Lolita Content Collective: Fighting the Lightness of Lolita Web Content

Over the past couple days, I’ve been talking with a couple people in the lolita community about the lightness of content available related to lolita lately. Between the thought provoking article “The Fluff of Blog: Where Did The Real Conversations Go? ” on Fashadore.me, the conversations I’ve had lately, and purestmaiden’s post “Content Collective: Let’s Get Back to Talking About Lolita“, I’ve really come to realize that it’s not just me. A handful of the lolita I most admire for their knowledge and wit all seemed to express the same thought; the content available right now is fairly light.

What do I mean by light? Well, for example, I moderate rufflechat, a lolita discussion group on Facebook. A typical post on rufflechat is 1-5 sentences long, and can be answered with a reply of 3-5 sentences. Compare that to EGL where discussion posts could be a full page, and frequently were.

Where lolita used to write blogs that were very verbose, now people have tumblrs or facebooks full of photos with very few words. Or, they have blogs or vlogs where they basically just put forwards their coordinate snaps and other photo-based content.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that type of content. I think it has it’s place, and I really enjoy looking at beautiful coordinates and beautiful people. But I also think that there is an intellectual side to lolita as a subculture which seems to be dying out a little. I miss long form debate and discussion about lolita.

I think a few things have fueled this change. First of all, the web has changed significantly. Smartphones keep people constantly connected, and social media is the perfect way to express thoughts and feelings in real time while on the go. The ubiquitousness of cellphone cameras also means that everyone who has a smartphone has a camera in their pocket 24/7. The days of needing to remember to bring a camera, then bring it home, capture the photos, edit them, up load them, and then write html or bbcode to insert them into a post somewhere are long gone. This means that photo content has gone from requiring more time than written content to requiring almost no time at all. It’s faster to take and post a selfie than to write a two sentence facebook post.

Lolita fashion has always had a bit of an infatuation with idol culture. Being a famous lolita has always been a symbol of success to some people. I feel like the rise of the selfie culture has exacerbated this, pressuring people who may not have otherwise felt the need to engage in the popularity race to create light content frequently. Because the platforms that enable “selfie culture” are all about fast content that expires quickly, one has to create a lot of content in a very short time period to stay relevant. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with creating a lot of visual content, I do think that when it becomes almost compulsive like it has for many lolita, it stops being fun and starts to be a time drain and a source of stress. When your whole interaction with the fashion is based around creating new looks that are “the best” every week, you get into a cycle of buying and selling and photographing that isn’t really conductive to really just stopping and taking the time to examine things on a deeper level. It’s a totally different pacing.

Another thing which may have fueled this change is the ease of acquiring information and the rise in the number of people who are digital natives. Many lolita brands ship world wide, and for those who don’t there are shopping services now, which are legitimate shopping cart system wielding websites. It’s quick and easy to translate a site using google translate. Setting up an indie brand shop via etsy is quick and easy (on the tech side, at least).

You really don’t need nearly as much guidance and hand holding to become a lolita today as you did ten years ago.

Because it’s so easy to acquire information, or even survive without acquiring it, there isn’t nearly as much need for a support community. On top of that, the number of people interested in lolita fashion outside of Japan has grown exponentially, meaning that even without a central western online community, most lolita aren’t alone. There are large local communities around the world, and social media connects Lolita in a way that LiveJournal never really did.

So what does this all mean? Deeper content which used to be produced as the default, now takes a little more conscious effort, while lighter content which used to take more conscious effort is now easier to create. It’s not necessarily bad, it’s just different.

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That said, I’m going to be joining PurestMaiden’s Content Collective. Here is my personal content pledge:

  • At least 80% of my posts, in homage to the old EGL rule, should either encourage some kind of discussion, or provide some kind of new information to the community.
    I’m not personally prone to posting a lot of haul or coordinate posts as it is. Mostly because I take terrible photos of myself, so this is pretty easy for me.
  • I will post at least Bi-Monthly, with a total of at least 25 posts this year.
    I know myself really well. I have times where I can knock out three posts in a week, and I have times where I sleep for a whole month. I have very low blood pressure, and I get tired quicker than normal people. Because of this, it really depends a lot on what is going on in my real life. It also puts me in the awkward position where right after I go to an event (when I would write about it), I’m usually at my lowest point. Conventions take a LOT out of me. So, that said, I’m aiming to produce the equivalent of a post every 2-weeks, but I’m acknowledging that I may only post once in a two month span at some points in the year.
  • My posts containing written content will be at least 500 words long.
    I installed a plug in that counts words, and apparently, I average 711 words in my published posts already, so this should be pretty do-able.
  • I will post at least one regular post for every new item post I post.
    I love making posts about upcoming brand items, and I’m not going to stop doing that (when I buy kera; I don’t always. Lately, I’ve had some issues with Amazon Japan not delivering), but I don’t want that to become all that I write!

