Goth Subculture: Among Artistic and Belief


It might be easy for most people to identify individuals belonging to the Goth subculture when they see them in New York, London or even a conservative country such as Saudi Arabia. Due to the obvious stereotypes associated with them, they are identifiable from their choice of dress. In contrast, their historical facet could be ambiguous for many people owing to confusion between Goths and Punks. History of Goths.

Some would argue that the Goth subculture developed throughout punk movements during the 1970s and1980s in Britain (5). While (8) Weston and Bennett (2013) said that the Goth subculture emerged from Pagan folk music, which took place in some celebrations and conferences. However, it is widely agreed that there is correlation between the Goth subculture and Punk movement in their historical development (5).


The best way to identify the difference between the Punk movement and Goth subculture might be to give a definition of both. The Goth subculture, according to (8)Weston and Bennett (2013, p .65) is “a change of music and fashion (artistic) appropriated religious iconography from a variety of sources, Catholic, Anglican, pagan”. Whereas the punk movement refers to young people who refuse to follow any political or religious authority(5).

The most interesting aspect of the Goth subculture is their music. Hence, Goth music or so-called Goth rock is a genre of rhythms almost described as black music. This definition comes from people who adapted to listening to Goth music according to a survey conducted by (5)Lauren (et al. 2007). Black is the most commonly used adjective to describe this kind of music. So this description may be obscure as it is related to individual requirements and their necessity. Moreover, the lyrics of Goth music seem to be meaningless and related to sadness. It is associated with intellectual movements such as horror, fantasy and nihilism (6). Gothic Rock

In some circumstances, Goth culture seems to have responsible elements beyond some issues such as vehemence, suicide and drug abuse. It is particularly prevalent among teenagers (7). Rutledge (et al. 2008) said that the Goth subculture tends to tempt young people with psychological issues such as anxiety and frustration. It might encourage them to commit crimes through an enthusiastic atmosphere from music and friends. What’s more, (5) Lauren (et al. 2007) points out that in the middle of the 19th century, many American newspapers highlighted the dangers of the Goth subculture, due to rising deviancy among the Goth people.

Goth people would argue that the media always portrays the Goth culture as a danger to society. In fact, the Goth subculture is constituted from music bands and members are considered creative people. In other words, most Goths are peaceful, tolerant and open-minded (5).


Furthermore, the Internet has spread the Goth subculture in many societies. Initially, Goths spread from the UK to the US in the mid 1990s with the emergence of the World Wide Web. Currently, Goths have a large number of websites that provide information for fans, as well as websites selling Goth clothes and makeup (3) (David 2015) Fashion

Furthermore, many applications serve the Goth subculture in diverse ways. Snapchat, Tumbler and Facebook gather a community of individuals that have the same interest in Goth subculture and provide opportunities for them to make friends (5). Lauren (et al. 2007) state that the Internet has promoted Goth culture to be an international movement. It has also maintained the vitality of the Goth subculture according to (4) Hebdig (1979) resistant fatal is helped to move the culture which mean that The rise of the Internet and social media has expanded Goth subcultures worldwide and attracted a larger swathe of people, particularly adolescents.

Moreover, the Goth subculture has emerged in Saudi Arabia especially among university students. The presence of Goth culture in a country such as Saudi Arabia, which is known globally as a conservative country has a slightly different indication. In other words, the Saudi Goths follow the original Goth subculture in the external appearance. For instance, they will mimic the clothing and style but refuse to adhere to original Goth beliefs. This is because Goth beliefs are contrary to the norms of Islam, which prohibits many aspects of their beliefs such as suicide (1). However, research by (2) Ashaalan (et al. 2013) confirmed that subculture movements influence university students. Likewise, the increase in Internet access and global travel have spread the culture.

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To conclude, although the Goth culture has a bright side which is related to music and some fantastic fashion, the other side related to their beliefs could be a risk for young people all over the world, particularly with the popularity of technology nowadays.


(1)Alotibi, G., 2013. The GOTH culture spreaded in Saudi Arabia. AlZaman. [online] Available from: [Accessed 8 Mar. 2016].

(2)Ashaala, L., Ashaala, L. and Algadhee, N., 2013. Prevalence Of The Emotional (Emo) Subculture Among University Students In Saudi Arabi. Journal of International Education Research, [online] 9 (4), 351. Available from: http://file:///C:/Users/Mriam%20Pc/Downloads/8087-32241-1-PB%20(1).pdf [Accessed 8 Mar. 2016].

