Discussion on the aesthetics of dress and style are everywhere in the Gothic blogosphere. Hardly a day goes by during which I don't find at least one such conversation at the places I visit. Among the articles I find interesting are those discussing the compromises in style darkly inclined folks must make; this, in order to satisfy the requirements of society or blend into the workplace. Fitting into a work setting while still maintaining a bit of Gothic flavor can be challenging indeed. It's also an opportunity to use a bit of that creativity that we all talk about.
Many darkly inclined folks are isolated in their communities and without the internet, would have no contact with other like-minded people. Here in the American South many people are religiously conservative and in communities where these views are prevalent and people falsely believe that Goths are agents of the Devil, the daily life of a such a person, one who dresses the lifestyle can become somewhat perilous. I personally feel fortunate in that I live in an open-minded community that is for the most part, accepting of alternative people. Still, there are places not very far from here where I would be much more cautious with my clothing choices. Trust me, wearing vampire-themed T-shirts would likely, not go over very well in small town Arkansas; neither would a guy wearing black nail polish or in general, any public display of the dark aesthetic we appreciate. For the isolated individual, potential dangers are not only posed by fearful or hateful residents, as was the tragic situation with Sophie Lancaster, but they may even come at the hands of law enforcement and the legal system.
One case in point regards three 1994 murder convictions that were obtained against Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr., otherwise known as the West Memphis Three, who lived on the other side of my state. The three were convicted for what were called "Satanist cult killings" of three eight-year-old boys on less than reliable evidence and were only released from prison in August of last year; this, due to DNA evidence that exonerated them. Why the accusations of Satanist cult killings, you might ask. Damien Echols, who had received the death penalty use to claim that he was Wiccan, dressed in dark clothing and listened to heavy metal music--most heinous activities here in the Bible Belt. You can read their story by going here.
Clearly, there are places where being visibly Goth or alternative can be a dangerous proposition. If any of you readers live in such places, I'd be curious to know how you sidestep the potential dangers. And if you don't, I'd like to know how you'd handle your clothing choices if you were in such a place.