mandag den 4. august 2014

"Newb Season" and the Mentor Paradox

Summer is coming to and end, and so is the "youngin's" Summer vacation, at least where I am. This also, to many a Lolita's relief, means the ending of "newb season". Every year, as the season edges closer, groaning can be heard all over the Lolita internet hemisphere. When fall arrives, there are stories of actual gif parties to celebrate the end.

But why? 
It is known that there are Lolitas out there who'd rather see that Lolita stays a niche fashion, but many Lolitas are only excited to see Lolita gain recognition and, as a result, almost accurate media coverage! Wider recognition means brand stores opening up in other countries, and more easily accessible pretty things for all of us! It also means Lolita conventions, Tea Parties and other events, and last but not least, more Lolita friends to make.
(I'm also, personally, hoping for cuter and more elegant mainstream clothing inspired by Lolita. A girl can dream)

What is the downside of a seasonal influx of new Lolitas? 
Some of them actually stay and become part of our community, and it's so exciting to share our love with a fashion with a new, wide-eyed soul!

The downside is the result of one thing, and one thing only. And it really kills the joy, even to me, a devoted part-time Lolita mentor.
New Lolitas step into a world of complicated rules, piles and piles of new terms and shorthands. What does "JSK" stand for? What is a "Jumperskirt"? And there are a thousand stores to lerm to distinguish between! It's no wonder that a new person becomes lost!

Lolita can almost be compared to the court culture at Versailles, at a much smaller scale. You cannot just wear any shoe. Wearing the wrong make-up and a biker jacket may have girls giggling in the corner. That is were I and many other experienced Lolitas come in. Ask if you're in doubt about the "secret court rules"- We'll gladly let you know what shoes are appropriate in Lolita fashion, if neon colors are ever OK, or explain to you when it's alright to go without a blouse. Those things are complicated! It's not just "Yes!" or "No!", "Never!" and "Always!", but a matter of certain situations and the coordinate at hand, and part of what makes Lolita so fascinating! 
Also, giving constructive criticism to new Lolitas are essential to the learning process for a Lolita duckling, if they ask for it.

As you've probably noticed, new Lolitas are not the problem. Questions about complicated nuances and the grey zones in Lolita fashion are just fine, and perfectly understandable. They may even start interesting debates for the rest of us, and give us an opportunity to exchange views on things that we thought were established aspects of our fashion! When are neon colors OK in Lolita fashion, anyway!?

What makes "Newb Season" so frustrating is something that I as a Lolita mentor experience way too often: Laziness. Not my laziness, but an inexplicable laziness found in the young Lolita ducklings! "Where can I purchase Lolita clothing?" and "How do I get my skirt to puff up?" are a couple of the questions that make more experienced Lolitas drop their heads hard onto keyboards in agony. 

That is the curse of "Newb Season". 
The Googli-fication of online communities, and the permanent citizens of these that are being treated as if we were all Siri. 

I do not know what have prompted this. I do not know, if this is a new phenomenon, but it confuses me to no end! This makes me sound really old, but back when I first started out, I was so excited that I did all the research I could. I google'd, read blogs and "What is Lolita?" posts till I was blue in the face! I figured out for myself where to purchase Lolita clothing, I learned to avoid Milanoo like the plague all on my own, and figured out how to distinguish between proper Lolita clothing and nightmare-ish lace monsters through staring at pictures on "Daily Lolita" and guides like FYeahLolita's brilliant "How to Avoid Being an Ita".
I fell head over heels in love with Lolita, and that made me want to swallow the fashion whole. Figuratively.

Has this curiosity died out? What does that say about Lolita fashion, or the people joining the fashion?
I'm not sure. I like to think, that the new Lolitas joining are getting into it with the same love and eagernes that I did, and that the "Let me Google it!" mindset has just taken a step back.
The thing is, it's so easy to find reliable Lolita shops. Even easier than typing out a question on EGL, and a lot less dehumanising to the community.

We love helping out new Lolitas who truly seem like they want to become part of our world, and will work for it, the way we ourselves did. It also helps when the time and effort of a mentor is accepted with a smile and a "Thank you" instead of insulted frowning.
We're not a restaurant who'll hand it out on a silver platter.

I truly hope that many of this years Lolita ducklings will stick around, and start to grow their swan feathers.

Adieu, "Newb Season"!
Until next year.

8 kommentarer :

  1. I wonder if a lot of the laziness of the ducklings isn't out of some sort of premature elitism? Not the case with most of them, I imagine, but I wonder if some of them have that "special snowflake" "oh lolita is such a niche fashion, there's no way Google is going to be any help, it's too mainstream!" Then again, the young ones on Tumblr might have made me too jaded in that way ^_^;

    1. Haha, that really does sound like a certain part of Tumblr, actually! I'm a big fan of Tumblr myself and use it a lot, but I try to stay away from the part that's "hating on the mundies"..
      Some young Lolitas might think that way, for sure. The rise of the Tumblr generation in Lolita fashion may be upon us.

  2. Denne kommentar er fjernet af forfatteren.

  3. I actually came to lolita in the long way around as in "interested, thought I was too big & it was too expensive, and then returned after years of following it". Although I am pretty average with my coordinates, I knew the basics and researched my heart out before joining my local comm.

    You just have to be very nice and kinda give an info pamphlet of good starter brands for their budget if they're very enthusiastic about the fashion but lost their way during the initial search. A few lolitas in my comm got their first dress from Milanoo and now wear brand to every meet! Half of the battle is figuring if they're smart enough to do the work on their own.

    Thanks for posting this! It gives me inspiration to stay positive and hope the newbies stay and attend more meetups~

    1. Sounds like your story was actually kind of like mine :) Except I kind of just forgot about it, and returned 4-5 years after I actually bought my first (mismatched) pieces, haha..

      I really love it when I meet a person who's new to Lolita fashion and actually interested, and it's understandable that people make mistakes and may end up buying a "lace monster" in their eagerness to join. I'm a bit of a book worm and curios cat myself, so it boggles my mind when people fall in love with something but doesn't dig right into a pile of research.

      I've taken to giving all new Lolitas a pile of "Starter links", including Hellolace, FYeahLolita, and the Handbook. There are just some online places that every Lolita should know!

  4. Oh, this was a great post! Actually, you're whole blog is pretty great :) I'm a "newb lolita", and have been stalking various sites for about a year, and have finally bought my first skirt! I have to say, doing all of the research has been pretty fun, and your blog has helped me out quite a bit!

    1. That made me smile! :D Thank you! I'm so glad to know that my blog has helped you out on your journey into "Lolitadom". Congrats on your first skirt!
      Which one did you get? I'm curious.

    2. I got this one:

      Unfortunately I won't be able to get an underskirt for a while, but I'm so happy to have a real lolita skirt in my closet!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...