Monday, 16 November 2015

About a certain Lolita documentary...

As most of you may have seen, a documentary recently played on SBS2 to positive public response, and mixed response within the community. Personally, I think it's a step up from other portrayals in the media, mostly thanks to Megan's push to remove all references to "living dolls" (although it is mentioned in the prologue outside of the documentary several times), but doesn't speak much about the fashion itself. I also have some strong reservations myself personally which is mentioned later in the post.

I do everything I can to avoid drama. I also do everything I can to keep drama out of the community. This was the reason that the Sydney Lolita community is never directly mentioned in the documentary, and it's never directly mentioned that we're Sydney Lolitas.
Still, I have to thank Megan's hard work and dedication to the project, as well as Kavya, the Adelaide community and the Melbourne community's effort in trying to give us as best an image of lolita fashion as possible (and yes, you were working against the hands of an editor whose interests is to generate drama instead of interest in the fashion).Here are some general positive and negative thoughts about the documentary:

 + Some good shots
 + Megan
 + It's not cosplay
 + Pretty people
 + For the most part, the stand-alone segment avoids the common pitfalls that the media falls into
 + Character narration only

 - Brain dead ratings pandering editor
 - The dark atmosphere at the start
 - The Feed’s segway into the segment, involving mentions of living dolls
 - Things being used out of context
 - Little to no description of the fashion, despite Lottie’s lengthy discussion of the origins of lolita
 - Tilly's section is random and too long
 - Too much offbrand
 - Random mentions of sex
 - The victim dialogue
 - Too much brolita

Our involvement was to balance out the image provided by the other lolitas, and we thought we'd give a very positive outlook to the fashion. Note that almost all of our speech about the fashion itself and the Australian community was cut out of the final cut, replaced with really off-hand, depressing stuff. I really despise how they decided to add the talk about my parents (which was a completely off-hand conversation) and take it out of context for the purpose of the "lolitas are all hiding stuff" dialogue.

I'm also quite disappointed that they made "I'd prefer people not see my male face" into "I have a secret I need hidden" the subject of my section. It's since become a bit of a joke in itself, and to be honest, I can't blame anyone. I was given very little time to prepare, do make-up and get dressed, and Lottie and I were very hesitant about doing any PDA stuff in the documentary (and they were very pressuring in this situation, and this stressed us out quite a bit).

There's also some misinformation that was generated from the docco's obsession with male lolitas: that there is an increasing number of men in the community who wear lolita. There isn't. Male lolitas are still a minority, and there's nothing more special about being a male lolita than there is being a female one.

However, I think the dialogue it generated and the criticism can be used as a lesson to improve any further involvement with the media. Most lolitas are normal people who live ordinary lives and just want to enjoy the fashion itself, this should be the focus of future documentaries.

Another is the public's obsession with living dolls (and believe me, I was exchanging expletives with the producer after seeing the preceding segments that referred to lolitas as such despite our explicit disapproval with this), something that we can only avoiding by supporting artists and content creators within our own community to refute this image.

This'll be the last time I mention this documentary, and I hope we can move forward with a positive outlook towards the future of the lolita community. And to the producers of "The Feed" that weren't involved in the direct creation of the documentary: you messed up. Fire your editor, stop hiring brain-dead interns to write your segways, and stop assuming that you can barge into any community and do as you please. The lolita community has been around for longer than you or me, and others have spent a long time building it. If you're media looking to explore lolita as your subject, please respect the wishes of the community.

Also, you spelt Lottie's name wrong.

Phanty, signing out.

1 comment:

  1. Yes to this. You guys still did a great job though! I think it was very rude of them to pressure you into doing some PDA, I would certainly be uncomfortable. I was so annoyed that they got Lottie's name wrong too hahaha.