The Goth subculture is a contemporary subculture found in many countries. It began in England during the early 1980s in the gothic rock scene, an offshoot of the Post-punk genre. The Goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify.The phrase was coined by the band manager of Joy Division, Anthony H. Wilson, who described the band as 'Gothic compared with the pop mainstream'. The term stuck, and as punk eventually died, Goth survived and became its own subculture. The punk clothing and hairstyles mellowed, and the core 'rejection of society' attitude alone lived on in the gothic subculture.

Goths are a group of people who feel comfortable within each other’s company. There is no specific thing that defines what you need to do or be to fit into the Goth scene (except of course the implied black clothing). People in the Goth scene all have different musical tastes, follow different religions, have different occupations, hobbies, and fashion sense.

Most Goths become Goths because they have been spurned by 'normal' society because the way they want to live their lives does not fit in with how most people are told to live theirs. Goths are free thinkers, people who do not accept the moral rules of society because they're told 'This is just how it is' or 'this is what God says!’ Rather Goths tend to listen to what you have to say, and make up their own mind.

Typical Gothic fashion includes black dyed and crimped hair, bright lips, usually pale skin and black clothing maybe with a dash of spiked collars, dark eyeliner, black fingernails and black period-styled clothing; Goths may or may not have piercings. Styles are often borrowed from the Elizabethan,Victorian or medieval period and often express pagan, occult or other religious imagery such as pentacles or ankhs. While their appearance may shock the mainstream, they dress that way because it is what makes them feel right and they have little regard for anyone.

Because of public misunderstanding and ignorance surrounding gothic aesthetics, Goths sometimes suffer prejudice, discrimination, and intolerance. As is the case with members of various other controversial subcultures and alternative lifestyles, outsiders sometimes marginalize Goths, either by intention or by accident.  Goths, like any other alternative sub-culture sometimes suffer intimidation, humiliation, and, in many cases, physical violence for their involvement with the subculture.

The Goth subculture has influenced different artists—not only musicians—but also painters and photographers. In particular their work is based on mystic, morbid and romantic motifs. In photography and painting the spectrum varies from erotic artwork to romantic images of vampires or ghosts. To be present is a marked preference for dark colours and sentiments, similar to Gothic fiction, Pre-Raphaelites or Art Nouveau. In the Fine Art field, Anne Sudworth is a well known Goth artist with her dark, nocturnal works and strong Gothic imagery. Often, Goth visual art goes hand in hand with Goth music, such as artist Nathaniel Milljour whose gothic artwork is predominantly used by bands and nightclubs. Some of the graphic artists close to Goth are Gerald Brom, Luis Royo, Dave McKean, Jhonen Vasquez, Trevor Brown, Victoria Francés as well as the American comic artist James O'Barr.

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