When great happiness unexpectedly swoops down on people, they suddenly turn into cowards. Snatching happiness takes a lot more courage than enduring unhappiness. When you find something precious, you have to hold on to it with all your might and never let it go, whatever else you may lose. ~Kamikaze Girls, Novala Takemoto
This week in particular has been a very dark one for the world of lolitas that is usually filled with starry skies, and sun beams in the morning, of hope and aspirations, of dreams of what could be, and wistful sighs for what was. Instead of cotton candy clouds, I practically see pitch forks looming on the horizon over a land that was once sweet, where open arms greeted the shy faces outside its open gates. Instead, the gates are slammed closed and it seems like there's a cry for blood everywhere you turn.
I ask: What's happened to us? As an alternative community, as a group of boys and girls who love Lolita? When did we start this bickering and hate amongst our own frilly family? And are we going to let it tear us, tear the dream, we all shared apart?
More and more it seems the internet (forums, facebook pages, tumblr posts) are saturated with this over reaching hostility among the community, one that is only sending a negative to all those around us. It seems like every girl has got her "confession" to make, and everyone is just slamming everyone else, just ruthless and without feeling, for the most ridiculous reasons. I realize that with anonymity that a computer screen provides that this is probably a cake walk for most people, to just lash out and put whatever it is on their mind out there for everyone to see.
There is so much going on and being said right now, that it is truly... honestly... disheartening to watch and to read. There is a hurtful hate storm descending on our community, from our community, by our community, that is just painful. Granted, perhaps it is only a handful of people stirring up this malice but in the end, it affects everyone. Originally, I was going to post screen cap-ed snippets from these terrible comments everyone is making, just so mean and hurtful, but you know what I'm not going to add to it. Mostly, because your eyes, dear readers, are too cute and beautiful to see such atrocities, and I will not let you think less of yourself.
Again, a handful of perpetrators does not a community make. Don't buy into the misconceptions, and word vomit of others, and judge an entire group because of a few people's unkind words and actions. You will always find a few of these people, regardless of where you look. And like a friend says, "Stereotypes are based on reality." There is always that one person who will validate your original assumptions because they are living embodiments of the rumors of Lolita being rude, unaccepting, bashing, and overall unpleasant. We are not all like this.
This trash talking about "brand whores" vs. non-brand, elitism vs. "not real" lolita, racial slurring, anti-acceptance, and especially body shaming plus size girls.... has got to stop. Everyone is slinging mud at everyone else, and to be honest acting perfectly horrid. All should be in the corner with dunce hats, grounded from being a princess for a month.
What kind of example are we setting as group to outsiders, huh?
We have to deal with the name calling, staring, rudeness, and ignorant folks of the world when we're out in our frills anyway. Are we really giving them more reason to disrespect us, when we can't even respect each other?
Lolita is based off of Rococo, a time period that was an anarchy in and of itself, against the oppression of the period previous to it that was steeped in oppression of beliefs and individualism by the Catholic church. It was people finally letting loose, able to express themselves through ludicrous fashions and over indulgence in the here and now. "Rocaille" literally means "misshapen pebble." Rococo was an alternative period that didn't fit into the previous period, and didn't fit into the one that followed it, but was an absurd lap of luxury and opulence, of personal tastes and interests, of freedom and equality.
I did not stop being a Lolita. No matter what hardships I may face, to be a Lolita is my raison d'ethre- more simply put, my identity. To toss that away would be to deceive myself.
~Kamikaze Girls, Novala Takemoto
Lolita itself is about being different. It is about embracing your frilly strange-ness, and expressing it however well you please, even if the people around you or the ones you come into contact with think you are out of your damn mind for following it, for pursuing something so frivolous and without purpose. [Excuse, my unladylike language.] They don't understand it, and maybe even if they try they won't be able to feel it like you and I feel it. It is expressing our individualism, it is about showing what our beauty feels, smells, tastes like, and showing that on the outside. Lolita is about wearing what you love because it is a form of art, it is a way of connecting our dreams to reality. It IS an alternative fashion, it is different from what is considered "normal" by most people's standards---it is just a frilly, fluffy version of haute couture.
As community on the fringes of society, as a subculture of street fashion, we are the very definition of misfits, of the strange, and bizarre to outsiders looking in. But as a community, we understand each other, accept each other. We are each others refuge, and safe haven; each others friends and confidants. This is not something we should ever, ever forget. Otherwise, what separates us, from them? Nothing. Lolita is about acceptance and mutual respect of uniqueness and individuality. Without that, it makes us no different. We are no different from those that would disrespect us, and say cruel things about something so dear to us.
Lolita is an idea, a state of mind, a lifestyle if you so choose. It is NOT: who you are, where you come from, the color of your skin; your gender, orientation, or preference; or whether or not you are tattooed, pierced, or have super awesome colored hair; or how short, tall, tiny or curvy you are.
Does being reasonable guarantee happiness? Even if it does, isn't that happiness achieved only by enduring all kinds of things? Well, if I have to endure anything, I'd rather be unhappy.
~Kamikaze Girls, Novala Takemoto
Lolita is a dream which we share, an ideal of something simple and sweet. It is open to interpretation. It is a flexible medium that can be worn, made, or shared in anyway we choose. There is no right or wrong. It doesn't matter if you have a closest full of brand, second hand, handmade, or indie brand designs.
The real, honest to goodness factor here that actually matters:
Does it make you happy?
Does it make you feel complete?
Does your heart skip a little beat every time you put it on?
Do you feel beautiful when you step out into the sunlight in it, or when you're twirling around in your bedroom?
Regardless of what people say, does it make YOU happy even then?
That's it. If it makes you smile, if it floods your cheeks with a touch of pink, or makes your heart flutter then.... That. That is what matters.
My dear lolitas, let's make peace. We are all beautiful in the eyes of the Rococo gods if you ask me.