Feminism · Lolita · Social Justice

Lolita Fashion VS “Sexy Baby”

I feel like I don’t write a lot of feminist posts on this blog, and feminism is a very crucial part of who I am, and I thought I’d start posting more of my opinions and random thoughts I have on different issues!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the infantilization of women recently and how weirdly sexualized it is, and I  remember being asked, “Well, is Lolita part of infantilization?? The dresses feature childlike motifs, full skirts and Lolitas do wear doll-like shoes. This can be seen as childish as well…”  And I quickly came to a very simple conclusion: no. Lolita fashion at it’s core is not part of infantilization, I want to explain why. I think, whereas to me, it’s a very easy difference, to others, it gets a bit more complicated.

First off, let’s fully explain what it means to infantilize, and then sexualize a woman, fully. Infantilization, in short, is to treat someone like a baby, or make them feel they need to be taken care of. Examples include saying a woman needs a husband because she needs someone to “take care of her”, the fact that it is more socially acceptable for an older man to date a younger woman, rather than the other way around, or by saying women who are frequently sexually active have “daddy issues”, instead of understanding that they’re adults who can choose what they want to do with their bodies. It’s a very essential part of our patriarchal system that plays a hand in making women feel like they don’t know as much as men, or that they could not surpass men in different situations.

The sexualization of this baby-ish view of women, seen in things like adult women being thought of as sexy or provocative when they wear things that are normally associated with children, like pigtails, babydoll dresses. For example, in Britney Spears’s Baby One More Time video, she dons a sexy schoolgirl outfit and pigtails. Other examples include the idea of a “sexy baby voice”, or the obsession some men have with finding a young girl who’s “innocent”. (ew)

s3.reutersmedia.jpg

Lolita fashion, is a style of dress that originated in Harajuku, Japan that was inspired by French Rococo, and Victorian fashion, but has a modern Japanese “kawaii” aesthetic. While the overall cuteness does contain things like toys, candy, and other childlike or youthful motifs, it’s very different than being infantilized because Lolita is not a style built on the idea of being sexy. It’s actually quite the opposite! This fashion is a style that girls chose to wear to express themselves, that many men actually found repulsive! I remember hearing that people would say to Lolitas, that they’d never find a man and get married dressing like that, and they would reply, “Good!” Lolita is about choice, and is a rebellion against social norms, it never started as a way to look cute for the male gaze.

It is very different than infantilization. Most women aren’t choosing to be treated like children by all of the men in their lives, or to be seen as sexy little girls. And most of the time, when a woman is seen as baby-ish, and innocent, yet provocative, it’s usually the male gaze dictating this. Lolita is an extremely high maintenance fashion.  The clothes are expensive, the makeup and hair can take a very long time, and it can be kind of hard to move around day to day in a full coordinate. To be a Lolita, you really have to love the fashion to wear it!  It’s not really something a person wears to please someone else because it can be a lot of work! In that way, Lolita is empowering because you are dressing for yourself, in a way that you like and you don’t really care about what others think of you.

So, to summarize everything, Lolita is not at all a direct cause of being infantilized by men. A girl who dresses in lolita is not trying to look like a “sexy baby” or be sexualized by men because of how she dresses. The patriarchy does not tell the Lolita who she is, or what she likes, the Lolita tells herself!

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s