I can hear you asking, what is a goth grifter? To put it simply it is somebody using the goth subculture in order to make money, receive free gifts, or to gain popularity in ‘alternative’ subculture circles in general. Through my years of listening to goth and punk music and participating in various ‘scenes’ I have seen my fair share of them so it is fairly easy for me to root them out. All of the information included in this article is public and quite easy to find so I didn’t have to dig far to get any of it.
The most recent really obvious case that has totally jump started me into finally writing about this is the mysterious appearance of the self proclaimed metal and goth music lover Madi Danger. I first saw her on YouTube last year when she made a ‘intro to goth music’ video that misrepresented Echo &The Bunnymen and Joy Division both as goth bands. I corrected her just on the Bunnymen inclusion, because I didn’t feel like being called a gatekeeper. She came back with the whole ‘post-punk is a genre under the goth umbrella’ fallacy. I automatically thought that she must be really young to think that since it is surface level misinformation. Somebody older and wiser would know differently. Well, guess what? Imagine my surprise when I found out that she was twenty-four years old when she wrote the above misinformation.
The question that immediately comes to my mind is why would a fully grown ass woman in her mid-twenties suddenly hitch her trailer to the goth subculture? She obviously knows a whole lot about metal music and is a big fan of that genre. Yet, she all of a sudden likes goth and wants to share her surface level knowledge of it with everybody? It just really feels inauthentic, like she is hitching her identity now to ‘goth’ because it is what is very popular. She has the teased hair, the clothes, and all of the frippery, but it’s just really a shell that is easily cracked. She is using goth as an additive to her already metal identity, to gain more attention and more of a following. You know what? I wouldn’t hold anything against her at all if she was a youngster, but she is now twenty-six years old. This is a grift for subculture clout, and a painfully obvious one at that.
The next kind of goth grifter that I have run into a lot online are the ones who call themselves ‘trad goth’. They think that calling themselves such will gain them more goth community clout since the goth grifter feels that anything out of the 80’s is cool. They copy what they think the 80’s were like, but since they weren’t even born in that decade it just comes across as really shallow and reeks of desperation. They want what the 80’s produced, such as goth music, without any of the hardships that the people who actually went through that decade lived through. It’s the exact same crap as the wannabe hippies of the late 80’s; people longing for a decade, which in reality, they probably would not have fit into.
The goth grifter doesn’t really have any shame and will usually openly advertise their Amazon wish-list as the person above has done. They do this, of course, to receive free products. My huge question about this is why the heck do they think that they deserve free merch from complete strangers? What are they producing that is so damn special that they think that they deserve these goods? It takes some ego to think that their contribution to the goth subculture is that important and that worthy of attention, when in fact the information they share is usually limited and based off of misinformation. So instead of helping the subculture they hinder it, because all of the youngsters who follow these grifters head down the same path of outright lies and half truths. It’s a goth circle jerk.
I feel kind of bad for calling out this particular person in the last three photos but they embody so perfectly the point I am making. I have been running this blog as a hobby for over two years now and never once did I think that it would be okay for me to throw up an Amazon wish-list so that I could get free crap. In fact I do not make a dime at all from doing any of this. I do this because I love both the goth and punk subcultures and want to share real information, not half truths and lies that I have pulled out of my ass. I was actually a teen in the 80’s who lived through that decade not somebody playing 80’s dress-up for cash and prizes.
Because of the mainstream popularity of the series Wednesday you now have numerous goth grifters who think that dressing in black and copying a dance makes them automatically a goth. It reminds me of when Mansonites in the 90’s did the same exact crap; copying an image that they think gives them an entryway into the goth subculture, when in reality the opposite is true. When people try so hard to match an image is just reeks of desperation. How is any of this different from the endless grifting that the Kardashians do on social media? It’s done for the exact same reason; to be popular despite not having a discernable talent. Oh wow, you can buy some black clothes online and do over the top ‘goth’ make-up. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt; bully for you. You don’t deserve special treatment for it, or over the top praise for doing what thousands have done before you.
What is the best thing you can do? Not give money or gifts to any of these goth grifters. Within a few years they will more than likely drop out of the subculture and pivot to another grift. Remember Sebastian Columbine? No? My point exactly.