Sunday, 25 April 2021

Cherry Blossoms!

Today I went for my usual Sunday walk in the park, even though the weather wasn't so great. It was cold, cloudy, and extremely windy and by the time I got there I sort of regretting going out...until I realized that the cherry blossoms had bloomed! I guess I haven't really been paying much attention to the calendar these days, since every day feels exactly the same - go to work, go straight home, repeat ad nauseam. I didn't even realize that it was almost May...

 

I totally forgot I had this skirt until I found it at the back of my closet a few days ago. I haven't worn it in years!!

My twist-out wasn't quite set properly.

I wore a very simple all-Moitié coordinate for my walk. I didn't bring my tripod or anything with me since I wasn't anticipating that I'd be taking photos, but I did get a few nice snaps of the flowers. It was a nice little mood booster!



[Current Music: Acryl Madness - Become the Witness]

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Lurker and Strange Perfumery Review

Hello bats! Today I'm going to be reviewing a recent purchase from Lurker and Strange Perfumery, a small business that sells hand-blended perfume oils made with natural, vegan-friendly ingredients. The scents are inspired by Wicca, witchcraft, mythological figures, and the like. The perfume oils are made in a historical concentration that isn't widely used anymore called esprit de parfum. This class of perfumes contains ~40% aromatic ingredients, so they last much longer and don't need to be applied in large amounts.

I had a really hard time picking which scents I wanted, so I had to pare down my original order of like 10 bottles to 4. I ended up choosing 1mL bottles of Brimstone, Ostara, Aura, and Dragon's Blood ($6.50 CDN each), and I also received a free sample of Brigid's Wisdom! Really good value for the money here.

Tiny little bottles!

The crystal decorations on each bottle are so cute!

I placed my order on April 3rd, and it was shipped out by lettermail on April 5th - very quick turnaround. The parcel arrived on my doorstep on the 14th. The shop is located in the same province as me, but the pandemic is seriously interfering with local delivery times. Anyways, let's have a look at what's inside the package...

Brimstone ("spiced cocoa, caramel, smokey vanilla") is a really interesting scent! It smells like fragrant smoke and spicy hot chocolate with a little caramel underneath. The vanilla notes is light but still noticeable, especially after the top notes of smoke fade away. It reminds me a little bit of Tom Ford Noir de Noir, which I'm also a huge fan of - and this is like 10 times cheaper! Brimstone is the perfect name for this fragrance. I think it's best suited for autumn or winter. It had great longevity through the day and faded to a nice, lightly spicy smoke scent with a little bit of dark chocolate.

Fun fact: Ostara is one of the Wiccan Sabbat holidays celebrated on March 21st at the Spring Equinox. The word Ostara comes from Ēostre, a Germanic pagan goddess of spring and dawn. The word "Easter" comes from Ēostre, too!

Ostara ("sweet rose buds, juicy apple, ripe melon, plumeria, raspberry") is a delicate, girly spring floral. It smelled very strongly of apple candy and sweet rose when first applied, with the apple settling down quickly to make way for the florals. There's a raspberry scent underlying it all, but I couldn't really detect the melon note at all. It's mature and feminine, but still very sweet. I quite like this scent, even though it's not what I'd usually go for in a perfume. It's a very elegant scent and I'm...not, so I'm going to give this one to my mom instead. The longevity on me wasn't as good, but the scent didn't change too much throughout the day either.

Aura ("lychee, rose, honey plum, white patchouli") is another feminine floral scent, this time fruity instead of floral. And it's soooo fruity! It smelled like straight up lychee when I first applied it. It quickly faded to reveal the rose and plum, and the patchouli started to come through within minutes. It ended up being a rather subtly fruity type of scent on me, and lasted a long time too! The pajamas I was wearing still smelled like it the next day. I can definitely see this becoming one of my everyday scents.

