Today we’re gonna talk about some of the more irritating to painful parts of being a POC who has an interest in anything Alt. We’ll say Alt as code for all things punk, Goth etc. Subculture, body mods. That kinda freaky stuff.
If you’ve been here a minute you know I’m almost 40 and my interests in Alt flavored fashion and whatnot extends back more than 20 years.
I do live with intersecting marginalizations but today I’m gonna focus on Blackness and how my Blackness intersects with how I experience any Alt community.
Lately I’ve been dabbling in some Alt flavored communities and blogs. I have to laugh a little bit. Though a lot of the crowd is younger, it is still almost just like it was when I was younger. I see a lot of appropriation without any thought whatsoever, that said there’s also been some conflation with things like body mods and funny colored hair being compared to Black folks losing jobs, being kicked out of school etc for wearing their natural hair.
I already had to bounce out of a couple of groups because I’m too tired to be the lone voice. I did it once, tried to explain how choices we make to change our appearance do not equal out to how the appearance of Black folks is policed everywhere. Yes, you may get some side eye if you’re a White person with a shitload of visible mods or with funny colored hair but, you probably won’t be consistently dehumanized, vilified and frankly abused by only slightly closeted racist if you try to do something about it. The two things are not alike.
I think I’d forgotten how much of this being in the Alt community I get exposed to. Casual racist shit (G*psy slurs etc) and the pushback in even asking someone to be thoughtful about calling a look tribal or whatever bullshit.Even the gentlest of p0rodding to be a little more cognizant of stuff causes such tantrums.
This is the shit that put me off of these communities before.
Whether it was an issue of watching blatantly joyfully racist people be tolerated and welcomed because they showed their tits to having to AGAIN talk about why yes Goths don’t have to be thin milk pale waifs, and yes Goths can have kinky curly hair, and YES fat people can be Goths and YES it’s okay that there are many expressions of Gothness and blablablabla.
Maybe I’m just an old cranky Goth but goddamn.
And I tell y’all, if I see ONE more damn time people talk about how open any Alt community is I’m going to pee on somebody’s shoes. That is just not true. There is a veneer of openness and diversity that is often not supported by the White folks in said cultures and communities really doing the work. By doing the work I mean can we not excuse any level of racism? Or can we not when there are folks who are other fuck with them when they say, hey can you not do/wear X thing it hurts me?
Any subculture is just a microcosm of the bigger culture and that needs to be acknowledged.
And while I’m talking, can I say how much Tim Burton fuckin hurt me? Burton has been an aesthetic influence on me forever. And yeah, you know what I KNEW he didn’t give a fuck about POC at all. I knew that. I’ve seen his movies. But, did he really have to say all that?
Fucking A yo. I mean, yeah I know that most of my ALT flavored faves don’t give a fuck about POC. I know that. I just, hearing it so explicitly and so sort of casually just breaks my heart. The complete erasure of my existence in everything I like is hard. It’s what put me off of reading/enjoying a lot of things and it’s not cool. I hate it. It hurts me.
I’m even kind of at the point (again) of stopping reading/following a bunch of Goth stuff I like because there’s just zero representation or even vague nods at there being other Goths than every thin White basic looking White girl in a corset. Like…it is 20 fuckin 16 can we not?
All this said, I will be making more Gothy/subculture posts cause why not?
Next up I’ll try to do a photo/step by step make up tutorial for my favorite Gothy easy look for brown skin. We’ll see how I do.