11 March 2017

Why I Stopped Posting to Closet of Frills (Mostly)

This is going to be a deeply personal, wordy post.

If you're a lolita, you know exactly how cruel and shallow the internet can be, especially anonymous websites such as cgl and behind the bows were half the content is negative criticisms about other lolitas. And if you've ever posted a photo of your coordinates online, you've probably been dissected and reduced to a non-human image of clothes and physical features. Not all criticism is hurtful, and not all discussion is negative. But a lot of it is.

I'm not immune.

I've had plenty of secrets posted about me, from drama that is partially my fault to very personal things that were never connected to lolita fashion. I've had plenty of my coordinates that I posted to Closet of Frills criticized on cgl. Luckily I have had many years of experience in the fashion, so secrets are thankfully rarely about my outfits. But they are about physical and superficial features about myself - such as my teeth that have been warped by wisdom teeth and a small jaw, my eyebrows when I don't religiously wax them, and my chest when a dress squishes unflatteringly.

I'm not here to complain or to draw attention to things that have hurt me in the past - I'm here because I wanted to write about something that bothers me about lolita and society as a whole.

I stopped posting to CoF because people would criticize and gossip behind my back. I stopped posting because I am a product of the culture I live in. In the internet age of self-marketing and social media, I have unfortunately grown up valuing my looks by how many likes I get. It's hard when an Instagram photo of a good outfit without my face gets 300 likes but a selfie gets a fraction of that. This is a toxic, destructive way of seeing the world, and when we discuss this issue we tend to talk like we don't do it ourselves. Well, be honest. You probably have as well at some point in your life.

The distinction of "mostly" is because I do occasionally post to CoF. But only when I am 100% confident in how I look in an outfit shot and can't find anything that makes me conscious. This has been both a good and bad decision. It's good because it helps me not worry so much about what others think of me and my coordinates, but it's bad because it still shows how much of a perfectionist I am in regards to photographing myself.

It also makes me sad to hear from my friends that private photos of them and their friends have been plastered all over places like cgl without their consent. It's one thing to recognize that sharing an outfit on CoF will almost inevitably get cross-posted to cgl, but it is another to take photos from lolita's private, personal Facebook accounts. This isn't okay, and it makes me a little wary of where photos on my personal account have been spread.

What was the point of this blog post? To share with you something that nobody talks about because of the fear of being seen as shallow and vain. To help myself (and hopefully you) remember that we are all human beings with feelings and complex personalities beyond physical beauty.

Credit Spencer on Lolita Humor

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  1. I hear you. You're considered a Lolita celebrity, and people talk about you. Rumors abound when people talk together in some small community. I'm glad you have been able to find some happiness and comfort in your fashion, even when there's a lot of aggressive and malicious attitudes. The perspective I usually try to bring to my conversations about YouTubers and Lolita celebrities is that if we try to bash them, they'll stop creating content. The less content, the less there is for the rest of us to enjoy. Fashion and appearance is deeply personal. I appreciate that you make youtube videos for others to enjoy.

    1. I wouldn't really consider myself a lolita celebrity, but I can definitely see your point. Which is why I have stopped creating content that gets my face and voice out there. Blogging is "safer" in that regards. I appreciate your comment :)

  2. I never posted to Closet of Frills because of the knowledge that everything gets cross-posted to other websites. I don't have a problem to post on my blog or instagram, I even post sometimes not so flattering pictures of myself there. But with CoF I have the feeling that people are really waiting there for outfits to get posted so that they can trash talk about them, it doesn't even matter if the outfit is acutally bad or not. Only very rarely people take pictures from instragram, personal blogs etc. to trash talk. But with CoF, it's like every picture. (Btw I never read btb but I sometimes read cgl, I don't go to the Ita thread or similar threads but I know it's there).

    1. I hear you. I've even seen beautiful outfits, and people still find a way to trash talk them. I'm happy you're comfortable posting yourself on your blog, that's really good that you have an outlet :D

  3. I've never been to either cgl or btb. By the time my Lolita consciousness developed enough to know about these places, they have already become infamous as sites full of trolls and/or people who will take advantage of anonymity to be mean about others, and I made the decision that my time is better spent elsewhere. So I don't know what exactly is posted here or what's being said about the CoF photos that I posted (and whether they are indeed cross-posted there).

    Having said that, I completely understand why the very knowledge that your pictures are published on cgl etc. and torn apart in comments would be off-putting from posting on CoF. When you know that almost the whole point of those sites is to be mean to others, then why give them ammunition? It's like telling your weakness to a school bully - both make little sense. I know that I wouldn't be immune to all the nasty comments, which is another reason why I made the decision not to go on those sites. There's enough positive, informative and enjoyable Lolita content as is, allowing us the priviege to make that decision.

