Wannabes, Goths, and Christians

The author asserts that the lamentations from the Christians may be seen as out of place for people who live in the Bible belt. However, I would like to argue that this is not always the case, although I did not live in the Bible belt, my hometown subscribed to many commonalities with these areas. Although being openly Christian and participating in programs similar to University Unity is very common, they still feel sentiments that I see being argued in Wannabes, Goths, and Christians. Many members of the group YoungLife complain about how they are viewed as cultlike, and YoungLife went as far as to have a lesson about how to refute the argument that they are in a cult. Along with this, they feel alienated from social spaces, most notably when the public schools didn’t allow them to sponsor a Christianity themed spirit week. Groups like this also connect to the concepts that are discussed later to the chapter when it comes to Christianity not being “cool.” Many evangelical and southern Baptist groups are the biggest proponents of trying to use pyrotechnics and peppering in “modern” concepts and language.

It was interesting that all of the Christians that the author chose to interview were Evangelicals, which is a quickly growing religious identity. Many Evangelicals, as the author suggests, feel responsible for evangelizing and converting others that they meet and interact with. Which can become uncomfortable to people that are outside of the religion, as they feel pressured into having conversations that they are not comfortable having. In contrast, goths are not actively trying to convert or change people’s identities. Although they may seem more visually aggressive because of their aesthetic choices, they are just visually expressing themselves and not trying to start conversations with others.

As the interviews suggest; however, this doesn’t mean that they will be safe from other people’s stares. One of my friends is a trad goth and we regularly get stares when we are out together, sometimes even an unsolicited comment. It’s interesting because as the interview suggests people feel ok taking pictures of goths and other alternative people without asking for consent to take these pictures, which suggests that we as a society struggle to accept alternative styles of fashion. I think it was essential that the author bring up the fact that whiteness in all these spaces is more acceptable. People of color have to subscribe to the concept of being as close to the model minority as possible. Which normally means that they feel more heavily judged when they are members of alternative communities. However, I think it is also important to acknowledge that modern alternative communities all connect to leftist ideals, including believing that black lives matter. Many people see alternative fashion as not just aesthetic but an announcement of who and what they believe in. Also, the introduction of Carolyn shows that evangelical Christian groups also further the concept of the “model minority,” as she uses Christianity’s “goodness” to supplement her Asian identity’s “goodness.”

I also found it interesting that the author discussed the abstinence and sobriety of the Christians and the lack thereof in the groups that she interviews in a fairly black and white way. Many members of the goth community are straightedge, which means they don’t participate in drugs or drinking, so they share similarities with the Christians interviewed even if it doesn’t seem like they would. Along with this the comparisons between Christian abstinence and “freaky goth sex” doesn’t allow for much of a binary in between. There is no way that everyone who identifies within a group will follow every ideal and notion that is suggested by the group. This could be for many reasons, but it is just impossible to police and control what every member of a group as large as evangelical Christians or people who identify as goth. Because of this, I find it dangerous to suggest that everyone who is goth participates in sex clubs and fetish play. However, I also think it was good to include that the rules that exist in these clubs protect people from sexual assault. As the purity culture that was discussed that surrounds Christians can lead to guilt and shame if/when someone acts out against the intense pressure they feel to be “good.”


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