I also ordered their take on Dragon's Blood ("damask rose, cloves and spices, bourbon vanilla, black patchouli"), an iconic scent that every goth who lived through the 90s will instantly recognize. You know how they say that scent is the sense that is most strongly linked to memories? This scent immediately transported me back to the neighbourhood Wiccan shop I used to frequent as a teenager. It smelled of incense, dusty books, and patchouli with the sweetness of roses and just a little bit of vanilla underneath. So nostalgic and lovely! This perfume oil had the best staying power of all, even though the scent became softer and lost its incense notes by the end of the day.

They also included a free sample of Brigid's Wisdom ("candied strawberries, tart rhubarb, warm amber, sensual musk") which sounds like something I'd enjoy based on the description. I liked the scent in the bottle, but unfortunately, this one just didn't agree with my body chemistry at all for some reason! I got faint strawberry candy and rhubarb notes, but it smelled oddly plasticky on me. Still, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the shop including a sample, especially because my order was so small.

I also received a discount code for my next order. I definitely plan on purchasing more since I'm incredibly pleased with what I've gotten so far - lovely scents and great service! The price point is If you like witchy scents, they have a wide variety of scents to choose from.

Thanks so much for reading!

[Current Music: Delphine Coma - Tension]


Sunday, 4 April 2021

Sucker Punch is a Weird Film

Happy Easter, everyone! Can't wait for that chocolate to go on clearance tomorrow. Anyway, convoluted story ahead: 

I was listening to Lords of Acid and I found a music video for the movie Sucker Punch, which featured an instrumental version of their song Crablouse. As an aside, please don't look up anything related to Lords of Acid at work unless you want to get fired. Anyway, I remember when Sucker Punch was released back in 2011 and people kept recommending it to me because on paper it had all of the things I liked - spooky insane asylum theme, pretty girls kicking ass, Emilie Autumn steampunky/Victorian/whatever aesthetic, fantasy elements, lots of schlocky goodness - but I never actually watched it. The reviews were terrible, too, so I'm glad I didn't see it in theatres. I did get the soundtrack, though! It's awesome.

Instead of studying for my exams, I put the movie on while I cleaned my house. I'm not sure what to think of it, to be perfectly honest. It has an interesting premise, but the execution is...ehhh

 Visually, the movie is stunning, and as I said before, the soundtrack is great. Some of the effects look dated and uncanny in the same way that all CGI-heavy movies do, but the grungy vintage-inspired environments are imaginative and awesome. I really loved the dream-within-a-dream concept, the look of the rundown asylum, and all of the crazy scenarios they ended up in. Dragons? Samurai? Mechs? Steampunk robo-Nazis? This movie has it all! Except for a coherent plot, sensible dialogue and character development.

It's really obvious when a man is writing a supposedly "empowering" film featuring "strong female characters" (every time I see those words I want to scream) because the over the top "grrl power!!!" elements always come across as hollow. Yes, it's a female character being a badass, she's still being portrayed as a sex object, and the target audience is straight men, not us. It's so one-note. I'm not saying that strong female characters have to be ugly and frumpy in order to be valid...it's just that it takes more than being hot and violent to make a strong female character. The characters have no actual character, personality, or motivations outside of being hot and violent. None of the emotional or tense moments hit home because the characters are really just vehicles for cool fight sequences and battle lingerie. But nobody is watching this for the plot, right?

Aside from that, the overt sexualization of the patients and the weird brothel theme, knowing full well that real mental institutions were rife with cases of sexual abuse, just feels kinda off to me...especially considering that victims of sexual abuse would be institutionalized for showing any inconvenient symptoms of trauma. The movie doesn't ignore that fact, but brothel thing feels like it was played too straight. Was it trying to be some kind of commentary by being completely over the top? If there was an underlying message about the oversexualization and objectification of women, then I guess I missed it among the gratuitous panty shots.

I absolutely love the costuming (the bejewelled seifuku!!!) and character design choices in a vacuum, but the context makes it a little weird. I mean, I like girls, and I like watching pretty girls doing cool stuff.  I just feel like in Sucker Punch, it sort of missed the mark. It's enjoyable as long as you turn your brain off - there's absolutely no shame in wanting to see a fantasy action movie featuring hot girls parading around in silly outfits as long as there are no illusions that it's anything deeper than that.

