I stumbled upon Lolita Charm's The Dangers Of Standing Out today and it made me recall a conversation I had about a week ago.
I was frequenting the EGL Tinychat site where the discussion of the day was photoshoots. One girl admitted that she hated photoshoots and didn't understand the point of taking a million pictures of a single outfit, I replied that a lot of people only get to wear Lolita every so often and thus it's a special occasion for them, a chance to really feel beautiful, and they should have every right to take as many pictures as they wish.
Her response was that if you're only wearing Lolita that often, then all you're wearing is a costume.
I took this pretty much to heart, because you see, I'm one of the many who only finds the chance to wear her Lolita clothing once every few weeks. And I hate it being called a "costume". Costumes are things that you buy at Halloween stores, sport on that one day of the year that everyone's out and about and trick or treating. I've had many people throw comments like "It's not Halloween yet." at me when I do venture out in Lolita, thus the word has become more of an insult to me than anything.
I know this is not how everyone views a word, but to me, and my continued exposure to that one particular insult, I cannot stand to let my fashion be referred to as a "costume."
This was not my argument with her, however, my argument was this:
I currently reside in a small town, my town does not have it's own mall, I have to drive an hour and a half to get to any department store or mall or even most restaurants [not including fast food]. I am 5 foot tall, barely, and 105 pounds. I am often mistaken for a twelve or sixteen year old rather than a twenty one year old, to the point that I've had security in multiple areas approach me to ask if I need help finding my guardian.
One day I decided to walk the half an hour to my post office to pick up a wig, it was a nice day out and I was excited to get my wig. On my way back, on the very road I live on, a car passed me and proceeded to pull off to the side of the road. It was a gentleman, car still running, window down, that asked me for directions. I was more than happy to comply but due to my own bad luck I chose to stand nearly in the center of the road to avoid being too close to this car.
He proceed to ask me more questions than I cared to answer, about my school, my age, if I had a boyfriend, did I live with my parents? Questions I attempted with less and less politeness to avoid. Eventually he attempted to encourage me to get into his car, as he could "drive me home", and I insisted that no, I was just a little ways from home, I was okay.
Eventually he drove off after seeing his insistence would get him nowhere and I ran the rest of the way home, but this all occurred while I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. This happens often, any time the weather is decent enough to permit clothing that's not a giant winter coat and I choose to walk somewhere.
I argued that while I love Lolita, it is not worth my personal safety to wear it out and about when I run errands on my own [when necessary, I attempt because of the above reasons not to ever really be out of reach of someone I trust]. People are unnecessarily cruel and sometimes very terrifying. Thus I only wear my Lolita when I'm doing something of interest [travelling the hour and a half to the mall, going out to a nice dinner, etc] but due to the fact that these things happen very seldom because of the distance of these places, I do not often get to wear Lolita.
And I'm never alone when I wear it.
Unfortunately this is just the area I live in. I wish it was not.
She did not respond, but rather left the room, but the conversation has been bothering me since. I love my fashion, but not at the risk of my self, does that make me less of a person? Should I find even more ways and reasons to wear it? The fact that some stranger could instill such self consciousness in me frustrates me.