Lolita. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that word? The novel by Vladimir Nabokov? Or perhaps the meaning the word has taken on since the release of that book, of a sexually precocious girl. For me, and for a number of other people throughout the world, lolita is something quite separate from that. Petticoats, knee length skirts, jumpers printed with candy and ponies and pretty much anything cute, this is what comes to mind when I hear that magical three syllable word. Lolita is a fashion trend, inspired by traditional European clothing, started in Japan, but found (in somewhat rare occurrences) all over the world. For many, it is more than just a way of dressing, but a lifestyle. To be a lolita is to slip through the bonds of boring, ugly reality and submerse yourself in a world where you can simply exist as a princess (or prince, as the case may be).
Lolita is a style that embraces femininity, using it as a source of power and pride. Lolitas are not people that dress like little girls to seem appealing to creepy old guys, and we certainly don’t look like this because it will help us make friends. A lolita is modest and girly and as cute as can be because that is the kind of person we are, and this is how we express ourselves. Anyone can be a lolita; even though it may not sound like it, the lolita style really is unisex. One of the most iconic lolitas in the scene’s brief history (having existed for only 20 years or so) is my personal idol, Mana. He popularized the look in the 1990s by wearing it onstage with his infamous visual kei band Malice Mizer, and is firmly of the belief that beauty is not defined by gender.
It may seem silly for a type of clothing to be so important to some people, but as a person who strongly identifies with the lolita spirit, I can promise that it really is life-changing. To be a lolita is to refuse to conform to society’s expectations of people, women in particular. To feel insulted by being called a girl. To have sex appeal. To avoid thinking about trivial things and only care about what is deemed important by the rest of the world. To be ‘adults’. All of this means nothing to lolitas. We are feminine and cute, and in that, we are powerful. To sum up the life of a lolita, here is an excerpt from the iconic lolita novel, Kamikaze Girls: