How to Know if You Are a True Goth

So you're different. So you appreciate the "Dark" side of life. People may admire you: others may regard you as the resident freak. However many labels and stereotypes have been applied to you, you want to truly determine whether the dark, beautiful and commonly misunderstood lifestyle titled Goth, is the one you fall into. However, how do you determine whether or not you are one yourself? You could take endless internet quizzes, consult large numbers of people, or stare in the mirror for countless hours. This article takes you away from the judgment, the stereotypes and the cliches that may befall you as you try to discover who you are. This is a helpful guideline that you may wish to follow: however, the true answer to your question lies within yourself. Read on...


  1. Image titled Know if You Are a True Goth Step 1
    Determine whether or not you're a poseur. It's not uncommon for you to be trying too hard, but if you want to be honest with yourself, you need to answer this question: Am I trying to be something I'm not? If you want to fit in with a certain crowd, impress people or draw attention to yourself, you're only lying to yourself, and you may end up losing the true you. It's okay to like the Gothic fashion and not be a Goth, and it's okay to listen to the music and not be Goth. If you're forcing yourself to act a certain way or trying too hard to be something you truly aren't, then just stop, because when you lie to yourself, it is incredibly clear to others. If you simply admire certain aspects of the lifestyle, try just merging them in with your own style. The whole part of being a Goth is about being yourself and being unique: not a crowd follower.
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    Get away from the stereotypes. Like anything that ventures away from the mainstream culture, the Goth lifestyle has been heavily labeled and stereotyped. If you are trying to discover whether this style suits you, it's important that you don't fall into any of the silly "Goth Rules" that poseurs or ignorant people may preach about. These include the commonly incorrect beliefs that:
    • All Goths wear black. Although a lot of Goths do wear black, there are so many different styles that you can explore with, from Cyber Goths to Romantic Goths. Corsets, long skirts, hair falls or cabaret outfits are only some of the clothing preferences that many Goths enjoy, and colors can be anything: even pink and black.
    • All Goths are depressed and suicidal. This is probably the most outrageously untrue of all the stereotypes. Many Goths possess a quirky, dark sense of humor, and everyone in the lifestyle is completely unique: nobody is the same. Although not every Goth in the world is happy, you don't have to be self harming or crying all the time to be a Goth.
    • Goths are into drugs, alcohol and sleeping around. This again, is completely untrue. Although of course, some Goths may be reckless, this all depends on your own personality, not whether you're Goth or not. Goths are as intelligent as anyone else.
    • Goths worship Satan or evil spirits: This is one of the reasons people wrongly assume Goths are "freaks". The vast majority of the time this is not true. There are many goths who are Atheist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan (who don't believe in Satan)... Just be yourself and believe, or not believe, in what you want to.
  3. Image titled Know if You Are a True Goth Step 3
    Evaluate your music taste. There are no "rules" to being a Goth, and there never have been. However, taking a good look at your musical likes and dislikes can tell you a lot about yourself. Goth is a music based subculture. Therefore, someone who is listens to a large portion of Goth Rock is a Goth. As there are many different sub genres of Goth Rock, there are numerous genres of music and artists you may listen to.
    • These genres include Deathrock, Ethereal, Dark Cabaret, Darkwave, Post-Punk, and Gothic Rock. A lot of Goths also enjoy listening to Industrial music. Although fans of Industrial (also known as Rivetheads) often disassociate themselves with the Goth scene as Industrial has separate origins from Goth. However, Goths and Rivetheads are often consider siblings as both Goths and Rivetheads do share the same spaces on occasion. There are several other genres of music that aren't Goth but are commonly enjoyed by Goths. Such as EBM, Synth Pop, Electronic music, New Age, and Classical music. Being a Goth doesn't mean you have to listen to only Goth Rock. However, it does mean that a large portion of your favorite bands do come from within the Goth rock and it's sub genres.
    • Some influential bands include: The Cure, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Sisters of Mercy, Faith and the Muse and The Damned.
    • You don't have to only listen to gothic rock or deathrock. Some people assume that you can only listen to goth music and while that is what makes you goth, you can listen to anything you want, just as long as your musical tastes contain goth music. If you force yourself to listen to only goth music, you may feel like you're putting yourself in a box and if you feel like that, you probably don't suit being part of a subculture. Being a goth is about being yourself and naturally fitting with the characteristics of the subculture, so if you feel perfectly comfortable listening to Lady Gaga while knowing you have some gothic rock in your music taste, and knowing that you're still goth then that's the way to go.
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    You may want to try listening to some of these bands and genres if you haven't done so before. Exploring your musical tastes can be a little overwhelming, so use the above as a guideline. If you enjoy these types of musics and artists, try exploring further, rather than listening to mainstream stuff if you don't particularly like it.
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    Look at your hobbies and interests. Reflecting on the things you most enjoy doing is a good way to determine your personal tastes and styles. Although everybody is different, there are some common interests and activities that many Goths enjoy. These include:
    • Music. A lot of Goths have a deep understanding and passion for music, whether it be them singing or being in a band, or just listening. Of course, your musical tastes will also determine whether or not you suit the Gothic culture.
    • Writing. Poetry, stories and songs are all things that many Goths enjoy doing. Some main interests are Gothic stories and poems.
    • Reading. Goths are, as previously stated, as intelligent as anybody else. Some reading genres that some types of Goths enjoy are horror, supernatural, romance, drama or classics. You may enjoy vampire stories or classic literature. It can be poetry or stories.
    • Drawing. Goths tend to be more in touch with their artistic and creative side. However this is not a requirement in being Goth.
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    Look at your clothing style. Goth fashion is a major part of the subculture as well. Goth fashion originally started as fans dressing up like their favorite artists such as Siouxsie Sioux from Siouxsie and the Banshees, Andi Sexgang from Sex Gang Children, Robert Smith from the Cure, and Johnny Slut from Specimen. These days there are many different types of Goths fashion that have evolved. However there are some clothing items that are common to Goth fashion, such as:
    • Hair falls or bright or dark/deep hair colors.
    • A lot of Goths wear colors such as dark blue, deep purple, red or black. Not all of them, but a lot.
    • Corsets.*
    • Long skirts or extravagant dresses*, such as things from the Victorian era that include lace or ruffles, or a certain cabaret, classy over the top style like dress shirts or black suits and top hats and waistcoats.
    • Makeup such as dark eyeliner, deep colored lips and eye shadows. Some Goths like to go bright and over the top, such as Cyber Goths, but others stick to the Cabaret/Romantic/Victorian Goth image, with old fashioned, classy makeup or deep dark colors.
    • Boots, a common favorite of footwear.
    • Accessories such as chains, spikes, chokers or elegant jewelry. Piercings and tattoos may also be popular.
    • (*If you are in anyway uncomfortable with corsets and dresses, either due to claustrophobia or even just a non feminine gender identity you are not under obligation to wear them just to meet the fashion "requirements". People of all genders are also welcome and encouraged to hybridize their Goth look with punk, metal, and even "kawaii" pastel Goth elements to suit their individual personalities.)


  • Remember to be true to yourself. You don't have to prove anything to anyone.
  • Goth isn't bonded or held down with rules. Goth isn't always just sadness, depression, addiction, but instead creativity and freedom in the purest of ways.
  • Goth is mainly a music/fashion thing, from a subculture standpoint. It's not about all black, but goth fashion is a big part of the subculture. The idea that there are "rules" to be a "true goth" is ludicrous and contradictory. Treat "Rules" less as set in headstone and more like general Guidelines.
  • You don't have to be cold, do drugs, smoke, etc. to be goth. In fact, most of the goths are intelligent people and smile if they feel like doing so.
  • Goth guys wear makeup all the time. There's nothing wrong with it. Don't be afraid to give it a shot some time. But to both genders, never sleep with your makeup on. It's terrible for your skin and it makes a HUGE mess most of the time. Also, if you're doing heavy black makeup around your eyes, add black mascara. And if you're wearing lipstick, bring your tube with you to reapply it if you need it. Especially if you're planning to eat.


  • Being different than the rest of the crowd will potentially make you a target for bullying. But remember this is never your fault, being a Goth doesn't hurt anybody and you are not responsible for the actions of other people. Never be afraid to seek legal help if you are discriminated against, and never be afraid to call the police if you are the victim of a crime.
  • If you're very young, or a baby Goth, you may face being called a poseur, even by other Goths. If so, stick it through and believe in yourself. Goths are simply tired of others trying too hard and treating their style with disrespect and stereotypes, but if you know that you're being true to yourself, other people's opinions don't matter.
  • Following the "Gothic" trend doesn't make you a Goth, especially if you are following the 90s mall goth trend or only listening to bands that are seen as goth by the public, but are actually metal (some metal genres that are sometimes seen as "goth" are nu-metal, symphonic metal, black metal, death metal, metalcore etc).

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