Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The L Word: Innocence or Promiscuity? Lolita Fashion from an Eighteen-Year-Old's Perspective

Hello everyone, it's Minnie!~

School has been keeping me busy for the past few weeks, but one of the classes in which I enjoy the most is my English Composition and Rhetoric. The professor that I have is a very cool and open minded individual, so when coming upon the yearly "Compare and Contrast," essay, I wanted to write about something that was close to heart, and would be a potential positive contribution to the Lolita fashion community.

Although a little skeptical on using Lolita as my base, after turning in my assignment to my professor, he found it to be very informative, as well as refreshing enough to use as an example for other classes in the future!~^ ^

So in this Post, I'll present to you my Comparison & Contrast essay: the "L" Word: Innocence or Promiscuity?


the "L" Word: Innocence or Promiscuity?

According the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of Lolita is “a Sexually Promiscuous young girl,” but in the far East, Lolita is a fashion style that’s main focus is modesty and femininity--far from what the average westerner thinks of when hearing this controversial word.

Being part of the Lolita global fashion community, I’m going to differentiate the Western’s view vs. the Eastern mindset of the “L” word.


Russian author Vladimir Nabokov, published in Paris one of the most controversial works of modern day literature which focuses on the odd protagonist Humbert Humbert and his fascination with nymphet step-daughter, Dolores “Lolita” Haze--with the taboo themes such as incest, pedophilia, murder, and rape.
Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov

Dominique Swain as Dolores "Lolita Haze and Jeremy Irons as Humbert Humbert in the 1997 film adaption of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita

The story of erudite Humbert and the very fast and promiscuous Lo coined a new definition in the dictionary, as well as changing Westerner’s view of the name Lolita, and since 1955 spawned various other works of literature and films with similar storylines of a taboo romance.   While Nabokov’s literary work is infamously known throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States, individuals in the far East know very little about him and his works.


In 1980’s Japan, a new subculture was born in Tokyo with the same name--Lolita.


Inspired by English Victorian and French Rococo era, Lolita fashion main focus is a woman’s femininity, modest, cuteness and elegance. With modesty as the key, there’s a very strict and composed set of rules to go by for a coordinate to be considered to be Lolita, such as OPs (one piece dress), JSKs (Jumper Skirt), or skirt must accommodate a petticoat; Blouses must be worn under JSKs, and skirts must be about knee length to name a few. 


With brands such as Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, along with various others on the rise, this new subculture began to gain a large following among boys and girls in both their teens to early thirties--in the future spawning various online and local communities, specialized fashion magazines, major events and has gained media attention worldwide!

Jfashion magazine scan of both Innocent World and Angelic Pretty Coordinates

When first becoming interested in Lolita subculture, I was sixteen years young, and was fascinated by the beautiful clothing and both the online and the locally based Houston Lolita Community. With no knowledge of Nabokov’s literary creation, I freely expressed my interest to my parents whom at the time was very disapproving of me dressing the fashion, since they associated the 1958 creation and the fashion style as one in the same--despite my various explanations to them on the subject having no relation to the book.


In April 2014 at the Houston based Anime Matsuri Convention, my parent’s mindset began to change after seeing Lolitas of different walks of life and nationalities in a fashion show which featured three popular Lolita brands. After meeting and speaking to some of the members of the Houston Lolita Community, my parents were put at ease knowing that the purpose of the fashion was not to become copies of Dolores Haze and attract men, but rather to be modest, polite, and elegant members of society.


So according to the knowledge and modern mindset of an eighteen-year-old, the definition of Lolita is not promiscuity, but, femininity, modesty, and unique individuality expressed through beautiful clothing.

This concludes my article^ ^

For even more posts on Japanese fashion such as Lolita, gyaru, and more, become a member of my blog, as well as follow me on Twitter, and Instagram @minakosakurai to never miss a post!^ ^

This is Sakurai Minako, and until next time,

Stay beautiful and stylish <3