Honors Projects


This research explores how the initiation processes of goth subculture have changed with the introduction and implementation of social media. Using a textual analysis of social media content from TikTok, this research identifies themes present in the virtual community that provide greater insight about how someone becomes goth and the factors which influence the transformation. I highlight the importance of subcultural capital in its creation of a social hierarchy and the goth status of members which fall under the categories of "elder goth," "seasoned goth," and "baby bat." Furthermore, this research examines how commodification, education, and gatekeeping influence the lines between being an "insider" or "outsider" to this subculture. Social media makes goth subculture more accessible, thus allowing former outsiders to manipulate and change the accepted culture. In response, goths react through educating individuals or gatekeeping them from the subculture creating further contention around what is "goth" and what is "not." These themes work in conjunction with one another to blur the lines between physical and virtual goth spaces, and calls into question if this group remains a subculture.


American Culture Studies


American Culture Studies

First Advisor

Professor Rob Sloane

First Advisor Department

American Culture Studies

Second Advisor

Dr. Matthew Donahue

Second Advisor Department

Popular Culture

Third Advisor

Dr. Susana Peña

Third Advisor Department

Ethnic Studies

Publication Date

Spring 4-22-2024