24 August 2015

Why I dislike goth youtubers

It´s controversy time on Deus Ex Machina, where I shit all over people from the internet I do not personally know!

The reason being for this post is because I do want to address subculture matters again (as much as youtube and the people on it can be regarded as part of the subculture) as well as this theme being mentioned very briefly by our dearest from Copenhagen one time that made me think about the subject.
And then when I wasted my time on youtube the other day and realized that I am subscribed mostly to goth youtubers -and couldn´t watch more than 2 minutes of a video- was when I questioned why something that has sparked my excitement and inspiration 2 years ago seems ridiculous now.


I will not pour shit over specific youtubers, I think we all know who they are, plus shitting all over people has never gotten anyone far (also, one could easily write a post about why they hate goth bloggers). Rather, I will try to explain why it is weird for me to watch goth/ alternative people on youtube whilst myself being one, and hopefully start a fruitful butthurt discussion.

This post concerns primalry people who vlog and sit there talking to their watchers about different topics, rather than people who have a purposeful comic persona on youtube.

1. The topics

Almost on every goth youtuber´s channel you´ll find videos like "how to do Siouxsie makeup"; or "how to make a shirt out of stockings"; or even better: "the essential goth bands you cannot live without".
I suppose all those are nice if you have been living under a rock. But come on, the same makeup styles, the same clothing idea are pretty much being repeated all over again on each channel, and then you get the occasional "goth tag" or "10 ungoth confessions" that make you want to puke. Sure, I did an ungoth confessions post and a goth tag, so that makes me no different, but youtube is a different medium than a blog, and in our day and age people are a lot more attentive to a video than to written text online. It just feels like most goth youtubers love placing themselves in a box of the same themes and cathegories, which from an outside perspective makes goth kind of boring, and goth is one-sided enough...

I do realize that a lot of goth youtubers address a great variety of topics such as bullying, self confidence while dressing goth etc. But aside from that all other videos are like a checklist of things you need to film before getting fully acknowledged as a "goth youtuber". And frankly, you don´t need to watch a tutorial on how to rip stockings in order to achieve the same result, do you?

On a more personal note: no sin is greater in my opinion than introducing people to the "most essential goth bands". I have written on this subject numerous times: there is no right or wrong bands to start with when getting into goth. As a matter of fact, fuck all those whiny bastards, start with diverse bands, start with music that makes sense to you, maybe you don´t even like the 80s at all and that´s ok, most of the bands are super boring anyway, and it really depends which musical background you are coming from.


2. The production

This is something that our dearest has mentioned- when you see a person all dolled up with elaborate makeup, teased hair etc you cannot help but wonder if all that work was done just for the sake of the video. Sure, so many of us dress alternative every day, put on makeup and what not and need I not tell you how fun that is, but the world behind the camera and your every day life is a lot different, and behind every filmed material there is some amount of production going on, no matter what kind of youtuber you are. It is exactly like television.

So seeing someone who looks like a walking WGT on each video they make kind of leaves you with a hypocritical impression. Do you need to make yourself pretty for your watchers so that your youtube persona will be acknowledged as goth? Is it that crucial? I just wonder how many of goth youtubers look like they do every day, and if they don´t have days where they wake up walking in their onesies with hair messed up and makeupless. Or weeks where they dress casually.

I am not saying it´s black or white, but imagine the situation- I am going to film a video about something concerning goth. What would be the first thing to do before I set up the camera?

On a side note, one could argue how much is the persona of any individual on youtube being projected authentically, with all editing and cutting to make the speech more fluent, lighting and script and everything else that goes into production making you presentable to get the subject of your video successfuly across.
You cannot compare the types of youtubers that do music videos or tutorials with the ones who vlog, but frankly nothing looks natural behind the camera.


3. Self presentation

This is perhaps the most tricky part to talk about, and it´s the way people express themselves in a video. I find that so many goth youtubers take themselves too seriously as if goth is their only occupation. Sure, one makes a goth themed youtube channel for the very reason, but the way these people talk about themselves makes for a very self centered and artificial impression.
Goth people in real life don´t make closet tours; goth people in real life don´t address themselves "being goth" at all. Which is why it makes me feel awkward someone highlighting that very aspect of their life.

On the one hand, of course the subculture and/or other attributes of the umbrella term "goth" would influence an individual´s life and it would be wonderful and inspiring, but creating a sort of goth universe in the form of videos, where you sit with the background of your goth realm talking only about goth with gothic music wearing all black with heavy makeup, makes for a very one sided presentation of yourself.
And again I come back to the previous argument: the production- goth is something you do not do 100% of your time. Sure it is real as much as you as a person is real, but it is like looking at a certain aspect of a person´s life with a magnifying glass, saying "I am only that thing".

