NOT gothic. Actually she’s not Christian either, I think she’s a Hindu? But anyway I don’t think it would be “gothic” for a girl to paint her nails black

Could that be considered “attracted like a Goth to a flame?”

Sorry, I just had to.


I have seen people with their hair dyed black. pink, or red and wear complete back with a ton of (ear, lip,etc) piercings …they look demonic!!!

Like most trends it’s as deep or shallow as the person participating chooses for it to be.

Um… Excuse me? So called “goth” christian over here. :shrug:
When I saw this thread I twitched a little, but I came in expecting people to be more open minded, and less crazy sounding…

But then I see all the posts are totally… Guh.

You know, I was homeschooled, and forced to attend classes at a Christian co-op. A fundamentalist, protestant, Christian co-op.

I remember these people would insult my friends and I.
I remember a close friend of mine being told “NO, you’re not supposed to wear clothing like that here”

Yeah. She was wearing a t-shirt, and a pair of tripp pants.
As in, something akin to these:

Random pair taken off of photobucket, but hey, ya know.
Apparently those aren’t allowed in a Church. Well, that shows the world how open and loving we Christians are. :shrug:
And you know, I could understand some offense and attending church in those, yes. I would find it better to wear you nice “sunday best” when attending church… But this was different. This girl was insulted for wearing these when she was attending a CLASS that was being hosted at said church. A class that had little to do with the church itself.

I own about three pairs of these myself. They’re comfy. And rather spiffy looking in my opinion.

Look, can someone, aaaaanyone here at all give me a good reason why we’re judging someone based on clothing choices?

As for the subculture itself: No. Just no. We don’t all worship Satan and attend black mass and all that crazy ****. Occult imagery? Uh huh. Well, I generally just wear crosses and cameos.

As for embracing death? Well, yes, there is a flair to the macabre here. But usually not to unhealthy levels. (Don’t bring the emo cutters into this. “emo” and “gothic” are too different things. And emo kids? Mostly confused, moody, and frustrated. And not that big a portion of them cut. Certainly no bigger a portion then the non “emo” children who do. Infact. I’ve never met any who’ve cut themselves. All my friends with a history of cutting are fairly “normal” in their choices of apparel.)

Anywho, death, yes… I simply accept death as being a part of life. As for it’s relationship to anything “goth”… Heh, period mourning clothing? Victorian era? That stuff is goooorgeous.

“She doesn’t wear ‘studs’ or anything satanic”
So… Wait, are studs in the same category as satanic to you? Whaaaaaat? D:

Also, what’s all this talk of indecency? Sure, I suppose I wear corsets… But I wear them with floor length skirts and blouses. Yeah. That sure is indecent and sexualized.

You know, at that note, I’m reminded by the EGL subculture… So many people have preconceived notions of “sexy EGL”, etc… When in reality, real, true, EGL clothing is very modest. Such as

See, that ain’t “sexy”. It’s beautiful. Beauty without showing a lot of skin. What a concept.

You know, with this whole “gothic subculture”… That’s a huuuuge window of various sub-sub-cultures you’re opening up. Some of us have our street clothes, casual, baggy, black… While some of us wear period clothing.

Me, I tend to swing between steampunk and goth with my fashion sense, depending on the mood I’m in.

Last month I walked out of the house with a cane, a top hat, goggles, a red coat with lace frills, black pants with chains, and combat boots. And not one thought was given to this.

All in all: It’s clothing. Sure, a lot of us “goths” bond over similar interests, but really…
It doesn’t conflict with a Christian “lifestyle” any more than anything else does. What are we saying IS a Christian lifestyle? Are we supposed to be like my old fundi protestant school, where everything is evil if you’re not wearing a bug poofy sweater with a kitten embroidered on it? :confused:

Aaaaaand now I feel like I’ve ranted long enough…
But I still don’t get it. I expected so much better from this thread. You people are Catholic. You’re supposed to have more common sense than the protestant fundis I got stuck with when I was young. :frowning:

I guess I’m just disappointed.

And that is exactly why I posted what I did. I do think people in this thread are being far too judgmental. Unless has been one, there’s no reason to say this is how they are. It’s like anything in life, unless you’ve been there, you have no right to say how it is. Like when I was Lutheran, there were so many misconceptions and judgments about Catholics that are just plain untrue.

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