Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Girl Zone

Meg & Luna

While the full attire of the Lolita style is not my cup of tea, I never realized what vehemence some people have to it. A recent article on the style-- which I found thanks to a post on Suburban Queen-- garnered pretty vicious attacks on the style and the girls who wear it. Accusations of it promoting pedophiles and promoting woman as helpless, infantile, and subservient to men were some of the tamer comments. This interests me so much because I do identify with the style a bit, even though it isn't mine. Click the Read More! link do find out what I'm talking about.

From what I've read on the subject, the Lolita style is a style for women by women. It caters to women's likes and innocent fetishes while ignoring the male population. Lolita is also a lifestyle, with rigid requirements for every variation of Lolita, and there are a lot of variations. Lolita makes no secret of the fact that they dress to impress other women, and I should think themselves. Here's one of the Lolita's responses to the article I linked above; it's Lolita exlained by a Lolita. And here it's explained briefly by a few New York Loltas.

While I don't think I'd ever don full Lolita garb-- too rigid a style for me, not a fan of typical ruffles on skirts, and the shoes are often too clunky for me-- my style does share some elements with Lolita, elements that are contested.

Like the Lolita, my style embraces uber feminine shapes and design details, like ruffles and lace. While Lolita draws from the French Rococo, Victorian children's wear, I draw a lot of inspiration from the New Look period, late 1940s to 1960s. Both were times when these feminine looks were signs of female oppression, when women were considered inferior to men. As such, looks that reference these periods are often seen as anti-feminist and supporting this subservient state. Like the Lolita again, however, I feel the embrace of these feminine styles is very feminist. Some people seem to be of the opinion that feminism is about being exactly like a sterotypical man and doing all the things the stereotypical man does, wearing pants, spurning bras and make up and any special female detail. I don't see how it's very feminist to deny my love of ruffles and lace and bows and force myself into styles I hate. That seems more regressive to me. I prefer to embrace my stereotypical feminine traits and know that they don't make me dumber or less capable than a man. Embracing your traditionally feminine whims and whimsies shouldn't be some great travesty to all of womankind. Feminism is about the freedom to be you, however that may be. In pants, in skirts, and stripper heels or sneakers; loving pink and purple or lumberjack plaid. You're a person equal to any man no matter what your taste in clothes is.

The article also pointed to Lolita style as a kind of rebellion. I too consider my style a bit of my way of rebelling. The usual rebellion styles are so commonplace and expected these days. In this day and age it's become more rebellious to dress well than to dress bad. The typical hallmarks of the rebel-- jeans, drinking, partying, sex, skimpy clothes or pjs/sweat pants-- have all become mainstream and expected. Everybody and their mother is doing it. Dressing up-- particularly in surburban areas-- will garner you much more attention, good and bad.

The Lolitas and I also share a love of knee socks and other legwear that is considered sexual. I don't know why. It's interesting to me that a leg covered up in a knee sock or fishnets is sexier than if the leg were left bare. I wore one of my playsuits with my floral patterned fishnet tights and got far more catcalls than when I wear it barelegged. I suppose the art of seduction isn't entirely lost. I know didn't really go anywhere with that, but I just find it interesting, so I dumped it in here. It fits. Really it does.

And last, while I never really go Lolita, I do occasionally dress rather youthfully and meet with disapproval of those "overly" youthful elements, most notable when I tie a big lacy bow on my head. It makes me look about 12, but that is half the point. I have youthful features and I like to play them up sometimes. Some women take it so personally, every woman must look her age or some little pixie somewhere will die. I like myself and all aspects of me, including the child within me. I see no reason why I can't dress youthful when I feel like it. And with those thoughts, their disapproving words work their way out of my vortex.

Lolita is a style very dear to me, although it's not my style, although I've seen some good arguments for it lately...

Ivy Frozen

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