Left: Jamie Lee Curtis Taete; Right: Anna, courtesy of the interviewee.
On the 14th of May, 2016, the official Tesco Twitter account issued a sincere apology. “I’m really sorry one of my colleagues called you a goth,” read the first of three tweets to a young man named Reece. “I can pass your complaint to the store and get this logged internally on our system.”
Tesco’s apology may have been real, but Reece’s story was regrettably fake. Still, with over 7,000 retweets and 12,000 likes, Reece’s tweet tapped into a widely accepted truth: goths drink Monster. The stereotype has been the subject of numerous viral tweets (“yer dar paints pictures of monster energy drink cans, calls himself vincent van goth”) and even one pained Quora post – tagged “Beverages” – “Why do goths love energy drinks?”
Is there any truth to the stereotype and – if so – why exactly do goths love Monster? Is it a deliberate affectation, or do children of the night simply require the extra energy? How much did the Monster Beverage Corporation intend to cultivate this fandom? And what compels baby goths to first try the drink?
First, it should be noted that (due to an unforgivable oversight from YouGov) there’s no way of knowing if goths enjoy Monster more than non-goths. It’s also worth noting that some goths argue that Monster is more favoured by those in emo and scene subcultures (however, tweets and jokes about emos drinking Monster are nowhere near as common as those about goths).
When I reach out to an older goth who has “been in the subculture for over 30 years”, they say they’ve “never heard of” the Monster stereotype, so it’s possible there’s also an age divide at play. They also point out the drink may be more common among “nu goths” and “mall goths” – there are subcultures within subcultures, after all. It’s clear that “all goths drink Monster” is – like most stereotypes – incredibly reductive. But plenty of goths do drink plenty of Monster, so the question remains: why?
Niki, a 30-year-old goth from the United States, tried her first Monster Energy drink on her 16th birthday. “When I was in high school there was a big group of goths and alternative kids, and they were all super into Monster,” she recalls. “At this point, I’d never tried it, so a friend of mine got me one for my birthday.”
Later, when Niki began working in haunted houses, she says Monster remained “THE” drink among her goth colleagues. “I suppose in a way I only tried it because my peers were drinking it, but there was never any pressure that I remember feeling,” she says. “Seeing it…