On the Internet at least, the word "lolita" conjures up images of sweaty middle-aged dudes who hang around schoolyards and get their hard drives confiscated by the FBI. But in Japan, lolita refers to another bizarre subculture.
Clad in petticoats, high-collared dresses, bonnets and wielding fluffy parasols, they walk the Bladerunner streets of Tokyo looking like graduates of The Tim Burton School for Girls. There are all kinds of lolita's, each with their own variation on the theme, but they all share a love of women's fashions that died out before their grandmothers were born.
And these aren't just outfits they wear to special clubs or garden parties. You can see grown women in these full Victorian doll costumes on trains, in book stores and wolfing down cheeseburgers at McDonald's.
Why, you may ask? It has something to do with the rejection of male-created beauty standards and sexualized dress. Yes. In Japan, to express their rejection of oppressive cultural stereotypes and proclaim their independence, women dress like creepy school girls from 200 years ago. That sounds about right.
Although, I love it.