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5 thoughts on “Lolita Content Collective: Fighting the Lightness of Lolita Web Content

  1. This is a very interesting post. Thank you.
    One of my New Year’s resolutions was to post more on my blog that shared my views and opinions of Lolita. The first one of the year that I’m going to put up in the near future will feature print ideas I’ve thought of and designed myself.

    I would agree on your points in this article and add that there’s a culture at the moment that demonises people who have opinions that aren’t seen as “correct” by the reader fueled by a lack of empathy and inability to see things from another persons perspective. This culture doesn’t recognise a content creators right to have an opinion (no matter what it is) and the audiences’ ability to choose what they think is right for themselves. I think this really discourages people to put forward what they think.

    Conversely, I also think that people aren’t willing to put in the work to justify opinions or create content which requires reflection, reading and study.
    Personally, I hope to create some posts later in the year about looking at other styles of fashion including contemporary fashion and fashion from the Victorian and Rococo era to assist in coordinating lolita outfits.

  2. I like this idea, and I like how you’ve discussed the very valid reasons behind it – we like doing what is easiest and writing insightful blog content can be anything but! A problem behind it though is that lolita on its own if fairly limited in what you can talk about that hasn’t been discussed by others already, though the solution to that problem is that things do not have to be lolita alone.

    I’d consider my blog somewhere in the mid-range: I definitely post quite a few “hey look at my clothes” posts but I try and post more helpful things as well and when I post clothes it’s normally in flatlay form so at least people can see the coordinate potential a piece has. I always try and encourage discussion as well, even if it’s pretty simple discussion.

    This is something of a rambly comment but I think this is a great idea and I look forward to reading the new content that you, and others, write in the future.

  3. Weirdly enough I have been called a attention-seeker on egl, because I did review my purchases on quality of the construction of the item and the materials were used(and how it did fit me). I do not care if it is expensive brand item or not. I am perfectionist, but I really tried be constructive and was pretty found of my reviews, because I was really tired of overly positive review about xx-brands.
    Ironic enough, the first item I got from Angelic Pretty(second hand, but brand new), broke after first time use, so I compared it to Bodyline, never never I would do what again. Some people did not understand how the item broke, some claimed I have misused the item and some said just be proud owning something Angelic Pretty. Of course were some more reasonable persons were like relax and take it to repair.
    Since I only have made a quick review video of a old school style jsk, but only a video, without so many words, because so could people better take their own decision rather than misunderstand me as newbie, stupid elitist or that ever people decides to judge me as.
    I don’t know about Facebook, but I have been little too tired to post anything after my unluck to ran to the few legendary burandogeeks every newbies fear. It is okay to have a favourite brand, but not in that way you defend it with all means, so your little perfect lolita bubble does not burst.
    I guess I just been really unlucky, but on the other I now know who I don’t want to make friends with.

  4. I feel this too, partly that there is just not so much to talk about any more either?? A lot of topics have been covered to death, and there is so much that is just opinion based that we’re never going to reach any kind of conclusion with it. “Are piercings okay?” is always going to divide people and very few will ever change their minds, so discussion dies very quickly…
    On my blog I’ve done one or two posts about the history of lolita and ways to put a co-ordinate together, and people who are new to the fashion in my comm have enjoyed them but I think that’s as far as they can really go. Maybe something more niche like the history of the fashion would have a wider readership, but as far as actually putting outfits together and practical advice there are thousands of experts out there now. I definitely agree, we’re not starved for resources and people’s comments don’t tend to be more in depth than “this was useful I enjoyed it!” or really “you’re cute!” Plus, YT is way more prevalent now than it was even a few years ago, so maybe people just prefer to watch things rather than read and discuss in the traditional way now?
    A lot of people have complained that the lifestyle element of the fashion is not seen as relevant any more, and hence discussion has gone along with it in favour of a more visual culture.

  5. Maybe it’s my Lolita age (I’ve been missing “the good old days” an awful lot recently. Doesn’t help that I could never get into many of the modern Lolita trends, so I’m always old-school at heart.), but I’ve been disappointed with the lightness of Lolita content over the last few years too! I really miss the intellectual discussions and such. Perhaps maybe there isn’t a need for that kind of content anymore, just like there’s no longer a need for EGL as a central Lolita hub. If so, it makes me very sad. I got so much inspiration, information, and occasionally magic from those sorts of things. I’ve felt like many aspects of the Lolita subculture have been dying, and while some of it is natural evolution and not always a bad thing, I hate to see so much of what I found special to no longer be relevant.

    I also agree with the commenter above on how our culture has become very argumentative, and that does discourage conversation.

    I really wish I had more to add to this. I hope I’ll see more bloggers taking the initiative to try bringing discussions back to the community. Good luck to achieve your goals!

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