    Finally, I couldn't agree more with how the likes our photos receive has a real impact on us. Yeah, it's uplifting when you post a coord to CoF and get a lot of likes, but when you don't, it can be really demotivating. You can tell yourself that only comments from your close friends matter, but that won't stop the pang of disappointment/self-doubt/sadness/other negative emotion when your post is met with negative comments or a dead silence. Our society, and by extension Lolita fashion, is very superficial and we've always wanted to be accepted and be considered attractive, so when we don't get that in a world and time when this can be instantenous through likes etc. it can be quite damaging to your self-worth, especially if you haven't yet learnt how to manage navigating through that world without it affecting you so much.

    1. I agree with everything you said, thank you :) I wish that lolita_valentines had been more popular, or at least revived. We are all aware of this vice and yet we still can't bring ourselves to challenge social competitiveness and build each other up.

  4. I'm so glad you made a post about this topic on your blog. I feel you in every single way possible. For myself I stopped posting there completely because of the the things that happens on other sites. Not that I got posted with ever coord (I hope) but the thought of cross posting scares me so much.

    I saw in one of your comments that you also stopped creating as much content that gets your face out. Are you planning on stopping with youtube too or less frequently? It's really hard to be both a part of the community as well keeping your face hidden. Seeing other youtube girls in the past and now on the secret sites made me rethink my own channel as well. Even to a point where it feels like quitting the whole online community except my facebook or instagram account but even than.

    I agree that the valentines can use a new boost! They spread a positive vibe that we need!
    I hope there will be a time where we don't get caught up by the likes of our photo's and do this for ourselves. Which was the reason we started this fashion in the first place! But changing our mindset with sticking to things we enjoy the most like instagram for example will give us the boost we need. Also sharing the love of good coords on the valentines will help too.

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  5. I think the main problem is certain social medias don't care about the effects of insults and some can't tell the difference between free speech and free speech with responsibility. I think it is impossible to claim free speech without responsibility, because it is no longer free speech, by insult everyone I don't like or diagree with. I remove everyoneelse right to speech by doing that.
    I never was on CoF(the other media makes me sick), I am not sharer in general. Secondly I would be a victim, because I like to make my own opinion, wich is totally forbidden....

  6. I have often heard the argument that if a person truly loved their choice of expression, critique wouldn't discourage them from doing it (and by extension, that those people must not have truly loved the fashion in the first place). But people are humans and humans typically enjoy doing what they like for themselves AND being perceived positively by others while doing it. There are obviously exceptions to this (some people enjoy infamy, for example), but for the most part, if you get enough negative (and not just negative - hurtful and unhelpful, too) reactions to something you legitimately enjoy doing or being for yourself, it can actually kill your confidence from the start and ruin it for you. I'm lucky to have reached a point to not care as much (definitely been posted there, for better and worse) and be able to use it as tool instead (mixed in with useless insults can sometimes be solid advice from a more critical and totally honest perspective, so I will read through and try to learn from those parts), but in the past it definitely made me question whether the community was a healthy and supportive enough place to begin with for me to learn from it and improve. And if there is not a supportive community to learn from and improve, what's the point, since even lonelitas don't want to look like beginners forever - our "rules", our aesthetic, our trends, we all learn them from each other and evolve them together. I ended up posting to and relying a lot more on my local community instead of public places, which was supportive and helped me improve without getting shredded or discouraged. I still don't post to COF anymore (mainly due to notifications and I feel obliged to respond to all comments or I feel rude, I prefer a system of simple Likes) but thanks to building up my confidence in my local pond, I am less anxious about my tumblr and insta pics being cross-posted to cgl. But not everyone is there yet, or had that chance or that supportive community, so to put your efforts out there in the broader community and immediately end up on cgl, especially while you're still learning... it sucks. I'm glad you're still blogging though and I hope you continue with youtube!

  7. I totally feel you, I recently posted for the first time on closet of frills FB page, it was a WIP photo of me in my new diamond honey sailor OP, within half an hour the first girl commented saying it looked like a costume, my pose was too cosplay, dress was too short, hair was immature.....when i replied back all i got was bitchyness and then hoards of them started commenting mean stuff, a few had some good things to say but most were negative and made me feel awful. One girl even went as far as to say I looked like a hooker in a catalogue that men perve over. I am never posting on there again! So toxic and nasty on that page.