It resembles a cartoon character with only one attribution designed only to highlight certain happenings in a plot, like Chief Wiggum in The Simpsons. Do you see what I mean?

On the other hand, making an entire channel where you talk about yourself is quite a self centered move. Is it wrong? Nope, here I am writing a blog mainly about things that concern me. But again, the world of youtube is a lot more exaggerated, placing the transparency of the person behind the camera in question. One can always ask him/herself to what degree is the person in the video real. And I obviously mean not real as in flesh and blood, but how honest they are with the world they are communicating with, and the way they chose to communicate.


In the most serious conclusion, I am in no way dismissing goth youtubers and saying they are doing something wrong. The stated above is perhaps my way of explaining why watching specifically goth youtubers makes me uneasy and leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

And for the record, a great number of goth youtubers has inspired me greatly at the time, and I have made 2 video blogs myself which still can be found online (where I am very serious and not the least sarcastic hehe).
After consuming the subculture for a while, embracing it fully, stomping it and throwing it to the trash I can say that discovering goth people on youtube is a treat for young people who are just getting to know the subculture, realizing they are not alone out there. Alternatively, the process of making youtube videos can be a great thing for the youtubers themselves, as it is a really cool hobby and can be in many ways beneficial and entertaining.

So why the criticism? I dunno, I guess this thing you call goth, or the gothic subculture takes on a different light when you get to see real people around you organize gigs, play in bands, shop for records and meet for a beer. Say, it is more down to earth. Whereas after watching a single person online telling you about all that you already know seems kind of pointless.
But imagine your 14 year old self living in the middle of nowhere discovering that there are other odd bats like you whose voices just want to be heard.
I guess it´s all a matter of perspective after all.

Tell me what you think in the comments if I have sparked your opinion, and thanks for the ones who read it!

N. Finsternis


  1. You put into words pretty much everything that makes me feel a bit uneasy whenever I watch a goth youtuber. Good post, food for thought.

  2. *claps* Wow. Extremely well put and so many things I have thought or wondered myself!

    1. Eeep thank you so much! I am glad i could express my opinion clearly and informatively :)

  3. I once featured a vlogger on my page too but I dont spend much tme on Youtube at that time but there was one afternoon where I watched several vids and I wondered the same thing!

    1. google is like my tv, i guess i spend to much time on it sometimes hehe

  4. Totally agree! Even here on my country I feel the same!

  5. Once in a while I watch some tutorials, but most of the people seem to be lonely people who live in the middle of nowhere. I don't really watch those videos. I don't need to watch 20 minutes of someone rambling on and on about their hell bunny purchase from hot topic. Most of those videos are basically torture. Some vloggers are pure fluff that I enjoy, but most are useless

    1. those clothing hauls kill me. consumerism much? what will it teach younger people, that you need to buy a bunch of stuffin order to be goth?

  6. Quite frankly, each one of your thoughts can be applied to goth bloggers. A certain repeating themes on most vlogger accounts? You wrote you did them too. Okay, I'm not judging, but before accusing vloggers of repeating each other have you thought WHY did you do two tags yourself? I'm guessing for fun and/or to have your followers know you better. Vloggers probably did it because of the same reasons. They have their fanbases, too, and want to keep them interested and entertain them.
    Siouxsie makeup done to death? When I look for tutorials for something I like to take a look at as many as possible and choose the one that works the best for me. Or maybe the vloggers think they are better at it than other bloggers. Or their fans think so. Who cares?
    I wouldn't care either as an outside perspective of goth being onesided subculture. Do you really imagine somebody outside the subculture would subscribe to all existing goth vloggers, watch every single of their videos only to be able to freely conclude 'ahhh yes, they are all the same'. Come on, that's just ridiculous.
    And I assure you - I know one girl who was persuading me to make a video on how to nicely rip stockings and she got the idea of turning tights into shirt when she saw it on Youtube. So... say what you will, but there is a number of people who benefit in one way or another from watching gothic vloggers.

    Also - when you see a blogger all dolled up, with teased hair and elaborate make up, can't you help but wonder all of it was done only for the sake of photos? Sure, some bloggers are better at convincing it's just their normal way of being, some are worse (I suppose I myself don't look too authentic). But what I'm wanting to say is that every online expression of self is a creation to lesser or greater extent and you can't help it no matter what. There's always only a part of you showing, even if you decide to run a blog that covers variety of topics close to your heart. My blog is hella onesided. Mainly because most of my interests are ungoth as possible and I do not wish to write about them or myself, because my loves are for me and me only. And if somebody likes the same things, I imagine them to rather read about this topic on Wikipedia or anywhere else than on some random blog. I show to the online world only this part that real world sees without getting deeper into knowing me. But that's the way I want it to be.

