Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Weird World of Etsy "Goth"

Readers, I love Etsy. I love it quite a bit. I like supporting small businesses without leaving my desk, browsing vintage items without the smell of mothballs everywhere, and being terribly amused by the ever-changing market of items to be found there. But still, there's something about Etsy that I find mildly frustrating. That is, the sheer oddness of things that Etsy sellers label "Goth."

Ah, yes, a Leopard print wedding bouquet. Peter Murphy would be proud.

Can I coin the term Bunny Goth with these Bunny ears?

Little House on the Prairie, a novel by Bram Stoker, starring some chick in this Vintage "Victorian" dress.

All of the Trad Goths decorate their jackets in this pastel yellow lace trim.

And what else would you keep your black lipstick and vamp fangs in than a see-thru purse (that looks vaguely like something a Polly Pocket Doll would come in?)

Andrew Eldritch composes all his tunes on a pink plastic piano like this. In the temple of Barbie!

Oddly enough, hats like these are apparently not uncommon among younger Goths. But in gray? 

If you want to go further, how about wolf ears? Definitely the hot new trend in Goth clubs. You can call yourself...Moon Moon?

I've run out of quips, here is a pink kitten sweater.

See, thing is, I think a lot of this has to do with people sticking irrelevant but popular tags on their products so that more people will buy them. Still, if someone is searching for Goth items, how likely are they to buy a mislabeled yellow sundress or pink plastic piano?

Why do you think people are misusing the tag so much? Ignorance, wanting attention for their products no matter what they are? Should we launch a campaign to stop those tags? Answer below!


  1. I love this post! I'm more of an Ebay shopper than Etsy, and it's so frustrating to try to find something that's actually goth, when tens of thousands of sellers misuse, abuse, or unintentionally have no idea what the term is for so slap it onto their crappy items.

  2. Oh, this post is SO true!!! I've been giggling in disbelief, snorting in disgust, and shaking my head in exasperation for years now at some of the Etsy items labeled "goth"!! Although I haven't found any quite as absurd as some of those you've listed here. I must put in a plug for the bouquet, though, as it just MIGHT get the seal of approval from a Victorian goth if tied with a black ribbon...

    Seriously, I think sometimes people just slap on as many labels as they can get on there, just so more people will look at their stuff. Annoying, but I don't think there's really much the Etsy watchdogs can do about it. :-(

  3. A pink kitten sweater, you have to be kidding me. They call that Goth. XD OMG!

  4. Haha- Moon Moon. I have very similar issues with the Goth tag on Tumblr- How is a blowjob even remotely related to Goth???

  5. I think for many of these items, they are actually tagged as 'Pastel Goth' not simply 'goth', which is a fashion choice which fuses cutesy pastel coloured items with gothic influences - whether or not you like to think that 'pastel goths' are gothic that is the tag that is used not just goth :)

  6. yeah i have this problem annoying...

  7. I think it's mildly hilarious. Like going through the victorian tag on tumblr.

  8. Ha ha, Hilarious post. I guess it's a combination of ignorance and bad salesmanship. It is very annoying when you search for something cool and find a piggy pink sweater, not what one should expect.

  9. It is hilarious and somewhat frustrating. I list a lot of my items as "Goth". But then I run a search for the tag and the quote from Princess Bride come to mind.


    Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  10. I have to confess that I love the gray hat with ears, but a) I'm only a goth ally and b) I actually grew up wearing Hallowe'en animal costumes as regular clothing. My parents decided that as long as our nakedness was covered and they didn't have fight with us about getting dressed, it didn't matter what we looked like. I remember going to kindergarten dressed as a tiger.

    I have a couple of good friends with whom I play a game we call Etsy Bingo (it works with eBay or any other online seller, though). We have a set of loaded terms, including but not limited to goth, prairie, Civil War, pioneer, Amish, Quaker, steampunk, and modest, that we'll run through searches occasionally just to see what comes up. It actually started during a discussion about modern takes on Quaker plain dress (we're Quakers), but all of us have ties somehow to other forms of "alternative" dress--historical reenactors, former goths and punks, grew up during and never totally recovered from the Little House in the Prairie-influence clothing era, etc.

    I think mostly we decided that it was so annoying that we had to learn to laugh at it instead.

  11. "In the temple of Barbie"


    I was selling on Etsy right before the recession and got a little too mopey to repost stuff that nobody had the money to buy anymore.

    Perhaps I should start tagging my merch with "Barbie, emo, goth, anime, steampunk, hipster, punk, Amish, Twilight" just to see if I get more random customers.

    Oh, I had a sterling silver bracelet named "Twilight" for the color of the stones, not the book. It seriously hadn't even entered my head and I was completely confused about all the extra traffic. Oh, of course nobody bought it. Cheap Twihards.