Monday, August 20, 2012

Dressing Safely

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.       




  1. Did you mean to put a link up? It says "go" and stops mid sentence like you meant to put something there, but I don't see anything.

    As you know I do live in an area where one has to be....careful. I've never had a physical attack, but verbal insults and slurs are common. I don't really dress any differently to avoid such things, since even on a casual day I still seem to get negative comments or stares. I do try to stay in areas where there are a lot of people around or have a friend with me.

  2. Thanks for pointing out my non link Sarah. I think it's fixed now. Thanks for your comment as well, I was actually wondering about your situation.

  3. Sorry for the delay in writing this, where does time go? There is a place where in England we can go, dress as we like, feel completely safe for the weekend twice a year. We are very lucky for the Whitby Goth Weekends and I live only 81 mile away. Roll on 31st October (Halloween)

  4. Oh yes, I know about Whitby. Of course, I'm many thousands of miles away from it. You're fortunate to live so close to such a wonderful and safe venue. It seems to take place in an almost perfect setting as well. I wish I were there.