I've always been fascinated with the history of medicine and psychiatry, especially psychiatric hospitals. I'm glad I was born when I was - my generation has a far better attitude towards mental health than my parents' did. As a member of the glitchy brain club, had I been born 50 years earlier, I very well may have ended up in a psychiatric facility.

I have a little collection of old medical illustrations and psychiatric medication ads. Everyone cracks up at the ones from the early 1900s that were basically just telling you to buy speedballs to put a little pep in your step, but I find that the mid-century ones are by far the most disturbing. The clean, minimalist  pastel graphical styles and illustrations juxtaposed with the cold, clinical, almost dehumanizing text was really jarring to me.

I'm particularly fond of these unsettling black-and-white ads from the 1960s and 1970s. They look like they could be horror movie posters.

They didn't even try to hide the fact that they believed that ADHD should be defined by how inconvenient you are to others.

Side effects may include hallucinations.

Not sure how I feel about psychiatric patients being depicted as enemy combatants...
 

So after all that, in keeping with the theme, I decided that I wanted to do a spooky nurse coordinate with my Violet Fane Asylum skirt.





Blouse: Atelier Pierrot
Apron: Lief
Skirt: Violet Fane
Hat: Gothlolicloset
Tights: Violet Fane
Bag: Vivienne Westwood
Shoes: Na+H
Accessories: Violet Fane, Lief, Victorian Maiden
 
I haven't worn lolita since...November, I think? It's the longest break from the fashion I've ever taken. Granted, it's less of a "break" and more a case of extenuating circumstances - it's not like I don't want to wear lolita anymore, I just really don't have many opportunities to. I'm getting my second dose of vaccine in July so hopefully I'll be able to go to (socially distanced and masked) meetups with vaccinated friends soon. I miss having a life!
 
I also wanted to share some selfies. Today's makeup look clocked in at 8 minutes, half because I want trying to see how fast I could do a passable blended eyeshadow look, and half because I was too lazy to keep going. Turns out it's sort of hard to speedrun your makeup, especially when you don't have contacts on.

 
Anyhow, that's it for now. Hang in there, everybody!

[Current Music: Depeche Mode - Behind the Wheel]

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Back from the Dead

Wow, it's been a minute since I last posted, huh?

I was called back into work on June 1st after about 10 weeks off, so I didn't get much of a break. But I really enjoyed being able to wear lolita at home or just walking around the neighbourhood, even though everything was closed and I couldn't visit anyone. After returning to work I tried to keep wearing lolita and fun clothes regularly, but it just got too exhausting. After coming home I immediately strip off my scrubs and put all my work stuff in a separate area, shower, eat, and prep my things for the next day...by the time I finish it's usually around 8PM, and the absolute last thing I want to do after a long day is do my hair and makeup just for a video chat or an outfit shot. Plus, it starts getting too dark for evening photos here in like...September. It makes me so sad to see my closet gathering dust.

A couple of other things happened, too. I don't like to get overly personal here (which I suppose is a bit weird, considering that this is a personal blog) so here's the summary: I'm working in healthcare full-time while attending college, some personal and family health stuff going on...caring for others at work while needing a little bit of TLC yourself kinda sucks. I just need to decompress when I get home, so I've been rewatching some beloved TV series and replaying my favourite old games. Buffy, Star Trek, Fallout: New Vegas, and Mass Effect are largely responsible for getting me through this pandemic.

There's also that whole trying-not-to-die thing. I'm not immunocompromised, but the people I live with are, and I have heart and lung issues. And, you know, working in healthcare and commuting via public transit. My driver's license is also under a medical suspension (not that I could afford to park downtown anyway, mind you), but I can't get it reinstated because the test I need has been deferred indefinitely due to the pandemic. 

Oh, and I have to get all my wisdom teeth pulled out at the ripe old age of 29. Don't most people get that done in high school?!

I don't really wear real clothes anymore. There are only scrubs.

I break out the band shirts on casual Fridays.
 So that was a whole lot of whining, but I'm actually feeling very good about things, for the most part. I have sought help for my longstanding mental health issues - probably about 15 years overdue, but better late than never! I got my hands on some gorgeous new (well, old) lolita pieces, my finances are in great shape, I have thoroughly kicked my "I'm sad so I'm going to buy stuff to fill the void" habit, and I'm doing extremely well in my college courses. Positive vibes all around!