    I don't have a problem with things like '10 Most Gothic Things I Did In My Life' or sitting in an ubergoth attire while ranting about gothic shit in somebody's life, around them and what goth means to them. Sometimes bathing in gothic stereotypes is just pure fun, because this subculture is quite over-the-top on its own and I find it hard not to make fun of it. But I guess you're right - being a super gothy goth who apparently does only gothic things while dressed very gothic can annoy people who are a part of subculture for a long time, have their own views about it, because that looks quite... poseurish? Still, it wouldn't look convincing if somebody would talk about prejudices they face as goths while sitting in colourful pyjamas.

    That being said, I don't watch vloggers. And what annoys me the most? Shopping hauls. Dear Sea, it's beyond my understanding why anybody would be interested in watching this.

    1. Oh Ra, I do agree with your opinion as well. I did delete this one paragraph in the post where I mused on how the way anyone presenting themself online - be it through a blog, video or social media- can be regarded as authentic, and how we end up perceiving that person. This is an entire philosophical discussion on it´s own and worth the debate, things do get complicated.

      I guess that for me personally a blog leaves a different impression than a video. A blog assosiates for me with a journal or a magazine, where you have columns about this and that. But videos are kind of like television, and as soon as television start beong foney you notice it, and so this is the feeling I get when I see "real" people online that don´t seem so real to me at times. I guess the idea of making photos with makeup is different- you adorn yourself in order to create a photographic piece, even art, just by taking a picture of your outfit in an abandond building. This has an entirely different vibe when you watch someone show off their record collection or ramble endlessly on camera. The "realness" of it is different, in my opinion at least.

      Connecting with other goths out there isn´t bad, I guess youtube is a very straightforward way to do it and if at first I was in awe of it, I grew up from it and it now seems ridiculous to me. No one has to be super varied in their topics on their blog or youtube channel, but again a blog leaves a different impression than a video. I believe that what troubles me the most is the magnification of self that you get from videos, where as a blog post has a more informative feeling to it, even when you write about the same damn goth tag. Maybe you or other people don´t distinguish these 2 medias that much, I guess I do which is why the post.

      Shopping hauls are indeed the worst.

    2. I do watch goth youtubers quite often for the sake of entertainment, but I guess I have developed some critique against it because I come from a different background than goth, I did not begin my musical journey with it, so I always tend to look outside the box and search for different ways to express my alternativeness, realizing with time that goth has some boundaries that I would like to break, which is why I enjoy bashing it so often.
      Does it mean that people who look 100% goth are narrow minded and should change or seek other inspirations outside of the goth drawer? Of course not!! It is only my perspective on things. Amd people who like goth things only should just be happy in their realm and there is nothing wrong with. I suppose I like looking at the subculture from different sides and I would personally like to see a sudden change in the direction it is going. I guess I had enough? :)

    3. Okay, now I can see where you come from and I can't not agree (wtf English grammar) with you. When I think about it more thoroughly, it looks to me I don't distinguish these two media, because I don't watch many videos at all. Truth is, I can't focus for shit on long videos XD If they would last 2-3 minutes I would probably watch them more often, but 7-30? Bite me. So I'm pretty inexperienced in that field and maybe that's why I don't see the downsides of vlogging - simply because I avoid it. I prefer blogging, because it's way easier for me to understand written English than spoken; when I was a young gothling I was an avid reader of Gothic Charm School and, quite frankly, it helped me a lot with creating a healthy outlook on gothic stuff. But then again, it was 9 or so years ago, vlogging wasn't that popular back then - who knows, maybe if I were 16 now, I would turn to videos while looking for advices? And ultimately get depressed by realizing I'll never be as pretty and dolled up as these vloggers, so I won't ever be a good goth, lol.

      And there is something that also you said. I'm myself too long in the subculture to be interested in other people's opinions on goth. There is this saying when you ask 10 goths on their views on gothic subculture, you'll get 11 different opinions. So, vloggers have their views, I have my own shapen long ago, and I don't need to reassure myself they are proper or something. I guess this is it, what makes it interesting for younger people and annoying for older ones. But that makes me think why expressing own views doesn't annoy me when I read about it on blogs? And that's where I finally understand what do you mean by saing these two media leave different impressions. Video is more self centered and more oriented on turning the person into alternative celebrity. Or on maintaining the celebrity status. And that's truly something that leaves bad taste in my mouth.

