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  • angelonecaitlin

Granted, there are some shady teenagers in the mall.

My posts have not been embarrassing enough, so let me introduce you to myself in 2004

- a true "Mall Goth."

In my journals in 2004 we begin to see how social media and musical trends can influence teenage fashion. Although “Mall Goth” was a term that was around in the late 90’s, the early 2000s see an increase in Mall Goths thanks to mainstream success of musical acts promoting Goth aesthetics and the rise of social media platforms like MySpace and Xanga, where countless sad poems were posted by users.

Pictured above: A collage of AFI pictures and My Chemical Romance

Mall Goths were quite literal, it was adolescents that looked Goth and spent large amounts of time at the mall. I even had a small claim to fame at my local mall, the girl that was “leading a boy around on a chain” as can be seen in this local newspaper write up on the mall culture. My friend and I bought a dog leash at the pet store that night and thought it would be funny to walk around with it. I was in no way, "shady" - I had a 4.0 and was in bed by 10 p.m. I was not rocking the boat here. The store Hot Topic helped advance this subculture as it was the first mainstream alternative clothing store.

The subculture had a lot of haters. Many times, Mall Goths were considered “posers” by the older generation of Goths because the subculture mainly used the fashion of the Goth subculture and did not necessarily use the music and values. The Mall Goth aesthetic also permeated the nu metal, industrial, metal punk, and emo music scenes. Companies and magazines marketed towards teens that had money and were drawn to the siren calls of jangling chains from jeans and the thump of hair glue closing.

Pictured above: Advertisements for clothing companies and an advertisement for Altoids Strips

The subculture valued individualism and a push against societal norms which was harder for individuals in smaller towns. It allowed teenagers to easily explore testing boundaries and embracing individualist ideals while connecting to something very familiar, consumerism. Mall Goth begins to die out because of a shift in mainstream music, but we also see the trend of online shopping becoming more prevalent. Less teens were spending time at the mall and spending their allowances. We can see this shift in advertisements for the music magazine Revolver where mail order is now shifting over to a website platform. Gone were the days of circling items you dreamed of buying in a catalog.

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