A pile of Kuromi stuff I bought when I was sad to fill the void. Justified, because it was my birthday.

One other bit of good news: apparently the provincial government now considers me to be a frontline healthcare worker (I think our professional association leaned on them a little bit), so I'm in line to get the vaccine soon-ish...? I hope? I think once that's taken care of, my priorities will change from simply avoiding dying to actually having fun with fashion and silly stuff again.

Taking a step back has also given me some time to reflect. I've also been considering leaving my local lolita community as well as the greater online lolita community. This wasn't triggered by any single event, and I don't have any major issues with anyone in particular...I just feel like these spaces have run their course for me, and I'm more comfortable interacting with the people in my close circle. Seeing how some lolitas (and people in general) have been acting out online because they're broke, bored, and jobless under quarantine just makes me want to run far, far away. I simply don't have the time or patience to entertain the absolute circus that is the online lolita community anymore - I'm too employed for this shit, you know?

It's also given me some time to evaluate my closet a little bit. I will always be loyal to Moitié, but I'm also more interested in trying out a few other brands and styles of gothic just to change things up a little bit. I've always really liked military and nurse themes, even outside of lolita, because I am like every other stereotypically edgy goth/industrial kid. I'm really hoping to get a few military Boz pieces, and a few more Boz pieces in general. And to make room for the new stuff, I'll need to purge my closet, so I'll announce when I'm closet cleaning.

 

A few of my purchases from the past few months. I can't wait to coordinate them!

To continue on the topic of self-reflection...I like blogging, since journalling has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I started a YouTube channel because at the time I had no goth friends, and I wanted to interact with the goth community on YouTube. It was definitely a lot smaller and friendlier back then. I started making lolita fashion videos because there weren't really many other gothic lolitas on YouTube, and I was bored. My channel grew quite a bit more than I expected, which was kind of cool, but quickly became overwhelming. I'm not a particularly good videographer and I tend to just ramble on and on and on, so I'm not exactly sure why people kept watching, but here we are - I'm at almost 20,000 subscribers.

So it turns out that I actually don't really like being in the spotlight very much. I'm not one to take harsh criticism to heart, but even when you generally get a lot of positive feedback, sometimes the nasty comments get to you. But that's not really the thing that bothers me - it's the people who try to dissect your entire life and personality based on how you present yourself in a short video. Seeing people speculating on anything and everything about my personal life was sort of funny at first (according to one comment, I'm 6' tall and a total bitch at meetups) but quickly became profoundly uncomfortable, and it makes me not want to share anything personal or deeper than surface-level.

I'm thinking of ending it for good. I have quite a few videos in the works I'd like to finish, so it won't be soon or anything...but much like the online lolita community, it's run its course for me. It's been a good ride, but I prefer quietly blogging about my adventures instead. It's easier to be low-key, and I like my privacy.

Anyway, it's about time to wrap things up. Thanks for reading, and for sticking around for this long!

[Current Music: Solemn Novena - Missa Solemnis]

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Hosting My First Panel with Bay Area Kei! Gothic Lolita Symposium

 

Today I hosted my very first panel alongside Cursed Kaiser and Vudu Juju, and I'm very excited to share it with you all! Our panel is titled Gothic Lolita: A Symposium.

Bay Area Kei is a group that has been hosting online j-fashion events throughout the pandemic in an effort to keep the community connected. It's been a lot of fun tuning in when I can. For Halloween, they hosted a spooky-themed online event called Gramarye. and I were asked to do a panel about gothic lolita fashion, and we came up with the idea of doing a deep dive into the history of the entire gothic substyle. I think that the western lolita community tends to focus a lot on the kawaii, pastel, and sweet side of lolita fashion - gothic is really an afterthought to a lot of people. It was really nice to have this opportunity to share our favourite things about the gothic substyle. It's a lot more complicated than just crosses and black!

