Why do People get Involved
in Alternative Subcultures?



There they were, walking down the street, a group of them. All dressed in black. One of the girls had shaved all here hair off, except for a tuft at the front. She also wore a black leather studded dog collar and was covered in something which looked like a black fishing net. One of the guys had a mohican haircut, and the others wore long black trenchcoats which flapped in the wind as they walked. There can be no mistake that goths are a striking sight, and certainly people who stand out from the crowd.

But what attracts people to such an image and culture in the first place? This question will be explored in this brief article.


Probably one of the most basic reasons why people are attracted to the various alternative subcultures is the basic feeling of belonging; being part of a group that looks the same, acts the same, and listens to the same music. This is a basic need of all of us and this feeling of belonging is intensified, when one is part of a minority group. People in minority groups, such as goths, new age travellers, bikers, punks etc., can sometimes feel a sense of uniqueness apart from society. However, speaking from my own time as a goth, I discovered that there were some goths who experienced a lot of loneliness. As the old saying goes: "one of the loneliest places in the world can be in a crowd." I know that this is not the case for every goth, but it was certainly so in my own experience, much of the time.

Of course, one of the primary reasons for people getting involved in alternative subcultures is the powerful influence which music exercises. Groups like Marilyn Manson, Alien Sex Fiend,and Cradle of Filth make many converts to the alternative, way of life. Something I asked a goth friend of mine recently was "why do so many of the groups you are into have such a fascination with death, evil, graveyards, vampires, and darkness?" I don't think he had really thought it through too much. I know that when I was a goth, I had not really thought too much about it either, so I don't blame my goth friends for this. I think the answer is in the fact that such groups, and their interests, tend to appeal to the more earthly side of human nature. I think, as well, that some people, if they dwell on dark things for too long, can be badly affected. Remember the issue with the teenage gang 'The Trenchcoat Mafia', the guys who killed other teenagers in their own school? It appears that they were affected in a negative way by certain goth groups. It must be stressed here that I don't think that every goth will commit murder or anything like that. I just point this extreme case out as an example of where dark influences could lead. On a lesser scale, however, I have observed that many goths do tend to suffer depression. It seems to me, from my own observations, that many goths are crying out for love. They are searching for something, or rather Someone.




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