29 April 2009


Since I "came of age" in the 1960s, I need to remind myself not to scoff or make fun of someone because of how they look. That said, I remain somewhat bewildered by this photo.

I've labelled the post "Goth" without frankly knowing for sure if this is Goth. Could it be a subtype of Goth, a faction, a sectarian splinter group? Someone reading TYWKIWDBI will probably know and can enlighten me/us. Perhaps it's even a parody of Goth (?)

I don't think it's 'shopped. For the longest time I thought that the unreal-looking pupils and sclerae of the eyes had that appearance because those features were painted onto the outside of the closed upper eyelid. (I've seen that before and blogged about extreme mascara last year). But, as Eric points out in the comments, it's probably special contact lenses.

I've also read somewhere that students who "go Goth" are as a group more intelligent than their schoolmates, and that parents shouldn't have knee-jerk reactions against the trend. Again, any insightful commentary would be appreciated.

(Found at a photo-aggregating site without attribution re source or photographer. No sources found with a TinEye reverse image search.)


  1. I would say those are special contacts that allow the sclerae to appear larger (like cat-eye contacts used in movies or like the ones Mystique wears in the X-Men movies).

  2. I think you're right. Post amended. Thanx.

  3. I had a few Goth students; one wore snake eyes contacts (vertical pupil) and another death's heads. Kinda creepy.

  4. I disagree with Erik, Stan. I think you were right with your first assessment, that those are painted on. If you look closely (which I'm sure you did) in your enlarged photo, her right eye seems to have some sort of strange filmy substance over the bottom left portion. This seems to be from the folds of a closed eyelid. While I'm sure there are contacts for this, I think it more likely its just awesome mascara.

    My 14 year old daughter is seems to be moving in the direction. She only wears black and wants to dye her hair that color. We've resisted makeup and such, mostly because she's homeschooled, and she has no strange piercings or tatoos. The odd thing is that she was originally in the Gifted and Talented program at her old public school, as an IQ tested above 150 (though sometimes she seems dumber than dirt), and can have logical discussions on Stephen Hawking's probability cones with no problem. Sigh. Kids these days.

  5. As a "non-practicing" goth myself (I don't "dress up" because I work with the sport coat & tie crowd, and my parents always advised me that I'd find more opportunity in life if I didn't go to extremes in my dress), I would put this young woman under the general label of "goth." Goth has been around as a subculture for almost 30 years now, and it's even gone through a sort of post-goth and neo-goth phase, so it's not as easy as it was to group all goths together based upon their uniform. There is a sort of general goth style, but there are now so many variations on it. Like many subcultures, being "unique" (but within certain standards that generally define the group) is expected. It's not any certain feature of dress that makes one goth, but rather the entire presentation. Many also self-identify as being within the culture based upon interest in its music, art, and just the culture itself. Most dress up to express their "gothness" and to be identifiable to others as such, but it's not required. Like any other group, there are the good and the bad (those who just wish to rebel against whatever and latch onto a subculture to do so), but most goths are sensitive, interesting people.

  6. Thank you, Gothacademic. Excellent comment.

  7. Just from a glance, I can tell you several things that I know from contact with the culture. A) That picture is most likely from Japan. B) It is not Goth, but it shares a lot of similar aesthetic attributes. C) That girl is wearing contacts (if it is indeed a girl). I've seen these types of contacts in person. Full-sclera contacts also exist for different effects (alien or ethereal looks for movies and stage and whatnot) Putting actual paint on the eye is possibly dangerous and hard to imagine working considering paint is a wet medium, and our eyes are (until death) constantly moisturized.

    Now, to elaborate. It is not goth (a subculture devoted to it's own musical genre which as an above poster has said, has existed for 30 years and has it's own evolution and family tree). The look of the picture you showed follows mostly along the lines of visual kei (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_kei). Visual Kei is a subgenre of Japanese rock with a broad spectrum of bands and looks, with a significant indie scene. The emphasis, however, is on the look of the band (hence the name of the genre), and often the bands dress up in pretty, often gender-bending outfits that are sometimes reminiscent of "goth". Even though it may have influence from the older music scene, it didn't evolve out of a true japanese goth music scene, which also exists as a separate entity with separate roots (and is not to be confused with gothic lolita (another japanese fashion and subculture)).

    Often, fans of this genre of music will cosplay (verb - to cosplay, or dress up as a character or person, not always specific; more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosplay), either as members of the band or as some inspiration thereof. Or, they're similar to punks and goths, where they wear their original looks all the time as a part of their self-expression (it depends on the person).

    Wow, that was convoluted. I hope that clarifies some things, though.

  8. I can tell you something about that person, She is a cosplayer of Kyo from Dir En Grey a Japnese band that has been around for a while now, this is earlier Kyo, when he was visual kei. :)


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