Tuesday, May 7, 2019


The next time someone wants to spout off to you about how their rights are being suppressed and trampled on here in the U.S., just let them know that something as simple in China as being dressed up in Goth attire and makeup in public can carry socially-negative consequences.

Living in the Seattle area, all one has to do is to go downtown where a veritable freak show awaits -- and while maybe not 100% accepted, it is most certainly tolerated. There's more steel in Seattle than Pittsburgh and more ink than Windsor & Newton, and it is unabashedly flaunted.

These two articles from The Guardian online tell how it is when a Chinese goth girl has her rights stripped away while doing something as simple as trying to board a bus.

You think you've got it bad here? Think again.

Why goths will always defend their right to shock
Goths have been protesting against discrimination in China. As a group, they have often faced prejudice, so why has their subculture survived while so many others have vanished?
By Hannah Ewans | The Guardian

The global goth community has banded together after a woman was told to remove her dramatic makeup before boarding the subway in Guangzhou, China, apparently for fear of distressing other passengers. The response? Thousands of goths posted photos on the Chinese social media site Weibo of themselves with wild hair and blacked-out eyes in protest – and it soon spread to Twitter.

Goth has always been penalised, not for the fashion, but for what it represents: freedom, rebellion, perceived poor health, emotional difference. In the 80s, conservatives in the US worried that heavy metal was inspiring satanism, sexual activity, aggression and anger in its fans; Marilyn Manson and goth culture was wrongly linked to the 1999 Columbine shootings. In the 00s, the Daily Mail attacked emo as “a dangerous teenage cult”, linking young girls self-harming with their listening to My Chemical Romance and wearing black.

I was never a goth, but I was an emo teenager and remember the fashion always being seen as signifying something problematic when it was more about belonging and identity. Being punished for your part in a subculture tragically made headlines with the death of Sophie Lancaster, who was murdered in 2007 for being goth. Years later, as a result, police forces expanded their definition of hate crimes to include subcultures.

But with the rise of the internet, subcultures have almost vanished. Fragments of previous scenes’ style are now popular as accessories, with crucifix necklaces or thick eyeliner belonging to no one and one-time subcultural staples such as Fred Perry or Dr Martens becoming global brands. Anything goes fashion-wise, and culture is a genre-free soup. But still goth culture regenerates, seemingly against all odds.

It may be that goth is timeless because it was never fully accepted as cool – what, then, could be threatening about exaggerated makeup? Whether this goth’s experience on the Guangzhou subway was an attack on the subculture or a one-off misunderstanding, the response of the community en masse shows there is still a feeling of being an outsider and a need to defend the right to shock – this time online, where everyone can see.

And, a follow-up article here:

China's goths protest after woman told to remove 'distressing' make-up on subway
Weibo users post selfies of themselves in full make-up after woman stopped by security from boarding a train
By Hannah Ellis-Peterson | The Guardian

China’s goth community have united in an online protest after a woman was ordered to remove her dramatic make-up before being allowed on the subway to avoid “distressing” her fellow passengers.

In a post on Chinese social media site Weibo, the woman, who remains unnamed, recounted how subway security in the southern city of Guangzhou had stopped her from travelling because of her heavy eye make-up and dark lipstick.

Writing on Weibo, the woman recounted how “a female security guard called her manager, and said that my make-up was ‘problematic and really horrible’” before telling her to remove it if she wanted to get on the subway.

“As a Chinese citizen, I’m hoping to use this relatively public platform to challenge the authorities: What laws grant you the right to stop me and waste my time?” she wrote, in a post, according to a report by Chinese news website Sina News.

“If you are able to cite one, I am willing to pay for a banner to hang at the subway station, which reads, ‘People wearing gothic lolita clothing are not allowed to ride subway.’”

In response, thousands of Weibo users have begun posting selfies of themselves in full goth make-up and dark clothing with the hashtag #ASelfieForTheGuangzhouMetro.

Guangzhou subway has since apologised and suspended a staff member involved, but it has not been enough to stop the growing social media backlash calling for a wider social acceptance of subcultures in China.

More than 5,000 people posted solidarity photos of themselves in goth make-up, which in China is often referred to a “lolita” fashion, a subculture popular in Japan and increasingly now in China which is influenced by Victorian and Edwardian children’s clothing.

“I’m sorry people of Guangzhou, sometimes I go out like this,” posted Weibo user Haruko Ekov.

Jiolaa added: “What you see as fancy dress, I see as freedom,” wrote Jiolaa.


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