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When you're first trying to find a place in the subculture I've always recommend that you do it slowly, it is rather alarming when your Barbie-esque daughter struts downstairs suddenly aspiring to be Wednesday Addams. A good few months is best, that way if they still consider it a phase at least they've had some time to get used to it. Plus in that time you can learn more about the subculture and fashion, the more you know the better your future wardrobe will be.
How do I explain Goth to my parents?
There's nothing quite like explaining the subculture to family and friends, it's so vast and misunderstood you could talk about it all day. Goth's reputation isn't great and the only time your parents have ever heard of us probably isn't in a good light. Try asking them what they believe Goth is, they might even know a few basics if you're lucky. Sadly the chances are you're going to hear about Marilyn Manson and black lipstick but don't get angry and remain polite. The stereotypes are more available to hear than the actual facts.
It's important to mention a few sources that personally effect you and understand the history, this means you can pull up facts against the more commonly known myths. Explain why you're attracted to the subculture and why other people are, how most Goths embrace the negative aspects of life in order to distill them or we appreciate the rich history that's seen in the fashion across the subculture.
Depending on your parent's age they might actually remember a connection to Goth, majority of parents will know a Goth band or a band related to the genre, for example The Cure. Start off looking through their music collection and use a band as a jumping off point, if they've got New Order in there just mention Joy Division and how they're considered a part of our history.
Don't forget to mention some of the pleasant things about Goth, many items are handmade or adjusted so you're not following the crowd and looking at the latest expensive trends. Goth fashion can be picked up at charity shops or in sales, all ready for you DIY with your new sewing skills.
What if my parents don't like Goth?
There will always be at least one person who doesn't react nicely, some people make snap judgements and will never accept you. Harsh but true. You can't control what some people think but you can try and persuade them to change their opinion if you really care about what they think.
Some parents are actually concerned about peoples reactions. Yes it's true, they do worry about whether other parent's will take one look at you and dismiss them as Bad Parents. Plus Sophie Lancaster's death has only quite rightly fanned the fear of bullying As a Goth you soon get used to name calling and other typical reactions but your parents may be mortified. Reassure them and tell them that making a big deal out of everyday reactions actually makes you feel worse, this is a response you're willing to deal with if it means that you get to dress how you feel comfortable.
Please understand that you're their child and despite some of the typical teenager behaviour they still feel protective towards you, stopping you from pursuing this new found interest is their way of doing just that. In the meanwhile compromise with your parents and dress more casually if it makes them feel better, I'm pretty sure your parents made some sacrifices for you. While you're under their roof you have to accept their rules. When you're an adult they'll have to deal with it but despite everything some parents will never approve, accept not approve.
What about long distance family and friends?
After I had established my dark tastes I actually felt closer to my friends and family, they knew me a lot better and shopping with me was less awkward. However, if certain family members or so-called friends told me they didn't approve of it I would have simply ignored them. It's difficult not to let it belittle you but sometimes those relentless type of people need to ignored, you probably won't see them until the family event so it's worth rising above it. However they're not your parents and they don't have any rights on telling you how to dress so if it becomes a problem get your parents involved. You shouldn't have to dress to a friends taste in order to maintain a friendship either.