    4. Exactly! You mentioned goth youtubers not being popular in the past- and I think this is majorly what began to disappoint me. Maybe because there are so many of these "alternative celebrities" that made me so tired of it. There are so many goth youtubers that do the same thing, that maybe reduced by half would have made me a bit more excited about the genre? The more the merrier is false in this case hehe.

  7. Yeah, I feel similar; many of the videos are very alike, and don't add much to the discussion, but I do appreciate that for the 21st century teen goth who's more likely to be isolated from a physical scene, it can be desperately lonely when you want to share something you love with another person. Worrying about 'goth rules', key bands and cliches (as a lot of goth videos are about) are something you're more likely to worry about as a teenager too.

    What I'd really like to see is more dance videos! It would be a lot of fun to see other people enjoying music - I'd really like to see you dance too, as your act sounds cool. :)

    1. educating for some, overdone for others.

      oh I tried filming industrial dance videos in my babybat years and I got quite a few dislikes at the time XD those are all deleted though. The only reason I would film a dance video would be to dance to a song of my friends´ band so that everybody could hear it!

  8. Youtube is a place to express ourself, but it's also a business to some. If you identify as goth, it makes sense to make vlogs because it's a topic you already know about and you have other goths as a target group. It's awesome to make money doing something you like and becoming a bit famous at the same time. On the other side, if your videos are targeted at a goth audience, it makes sense to pick subjects that would appeal to a goth. And thinking that so many people will see your videos, it's normal to want to look presentable.

    Repeated themes are a bit of a bummer, especially if you want to learn about something new and after a while you just see the same videos over and over again.

    A youtube vlogger I enjoy, who isn't always done up, and seems to be genuinely herself, is grav3yardgirl. She's fun, she's quirky, she has her own fashion sense. She hasn't ever identified as goth per se, but she definitely belongs to the alternative scene. She thrifts, she makes awesome outfits by combining goth, pirate, victorian and high fashion elements, she tests random devices to see if they work, she talks about her life. I 'd love to see if you agree with me on this.

    1. I agree with you as well. A thought came to me after I read your comment- this whole "goths for goth" thing. I do believe if you have something to say you need to say it to everybody, and sometimes goth videos seem so targeted towards goth that maybe a normal person watching the videos would not get the message? I mean, in a case where one vlogs about important subjects- like gender identity or self confidence. Sometimes I feel the goth videos are to enclosed in themselves but then again this is pretty much how the subculture in real life works as well.

      Ha, graveyardgirl? I know her of course, and I would never think of her as a goth youtuber hehe :P her channel is really diverse and I was subscribed to her for a while to watch her "does this thing really work" series, it was hilarious. My problem with her is her loud voice, I got annoyed with it after a while and all this show and tell was kind of to commercialized for me. I personally just hate to see people online telling you to buy stuff (even not directly) we have that enough in the media XD but she is great, some of her sarcasm I have adopted in my english speech :)

  9. Almost every youtuber talks about important subjects. So I guess a more mainstream person will watch a similar video by a more mainstream vlogger. Goths are indeed enclosed, but all subcultures are this way.

    Can you believe grav3yardgirl is 31?! I actually find her voice funny. And while I do get some inspiration in terms of style, I wouldn't ever buy anything she proposes, because there are no stores like those in Greece and my body is very different from hers anyway.

    1. wow, 31?? I remember I tried watching some of her older videos and it was interesting to see how much she has changed :)

  10. I know this post is a year old at this point, but I was googling "goth vlog topics" and this was on the first page of returns. I started vlogging at the beginning of this year, and was asking on FB if anyone had any particular requests. I ended it with, "There are lots of standard 'goth tag' topics I could cover, but, frankly, unless I have a bunch of people clamoring to hear my 'ungoth confessions' they all seem painfully contrived. So what do you actually want me to talk about/show you?"

    In any case, AS someone who vlogs, and who could arguably be considered a "goth vlogger" I just wanted to say that I understand and generally agree with your points above. I might even vlog about it. ;)

    1. Hi, thanks for the feedback! I am happy you liked the post despite the criticism! :) In all honestly I would love to do youtube myself one day, but some aspects of this kind of self representation online bother me, especially in a reality-show-like format such as vlogging. I have nothing against people who vlog of course :)
      I would love to check out your channel, and if you do happen to vlog about the topic, it could be amazing if you could mention this post! I would be curious to hear about topics such as authenticity and honesty as a vlog topic, I think it's a very interesting one.
      Good luck with your channel! :)