Thursday, 14 September 2017

Community Politics

The idea of lolita communities, whether they are more local or larger national communities, has been in my thoughts a great deal lately. I suppose with the disbanding of the Tea Party Club and the online reactions in response to this, there has been a lot of talk about what happens now. I wont be mentioning any names or specific comments (and most of the comments are anonymous anyway) but I am absolutely gobsmacked at some of the things being said. Sorry to say it, but some people are coming across as very entitled. The Tea Party Club events took so much time and effort. I don't think some people realise just how much the organisers put in to these huge events. But even at a local level there are some of the negative effects trickling down. For a while now I have backed away from being a part of a local community. It is not anything specific that one individual person has done, but because I was wondering if the smaller comm meets are really how I wish to pursue my love of lolita fashion. I try not to blog about the negative impact too much, but I will be honest and admit that there have been times where I have been hosting a meet where it has made me severely ill (both physically and mentally). A lot of that is down to me as an individual, but it did result in me backing away from my local community a lot. I came to realise that I am at my happiest when I am in just a small group of lolitas or even doing something with just my husband James. I am wearing lolita for myself a lot more and not because I feel the pressure to make a super amazing outfit for a community meet up. Communities can be great, but they are not the be-all and end-all of wearing lolita. But I thought today I would tackle community politics and how maybe we can all go about creating a bit of harmony in our communities.

A small disclaimer- none of the comments in this post are aimed at any specific community or individual. I appreciate that this could be a sensitive subject and I want you all to know that I am not making any thinly veiled digs at anybody. These are just general observations I have made from being part of several different communities (not all of them lolita communities) and also from stuff I have heard from others both online and in real life.

Firstly, majority rules, or at least it should be taken in to account when planning an event. Voting on dates and venues mean you can get a better picture of your community's needs. If the majority have selected one particular option and they host goes ahead and agrees with the vote, then in theory you are going to have a larger number of attendees and happier guests. But ultimately, it is the host's choice. I feel that if somebody is going to the effort of hosting a meet, they should have the largest say in what happens because it is the host who will have to deal with bookings, any problems etc. Try not to get upset if a vote does not go your way. The idea of these events is to cater towards the whole group, not one individual. You don't have to be at every single meet. Sometimes you just have to accept that things have not gone your way.

We should also try to take other member's needs in to consideration. For example, if you are hosting an event which would be suitable for adults only, maybe consider doing something more inclusive for all ages for the following meet. If somebody has a food allergy or specific diet, see if you can compromise and go to a similar venue where they are more likely to find food they can eat. Not everybody is able-bodied or as healthy, so consider if there is going to be a lot of walking or physical exertion involved. Try to make sure that everybody feels included and welcome to take part.

I also think it is important not to let one person take on all of the work. This is something I can relate to, as I have gotten myself in a rut of being the only one hosting meets before. Doing all of the organising can be super stressful and it takes its toll. I think in the wake of what has happened with the Tea Party Club, it is only now that we are realising what people like Kyra did for the UK community. She organised so many of the big events that I feel some of us took it for granted. Now we are at a loss about how to continue in the future. Fantastic meets can only go ahead if somebody is there to put the work in. If you have a service to offer which you think may be useful (translating, photography etc) then make yourself known. Also, if you want to step up and host a meet but don't know what to do, don't be afraid to ask event hosts for advice. I think that if people are willing to ask the needed questions, people will be able to offer advice. Do remember that 5 years ago, Kyra only got Juliette et Justine to come over because she actually asked them. And please, make sure that your hosts feel valued. Thank them!

Another thing to consider is making sure the community does not have any unrealistic rules. As an example, I know there are some communities which have a rule against going or posting on places like 4chan. How exactly do you enforce a rule like this? As these sites are anonymous, it is rare that you can prove who is posting what without going to a lot of effort. This can cause a lot of unnecessary finger pointing and accusations. Also, a lot of community members are adults or at least old enough to be making their own choices. We can't realistically police everything and in trying to do so, you can actually cause more problems than you are trying to prevent. Lolita is a fashion and having long lists of rules to join a community can scare people away.

Speaking of moderation, community moderators should be approachable and somebody you can go to if a problem arises. Members of a community want to know that they will be treated well. Not being able to get a hold of somebody when you have questions can be very frustrating. If as a moderator you feel as though you have taken too much on, consider adding additional moderators. Share the burden out fairly.

It is also important to try and keep personal drama out of lolita communities. Have an issue with another lolita? That should be between the two of you and nobody else. Don't force people to choose sides. It can really cause a horrible atmosphere if you bring your drama to a meet. Sometimes it is very tricky to deal with people you don't like or have fallen out with, but hopefully you can keep things civil. Rather than focusing on the drama, try talking to another lolita. Focus on other things. I personally find that this has a positive effect rather than brooding on things.

Finally, members should be free to meet up with each other away from the community. Sometimes you find you really click with somebody and you develop a friendship beyond the fashion. So it is only natural that you may decide to meet up with those few people outside of lolita meets, regardless of whether or not you wear lolita when you see each other. If you connect with somebody, don't be afraid to make the first move. Try messaging them and if things go well, maybe you could suggest meeting at a cafe for a drink. As you get older, it is a lot harder to make new friends compared to when you were a child. You may find you have to make a bit more effort, but sow the seeds and hopefully a beautiful friendship will bloom.

So those are just some thoughts that I have come up with. Can you think of anything that I have missed out? Do feel free to comment your suggestions. Over the past year I have been thrown in to a lot of situations where I have needed to consider my interactions a lot more and I think as a result my behaviour and actions have changed (hopefully for the better!). With everything that has happened recently, perhaps we need to think a bit more about how we can evolve as a community. You can't make everybody happy all the time, but sometimes just knowing that our thoughts and feelings have been acknowledged can make all the difference. My wish for the future is that we can all continue to have fun adventures together as a happy and content community.


  1. This is a really good post! To me, everything you mention just seems like common sense but as they say, sometimes it really ought to be called uncommon sense, to thanks for sharing :)

    1. I totally agree, a lot of what I said is common sense! I suppose that when you are in certain situations it is easy to lose that common sense though. It just made me feel really angry reading some of the comments I saw online and I guess I needed to vent!

  2. I'm totally agree! And i rly want to say my opinion. Sorry for my bad english, sometimes i study reading post like this but the topic is important.

    I learned all of this in my community too, but i feel lucky cause there arent dramas. We dont make polls about the day of the next meet because we realise everybody votes and only few members came. A kind of "rule" in our community is make a reunion once a month, and everytime the host in someone different. This person pick de venue, day and hour and nobody can complain. Is easier and if u cant come to this meet, there will be another the next month or you can be volunteer for be the next host. I know there are many girls (and boys too) in this fashion with a childish attitude, but here the people can sit in the same table even if they have misunderstandings.

    I stopped to get a little mad when nobody come to my meet, because i understood lolita is not priority for other people as is for me and is fine. We are people before lolitas and it's not a personal matter! Ppl live lolita in community and other people don't, but the people who prefers live lolita alone is always welcome if they want to come a meet someday.

    There's no a "leader", and the responsability is shared always.

    My community is small, but there are an incredible people therem <3 is think the key is no to take any comment or behavior personal.

    1. Your community sounds absolutely lovely <3 I think that it is really good that you share out the hosting duties and don't have a defined 'leader'. A lot of communities work better when the enthusiasm is there and people are willing to help each other. I think a lot of the problems I found is that when one person makes a lot of effort it can be easy for others to take that for granted and then not bother to make the effort themselves. I really love your comment 'we are people before lolitas' because it is so true!


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