Greetings. I’ll dive straight in and say I’m here to talk about babies. We had our first little child last October (I was holding out for Halloween but we didn’t quite make it), and she is now 7 months old.
Let’s just pause a moment. I’m not here to ramble on how great my little baby is. I know she’s great, but the world (or at least the small part of the world reading this blog) doesn’t need to hear it OVER and OVER and OVER again. But some people do witter on about their little one as if they’re the only baby in the world. They also talk about how worthless their life was until their little cherub arrived. Oh dear...
The fact is, things change – sure they do. You may not be able to go out as often as you did and you may have to make certain changes to your routine to accommodate the little one. Other than that, your life is still yours. Really. Ignore the horror stories from other parents; it’s a load of bats crap.
Now, add into the general mix the fact that our little daughter has goffs for parents. Now it gets interesting. Do you dress your ‘gothling’ alternatively? After all, they can’t yet express their style and taste and are reliant on you to cloth them. Or do you dress them like every other baby to ‘fit in’ with how other parents dress their children?
Well, these very thoughts had been popping into my head every so often, long before we had our daughter. Gut reaction = dress future child in whatever we liked – i.e. goth him or her up a bit. But my head would click in and I would be concerned as to what people would make of what she/he would be wearing – due to the MASSIVE misunderstandings non-goths have about the scene. Then my stubborn side would click in. Piss off, I’ll dress my child in whatever I choose – it’s none of your business...etc...etc...
And this would go round and round in my head. Then, a bit of a revelation happened while we were at Whitby Goth Weekend back in 2009. I was especially looking forward to this one as Christian Death were playing (Valor haters leave now). Well, we got there a day early – wanting to soak up the atmosphere before we hit the bands over the weekend. We strolled down to the Met where a DJ was playing – and as we walked in noticed that the small stage was rigged up with instruments and the Christian Death banner. Thinking the band had changed venues – and had set everything up a day early – we thought nothing of it and enjoyed the DJ set. About half an hour later, Christian Death came on and started playing (they explained it was a warm up gig before the main event the following evening). No one got up to dance, so just for the sheer fuck-offness of it all, I got up to dance. As far as I knew, I was the only one dancing – until I looked to my left...
There was this little girl dancing by the side of me – possibly 4 or 5 years old. She was completely gothed up, wearing one of those cybergoth multi-coloured pull-on wigs. She was smiling, having a great time – completely absorbed in the music. I could see her parents were reasonably close by, encouraging her to dance if that’s what she wanted.
She may not usually wear anything like that back in the ‘real’ world, but it didn’t matter – she was proud to be wearing what she was wearing. I bet her friends were envious when she told them where she had been on that weekend.
Lots of thoughts hit me at once:
1) It is OK to dress your child alternatively – in fact they might even enjoy the excitement of it all.
2) Being different does not necessarily mean a child will be an outcast – it can shape their character, make them a more interesting person, give them something to tell their friends and help them decide what they really want to be.
3) Being in a goth environment is one of the SAFEST environments to be in – no wonder the little girl’s parents let her dance on her own.
4) Too many other thoughts to mention...
That image stuck with me right up to when we had our daughter. Now, I can’t wait to take her to WGW when she’s older, as well as to other alternative activities. If she wants to rebel when she gets older – so be it. She will be happy, and at least I can say I never compromised who I was just because I had a child.
But unfortunately the prejudices continue. I bought some ‘alternatively designed’ baby bibs for our girl – one of them featuring a pentagram design. After putting the photo up on a popular social networking site, one of my friends asked me if I was worried about dressing my daughter in such a way. He was only asking – even though his ask was a little loaded. I had to explain that no, I wasn’t concerned - and that specifically the pentagram is actually one of the most peaceful symbols in the world (albeit a misunderstood one – see possible future ‘witchcraft’ blog).
It gets kind of awkward when people buy our little girl pink clothes as well. I’m not talking about night wear, babygrows and vests. I’m talking about outfits that she would wear out and about. It’s always going to be a kind gesture – but on the other side of the coin it can be perceived as undermining and a little intrusive as everyone knows what we like to dress her in. Sometimes I feel that the pink outfit they have bought her is simply to get a rise out of me, so as to give the buyer an engineered opportunity to criticise our taste in clothing as well as the choices we make for our daughter. THIS is what she should be wearing Dan, not that black stuff with bats on it you always make her wear! Maybe it should be called Attempted Image Correction Therapy (AICT): the people around you ignore your taste in clothes and image and buy regular overly-girly pinky flowery outfits for your daughter to try and ‘wean’ you off your ‘bad’ and ‘evil’ choices of clothes for her. Then maybe, just maybe, this will rub off on you until eventually you’re like everyone else, a sheep, blue jeans, white t-shirt, a ‘cardy’.................................
Saying that, we’ve had some truly inspired clothes gifts for Cub – someone has spotted something and has thought we’d love it. And they’ve been right. Not all black either. That’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be black, fangs and vampires. If it’s just a nod to the alternative, that’s usually good enough. And the most important part? We will dress her in that item of clothing, rather than shoving it to the bottom of the drawer until she grows out of it anyway.
In all fairness if you choose not to use the internet and brave the high street, you will probably find nothing alternative there unless you stumble across a small family run type shop. Hit the internet and you will discover loads more. Try these beauties:
Ebay – search for ‘Goth baby clothes’
Here are some examples from the three online stores above:
From Gothlings: bottom left is the 'offending' pentagram bib.
From Stardust: not really suitable for a little boy though.
From an Ebay store: how cool are these!?!
This blog was brought to you by winge-a-vision, whilst listening to a bit of Christ vs Warhol.
*blows out candle*