The Unexpected Goth Inclusions on Popular Culture and Sports

André Monteiro
André Monteiro

As illustrated in our article Gothic: New Directions in Media and Popular Culture, goths have now made appearances in television shows, movies and music. Yet, goths have also made their way to several areas in pop culture and even sports, which may surprise you.

While the article mentioned above does touch on gothic animations like ‘The Corpse Bride’ (2005), ‘Coraline’ (2009) and ‘Frankenweeinie’ (2012), the number of characters in cartoons infused with traits from gothic culture also bears looking at.

In fact, the list can be quite extensive with Hot World Report naming a number of cartoon characters in their list of iconic goth characters, like Sam Manson from the Nickelodeon show “Danny Phantom”, vampire queen Marceline from Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time” and of course, Raven from the cartoon version of “Teen Titans”.

These characters are often used to bring an element of darkness to the show (in the case of Raven, she is literally half-demon), illustrating how far-reaching goth culture has become.

Every year in the town of Whitby, a football match known as “El Gothico” takes place between a team of locals and a team of visiting goths.

Indeed, Whity also holds the phenomenon of the Whitby Goth Weekend, a modern Goth music festival that takes place this year on October 25th ending on October 27th, has seen the performance of Goth and the role of music tourism as part of a broader neo-liberal tourism policy, marketing literature and websites that sell Whitby as a spooky town, and suggest that this strategy has driven the success of the Goth festival and the politics of its ownership, and its increasing visibility as a mainstream tourist destination for those who want to dress up for the weekend.

The event attracts hundreds of spectators, with a “Boy Division” male cheerleading squad to boot. This is of course just one part of the annual goth get together in the picturesque seaside town, but it goes to show that goths and sports go together that suggests that the mainstreaming of the festival has led to it becoming less attractive to those more established, Goths who see the subculture’s authenticity as being rooted in the post-punk era, and who believe Goth subculture should be something one lives full-time.

In fact, The Cure’s goth icon Robert Smith is an avid Queens Park Rangers fan, following in his father’s footsteps and supporting the London club since he was a boy.

Given the popularity of the “El Gothico” matches, goth football teams may take even one day have their own unique anthems, as club songs form an integral part of football culture.

As noted by Ladbrokes’ tribute to FA Cup fan songs, each team has their own individual songs which helps spur on their teams.

Who knows, one day we may even hear hundreds of fans in the stands singing an anthem produced by the iconic Robert Smith.

With Sourcing Journal detailing how goth has now made its way to London Men’s Fashion Week, goth’s influence on street style is very apparent. Attendees at the event wore apocalyptic cargo vests, black latex tops, skull motifs and silver charmed jewellery, to pay homage to the culture.

Today’s styles also hark back to goth’s heyday back in the 1980s and 1990s through the use of black leather trench coats and a smattering of mad plaid.

In conclusion, the examples above show that goth has made its way to even the most unexpected corners of popular culture.

Though goth at its core may remain misunderstood and even misrepresented by the world at large, its far-reaching influence suggests that the world may be a little more gothic than we think.

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