You can watch a recording of the stream here. The recording doesn't show the live chat, but we were chatting with the viewers throughout the stream. I think we hit about 150 live viewers at one point, which was pretty awesome (and nerve-wracking)!

Thanks for watching! I'd love to hear your thoughts on our panel in the comments.

[Current Music: False Figure - Morningstar]

Monday, 22 June 2020

Gothic Lolita Soundtrack: Volume IV

Hello bats! In this edition of Gothic Lolita Soundtrack, we'll be visiting some of my favourite visual kei and symphonic metal bands. I'm still trying to keep the selections limited to slightly less obvious picks, but I'm running out. Maybe I should just make a separate post about the essential visual kei bands for gothic lolitas...

† Madeth Gray'll †


Madeth Gray'll was a short-lived visual kei outfit formed in the late 1990s. Even though they didn't get a chance to release much material, they gained a cult following and still have dedicated fans to this day. They were known for their dark, baroque rock sound. I think they were more influential on other bands than they're given credit for. After a number of lineup changes, some of the former members went on to form Schwardix Marvally, another tragically short-lived visual kei project.

Recommended Songs: Lucifer, MisantroopOpera Za no Higeki

 Schwardix Marvally †


After Madeth Gray'll split, a few of the remaining members went on to start Schwardix Marvally. Some other notable members include HIZAKI of Versailles fame and Ko~zi of Malice Mizer (and about 1 billion other projects). They have a really classic 90s visual kei sound with baroque instruments and clean soft vocals as well as some touches of power/symphonic metal. You'll like them if you enjoy Lareine and Malice Mizer, as well as power metal bands like Hizaki Grace Project and Versailles.

Recommended Songs: Flowers of Dearly, RequiemLucifer (Madeth Gray'll cover)


† Hollow Mellow 

Hollow Mellow's music sounds like it comes straight out of a gothic fairy tale. I honestly don't know what genre I'd call it...baroque rock/pop/metal? If you're a fan of Ali Project, you'll enjoy Hollow Mellow. They're a perfect example of what I would consider "lolita" music - dark, romantic, yet still whimsical and cute. Their music videos perfectly capture that spooky fairy-tale feeling. I was lucky enough to see them perform live at Anime North a few years ago. The lead singer and composer, Iruma Rioka, is a gothic lolita herself, so she knows exactly what we like!


Fun fact, the violinist is the well-known Jill of Rose Noire - she plays in so many different bands, it's unreal!

Recommended Songs: Romantique, The Red Shoes, Eat Me

† Unlucky Morpheus 

Unlucky Morpheus formed as a symphonic power metal Touhou cover band that later went on to produce their own original music. I originally discovered them while looking for Touhou music because...you know, weeb. I really like that their vocalist goes for rock-style vocals instead of operatic-style vocals - I could never get into bands like Nightwish. They're really technically skilled in terms of composition and playing, too. Their songs CADAVER and REDEVAC are mirrors of each other, designed to play one after the other!


Plus, Jill's in this band, too.

Recommended Songs: Black Pentagram, Knight of Sword, Unknown Child (U.N. Owen Was Her Cover)

† AMADEUS †


Amadeus is an underrated 90s visual-kei band that I lovingly refer to as Castlevania-kei. Their vampire aesthetic extends beyond the floor-length velvet coats and eyeliner to their music, too.They have a dramatic neoclassical sound that you will enjoy if you like Versailles or Lacroix Despheres. While they aren't nearly as heavy as either of those bands, but still features baroque instruments and intense guitar solos. Plus, you may recognize the vocalist - it's Seth of Moi dix Mois!

Recommended Songs: Kyouzou no Kami

Thank you for reading, and be sure to check out the rest of the posts in this series!

† Volume I  Volume II  Volume III †

Saturday, 13 June 2020

This Is A Public Service Announcement: I'm Tired

Hello, bats! I was asked to write a guest post on on racism and colourism in the lolita fashion community for Rose Red Memorandum's blog. R.R. Memorandum is new indie brand that's bringing back the old-school lolita aesthetic in a big way. I haven't had a chance to purchase from them (the joys of long work hours and differing timezones) but I do plan on building a small old-school wardrobe, so I can't wait to score some cute bloomers and accessories!