(3) David, 2010. Myths and Stories: Goth Stereotypes. [online] Gothtypes Wiki. Available from: [Accessed 8 Mar. 2016].

(4)HEBDIGE, D., 1979. SUBCULTURE THE MEANING OF STYLE. 1st ed. [ebook] LONDON AND NEWYORK. Available from: [Accessed 5 Mar. 2016].

(5)Lauren, M., Goodlad, E. and Bibby, M., 2007. Goth:Undead Subculture. 1st ed. [ebook] london. Available from: [Accessed 8 Mar. 2016].

(6)Punter, D., 2015. The Gothic. 1st ed. [ebook] Available from: [Accessed 8 Mar. 2016

(7)Rutledge, C., Rimer, D. and Scott, M., 2008. Vulnerable Goth Teens: The Role of Schools in This Psychosocial High-Risk Culture. Journal of School Health, 78 (9), 459-464.

(8)Weston, D., 2013. Pop Pagans:Pagaism and Popular music. 1st ed. [ebook] london and newyork: Acumen. Available from: [Accessed 8 Mar. 2016].


A brief introduction about bohemianism and its influence on popular fashion

In essence, bohemianism is an unconventional lifestyle in Western societies widely identified with rebellion, ultimate freedom and artistic pursuits. A large number of people engaging with this practice are painters, writers, musicians, actors and other types of artists (1). Rejecting bourgeois values, a bohemian willingly leads a nomadic carefree life, which is of little material attachment, and adopts amoral attitudes towards love and sex (1). Regarding their nature of discarding conventional social viewpoints, Nicholson made a remark: “The bohemian is an outsider, defines themselves as an outsider and is defined by the world as an outsider…” (2).

 Originally, the word “bohemian”, or “bohemien” in French, is rooted in Bohemia, a Czech region where many of its inhabitants are Gypsies (3), therefore traditionally in French, a gypsy was called bohemien (1). However, by the mid-1800s, the term started to be used by a few French authors to refer to “one who lives a vagabond, unregimented life without assured resources, who does not worry about tomorrow” (4). Later, in 1951, “bohemien”, with its new sense, came into use widely as a result of the popularity of the play “La Vie de Boheme” (4).

The first bohemian communities were significantly made up of Parisian middle class youths who sought after a life abundant with the joy of autonomy, freedom and artistic creation. They associated bohemianism with “prolonged adolescence”, where they tried a counter-culture of rejecting materialistic values before an eventual return to their bourgeois society. Later, bohemianism began to attract working class people, and their participation in the bohemian subculture brought about the aspect of real poverty (4).

Until now, bohemian clothing has been generally related as outmoded, worn out and sometimes eccentric. Here, individual artistic selves are displayed not only in the lifestyle but also in ways of dressing (5). In the modern world, bohemian dressing styles have remarkably influenced on worldwide mainstream fashion (3). A number of popular elements of bohemian-inspired fashion style (or in other words, Boho chic) include “loose, flowing clothing made of natural fabrics”, “a general disregard for tidiness and uniformity of dress”, tribal, floral or geometric patterns, restrictive accessories of ethnic designs, long loose messy hair with a range of head bands (5).

In conclusion, bohemianism as a counter-culture insists on a freestyle life basically characterised by few permanent ties, open relationships, expression of identity, appreciation and creation of art. In the aspect of fashion alone, dressing Boho chic offers followers numerous occasions to play with their creative mind and to highlight their uniqueness. Whether it is indulging in bohemianism or merely putting on Boho chic outfits, the spirit has been a great source of inspiration for many young people in the world.


(1) Subculture List, 2016. Bohemianism [online]. Available from: [Accessed 19 February 2016]

(2) Walker, A., 2011. What is bohemian? BBC News [online], 11 March 2011. Available from: [Accessed 19 February 2016]

(3) Grimwood, J., 2015. Bohemianism: A British Subculture. Impact [online], 28 September 2015. Available from: [Accessed 19 February 2016]

(4) Mount Holyoke College, 2016. Bohemianism and Counter-Culture [online]. South Hadley. Available from: [Accessed 19 February 2016].

(5) HubPages, 2015. Boho – Fashion History and Bohemian Style. HubPages [online]. 12 August 2015. Available from: [Accessed 19 February 2016].