In this piece in The Washington Post, Leah Bush, a PhD student in American studies and anthropology at the University of Maryland at College Park, argues that Goth culture is more inclusive of its aging members and offers "an alternative to being aged by culture."
Hah! I've been using the #eldergoth hashtag on Instagram for years. Apparently, I have the secret to my aging figured out and didn't even know it. Sweet!
"Happy Goth" may seem like an oxymoron — but that's the point. Bush argues that Goths' success in aging has a lot to do with their ability to juggle opposing, seemingly paradoxical energies. Take Goths' emotional intensity: While off-putting to some, Goths' willingness to harnessdark feelings such as despair, gloom and hopelessness, rather than repress them, can prove healthier in the long run, Bush says. Equally vital is Goths' ability to find humor, irony and beauty in supposedly "ugly" sources, such as flowers that grow by a cemetery or the absurd frailties of the aging body. In a culture, for instance, that already treats older women as frightful, why not own that, and become the most fabulous grand dame of darkness the world has ever seen?
According to Bush, the subculture's most important element is a fierce sense of community. Goths feel united by their embrace of difference: As one older Goth puts it, she's grateful to have a scene "with people who are my age and maybe a little older, who are still living life on their own terms, where they said, 'I'm older but I still want to go out, I still want to listen to wild and crazy music, I still want to look freaky.' "
H/t McKenzie Wark