The word Goth (sometimes misspelled as Goff) has had several different meanings throughout the centuries.
The Goths were a collection of Germanic tribes who menaced the Roman Empire in its later stages. They are famous for dealing the Empire some of the most massive defeats in its history - including sacking the city of Rome itself in 410 AD - and being a significant factor in the Empire's fall.
Historians speculate that Goths did not, in fact, wear black face paint, cut themselves, or listen to crappy wannabe rock music. They were actually pretty metal.
The "Goths" of today are characterized by a fascination with darkness. Influences include Gothic literature, horror films, and music. There are many sub-categories of Goths.
Tara Gilesbie and (as far as we know) Raven are both self-proclaimed Goths. Since they were both fond of self-inserts, essentially all the characters in My Immortal are Goths. However, they are Goths as presented by Tara Gilesbie.
The goth subculture in My Immortal bears more resemblance to the emo subculture. This is evidenced by the music referenced, such as My Chemical Romance and Good Charlotte. However, in My Immortal, the cast is rarely, if ever, referred to as such.
Goths in My Immortal (usually referred to as "goffs") share the following traits:
- Males are universally bisexual.
- Most goffs are either vampires or aspire to be vampires.
- They are shown to have cavalier attitudes towards death, constantly slitting their wrists, attempting suicide, and feeding on innocent Hufflepuffs. At one point, Ebony's best friend, Willow, is killed by B'loody Mary. Loopin rapes her corpse, and Ebony and B'loody Mary share a moment of satisfaction over her death. (These events are later retconned.) Similarly, Draco's body is found, having committed suicide, but Ebony and Vampire find him alive and non-suicidal in the next chapter.
- All goffs are extremely concerned with appearances. This is reflected through incessant descriptions of Ebony's clothing, hair, and makeup. (This may simply be a thing of Ebony.) Ebony also describes her friends' and sometimes enemies' appearances in great detail whenever she sees them.
- Ebony claims to loathe the color pink, as it is a prep color. Ebony also violently rejects Hargrid's gift of a bouquet of pink roses before Hargrid reveals that they can be transfigured into a black flame. Therefore, it can be assumed that goffs dislike pink. However, Ebony often wears hot pink fishnets, and her coffin is lined with hot pink fabric. (It may be because hot pink matches black well.)
- Goffs are Satanists.
- Goffs listen to a highly limited selection of "cool gothik bands" including My Chemical Romance (aka MCR, featuring Gerard Way, "a major fucking hottie"), Good Charlotte, Evanescence, Green Day, Linkin Park, Slipknot and Marilyn Manson.
- Goffs all belong to the Slytherin house. Preps are exclusively Griffindoors.
- Likewise, Goffs are presented as the good side. All goffs are good and all good people are goffs.
- As exemplified with nearly every protagonist in Harry Potter, name changes to something related to Satanism and other dark subjects are common. Harry becomes Vampire, Hermione becomes B'loody Mary Smith, Ron becomes Diabolo, Ginny becomes Darkness, and Neville becomes Dracola.
- Goffs are very cliqueish, mocking and beating up posers like Hargrid and preps like Britney. A common habit of Ebony's is to "put up her middle finger" at any preps in the vicinity. (Added irony is that stereotypical mean girl preps are like this without the violence.)
- Goffs enjoy dark and scary goffik movies, like The Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Clearly, Tim Burton's connection to German expressionism is Gilesbie's chosen method to represent the Germanic origins of Goths themselves.
- The above is surely a more likely explanation than that Gilesbie considered those films hardcore horror.
It is unclear how one converts to being a Goth, though it appears that knowing songs that are not singles from 'Gothic' bands and/or being able to change pink roses into a black flame are signs that one is a true goth.
Although many people view real, present-day Goths as similar to the goffs of My Immortal, most self-identified Goths find goffs just as ludicrous as the rest of us preps.