I'm pretty much just posting it here for posterity, too - you can also view it on their blog. I haven't been posting a whole lot on social media, even though I only returned to work a few days ago. I'm just having a hard time writing lighthearted blog posts given everything that's going on right now, you know? So here we are, with a not-so-lighthearted blog post.


What drew me to lolita fashion back in 2005?

The early lolita subculture really embodied the punk ethos, far beyond the handmade clothing, tartan, and Vivienne Westwood shoes. Lolita fashion was an unapologetic, self-indulgent rejection of the intensely limiting cultural restrictions on young Japanese women. And while they may not have started wearing lolita fashion for that specific reason, by choosing to defy cultural expectations and instead choosing to do what made them happiest in a very visible way, they were pretty punk. Even though they didn't wear lolita purely to make a statement, lolita fashion itself makes a statement: "I'm doing this for myself, regardless of what you think."

It's a cute, frilly, and ultimately small form of rebellion against the establishment - safety pinned jackets and handmade band patches aren't exactly staples of lolita fashion, and you won't find lolitas meeting up in seedy punk bars these days. But it's still rebellion nonetheless. Lolitas willingly made themselves into outsiders, and were treated as such - and had their own value system to match. Lolitas weren't concerned about following mainstream beauty trends and lifestyles, so they created their own.

Of course, as an outsider myself, who was a weeby teen who discovered lolita when the community outside of Japan was still very new and very small, and who couldn't wear the fashion until much later, maybe I'm romanticizing things a little bit. I'm sure that a lot of lolitas also wore it simply because it was cute, or because their friends wore it, or even because they were just going through a phase. And all of these are perfectly valid reasons to wear lolita, too.

But I think that there's something to be said for the people who are trying to recapture that rebellious feeling. The recent old-school lolita revival, spearheaded mainly by younger lolitas who admire the carefree, creative spirit of the proto-lolitas of the 1990s and early 2000s, has turned into a much wider trend. Fashion is cyclical, so what is old becomes new again, and it's far back enough in the past now that it's become charming and retro to people who would have dismissed it as outdated and ugly only a few years ago. But when something becomes a trend that's divorced from its roots and its original context (which, to be fair, is happening to lolita fashion as a whole), the original spirit of the movement is lost. And sadly, some lolitas are all too quick to uphold and enforce some of the restrictive mainstream ideals that drove people towards alternative subcultures like lolita in the first place.


I've seen many of these very same lolitas describe themselves in...to put it bluntly, pretty self-aggrandizing terms like "revolutionary" and "punk" for wearing lolita fashion. And I don't think lolita fashion really has that rebellious punk edge anymore. I'm honestly not sure if the lolita community outside of Japan ever had much of that energy at all, to be honest. Lolita fashion is rooted in feminine rebellion, and many lolitas outside of Japan feel like lolita is a feminist fashion...or at least, they used to. I'm not sure if anyone else feels that way anymore. Maybe it really is just clothes, and there's no underlying attitude to go along with it. And maybe there never really was. I guess I have a very idealistic view, right?

Now that we're experiencing a global pandemic, economic downturn, and massive social unrest all at once, many of these self-proclaimed punks and rebels are oddly silent. And I'm not saying that lolitas need to go out and protest en masse, or burn down Angelic Pretty, or chain themselves to trees as demonstrators, or devote the entirety of their social media to championing a social cause. At the same time, it's very telling when self-styled punks spend more time posing for their Instagram followers than talking about some of the very real problems within the lolita community and in the wider world around them. I think we can do better, too. We can't save the whole world, but maybe we can tackle some of the problems in our own community, especially because many of these larger global problems are reflected in the lolita community as well.

Even though lolitas are outsiders, we're not so far removed from mainstream culture that we completely reject the value system that comes with it. Racism, colourism, size discrimination, ageism, transphobia, classism, and a whole lot of other "-isms" are definitely a lot more frowned-upon than they used to be, especially because society as a whole is much more tolerant than it used to be,. Things that were completely normal to say as recently as ten years ago are no longer socially acceptable. But they're not exactly absent, either. And in my opinion, this all runs counter to the original rebellious spirit of lolita fashion. How can you claim labels like "feminist" and "punk" while ignoring the problems in your own backyard?

