Several British papers are running with a story that a self-identified Goth called Aisah has complained about being abused for her appearance by two employees of a Tesco supermarket in London. The papers involved are red-top tabloids – the Sun, Star and Mirror – or faux broadsheet rags like the Daily Mail and the Mail’s free spinoff Metro.
At first glance this seems to be a non-story. Fielding abuse from complete strangers is an occupational hazard of being into any kind of culture that doesn’t involve sportswear or high street fashion.
It’s a little disquieting to have the employees of a major business ‘pointing’ and ‘gasping’ at your fashion style, but if you are sufficiently outraged by this, a word with the store manager would have landed the two critics in enough trouble.
To take it to the local media is not only overly dramatic (and who ever thought that of Goths) but ultimately casts Goth culture as a whole in rather poor light. If we’re in the media to discuss the dangers of abuse, I’d rather it was for much more serious matters.
I don’t in any way wish to detract from Aisah’s experience. She was there, and I was not – if she feels sufficiently upset by what happened, she has every right to redress. My personal perspective is that being Goth means turning the other cheek so often you might as well be stood on a turntable.
I often get riled by the casual insults and criticisms I come in for from utter strangers over the many years I’ve worn nothing but black – and I am constantly reminded that we aren’t meant to care what others think. That’s why we’ve drifted into this subculture. We can’t run off to ‘tell teacher’ every time someone bellows incomprehensible words from a passing car, or hisses a snide remark in a supermarket aisle.
Aisah should get whatever apology she expects from Tesco, but I wish it hadn’t been turned into a media circus – all I see when I read these articles is the great British public thinking Goths need coddling and babysitting, and enjoy a position of privilege that is simply not the case.
If you want to go somewhere you won’t get criticism from casual passerbys – quite the contrary – come to Whitby Goth Weekend in a couple of weeks time. We’re currently giving away two tickets so enter the competition, put on your glad rags, and come enjoy being a freakshow without getting sarcastic comments whilst you’re buying sardines.
Share, comment, like, disagree and argue with me in the comments below!