While the lolita community has become more understanding and sensitive towards differences, the lolita fashion community hasn't always been receptive to Black people, and other people of colour with dark skin. People in our community like to pat themselves on the back for being members of an inclusive and diverse community while glossing over the very real problems that we face. Hell, we had to boot a girl from my local comm for tossing out racial slurs at an employee of a venue we were visiting - a diverse comm in Toronto, literally the most racially diverse city on the planet. I can't speak for the lolita community in Asia, where the vast majority of lolitas will of course be Asian. But my own experiences in the international, English-speaking lolita community haven't always been positive, especially online.

What does posting online mean for Black lolitas? In my experience, it means getting well-intentioned comments about what colours to wear that won't clash with a brown skintone. Getting less well-intentioned comments about how dark skin is not elegant or cute enough for lolita. It's being disparaged for having curly hair or braids. It's being dismissed as "hysterical" or "militant" when you try to bring up colourism or racism in a lolita space. Sometimes it even means seeing racial slurs and insults.

It's also never being seen as good enough. People are less likely to interact with your posts. It's being criticized harshly for flaws that other people get away with unnoticed. Some lolita brands never use Black models in their overseas fashion shows, so I don't waste my time applying anymore. I'm truly grateful to the brands, big and small, who make an effort to make their overseas shows more inclusive. But the message has been made perfectly clear: you are not good enough for us. And believe me, we heard it. Over and over again.

If you asked anyone to envision the ideal lolita, she would probably be pale and straight-haired with delicate Caucasian features. I'm unambiguously Black (I'm also 1/4 Arab), but I'm also thin, light-skinned, and my hair isn't very kinky. Because of that, I already know that I have an easier time of it than other black lolitas. What I'm describing is just the tip of the iceberg compared to what other people go through. I'm not writing this to whine about how hard it is. I'm trying to show people that this problem actually exists. How can people say that this isn't an issue?

I've been asked so many times by non-Black lolitas to host a panel about my experiences with racism and colourism in lolita. And while I'm not against the idea in theory, I've never been asked to host a panel on, say, Moi-même-Moitié, or visual kei, or or any of the other dozens of subjects I could talk about that don't have anything to do with my race. I'm sure they meant well and wanted to highlight some of the problems in the lolita community, and I respect that, but hearing the question so many times really does make me wonder why I'm regularly being asked to parade around my painful experiences on a stage to "educate" people. Do people ask male lolitas to deliver speeches on sexism in the lolita community? It just makes me feel like a token.

As outsiders in a community of outsiders, Black lolitas formed our own safe communities where we could share our outfits, our experiences, and just...exist peacefully without having to read comments about how Black skin, Black hair, and Black bodies don't suit the lolita aesthetic, and without worrying about being seen as a spokesperson or a representative for all Bblack lolitas. We can just be lolitas.

I'm proud of being Black, but I'm getting tired of being viewed as a Black lolita when I could just be a lolita. Is my race the only thing that people see when they look at me? I don't want people to suck up to me so that I can be the token black in their friends list now that #BLM is trending. I don't want people to follow me on social media so that they can say they support black people. I certainly don't want their pity. I just want understanding. When the protests die down and people will no longer give you extra props for caring about Black people, I don't want things to go just back to normal. Normal wasn't working for us.

I don't talk about these issues often not because I don't care, but because I'm just so tired of feeling like I need to advocate for myself. My whole community is tired of advocating for ourselves. It shouldn't take mass protests to make people take notice, but I'm happy that it has, because it's time for someone else to have these hard conversations and discuss these topics. I've seen more than a few people speaking up, which was honestly more than I could have hoped for. I don't expect every single lolita to become a crusader for justice, leading a revolution in our community. But if you feel like wearing lolita makes you feminist or punk or a rebel, it's time to stand up and prove it.


[Current Music: Run The Jewels - Early]