11 Oct 2016

Felicia Day You're Never Weird on the Internet

Whilst majority of reactions from the public towards Lolita fashion tend to be positive (especially if they’re coming from children or old ladies), we all know that sometimes some people can’t help thinking that it’s just weird. Be it because of the name or because they saw someone dressed in OTT Sweet bordering on Decora, or because as soon as they hear the word “Japan” all they can think of are hardcore otaku and weeaboos – every now and then we just have to find a way to deal with the perception that Lolita fashion is weird to some people. And one way of coping with that might be reading this book.




For anyone who doesn’t know, Felicia Day is an American actress, writer and web series creator – her YouTube web show The Guild about people playing MMORPG’s brought her to fame, particularly in the geek world, and she’s starred in some very well-known sci-fi TV shows like Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Eureka and Supernatural. So basically, if you’re into geek culture, video games in particular, and haven’t even heard of her, you’ve been living a very isolated life.

A little disclaimer before I start talking about the book itself: before reading it I wasn’t a big fan of Felicia. I didn’t dislike her and I definitely appreciated her contribution to geek culture and women’s representation in geek culture, but you wouldn’t hear me sing praises or call her an idol of mine. Now, having read the book and analysed my feelings a little bit more consciously, I think that my ex-boyfriend is to blame. He first introduced me to her through her music video Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? as “the Queen of Nerds” – to which my reaction all those years back then was that if she was that, why haven’t I heard of her before? But what I really felt that time was a pang of jealousy (“well, why don’t you date her then?”) and, as I now know and understand it, distaste at how he introduced her (“why are your only reasons/explanations for her being a Queen of Nerds that she is, quote, hot and plays video games, unquote?”). A few years later my (female) friend actually made me watch The Guild, which helped me understand why Felicia Day became famous and how has she come to be labelled as such. And now, after reading her book, I’m finally at the stage where I can honestly say that I enjoy the things she’s done and that she sounds like someone I’d get on with really well (Felicia, if you’ve just googled yourself and are reading this, I think we have a lot in common!).

So why do I think Felicia Day’s book is something that Lolitas should read? Not all of us are into geek culture in any form, some of us actively dislike manga and anime, the most popular exports from the same country that created our beloved frills! What would someone like that take out of a biography about someone who became famous through the Internet and video games?

My answer to you is: confidence and relatedness.

Lolita is a niche fashion and as such prone to being deemed weird and have all kinds of misconceptions created around it by outsiders who don’t have the faintest clue as to what it is about. Not quite unlike video games – yes, I know that they’re a lot more mainstream by comparison, as well as generally more accepted in modern culture, but they still remain niche and there are still plenty of people out there who think that they’re better than others because they don’t play video games. I found reading about Felicia dealing with various misconceptions and prejudices (especially as she tried to get external people/companies to fund the filming of her web series), as well as generally go about life as someone a little socially inept who injects her hobbies into every life situation she can very relatable, as an individual, but also as a Lolita. Yeah, I do own cute things and yes, I am an adult with a full-time job – nobody said that the two are mutually exclusive, so please take your ideas of how an adult should act like elsewhere if you don’t agree with that.

Furthermore, although it sometimes came at a cost (but shh, spoilers), Felicia pursued the things that made her happy and found confidence in doing that. How is that different from braving to wear your best frills outside? Just that one is web series/video games and the other one is Japanese street fashion. Like Momoko from Kamikaze Girls said: “if it makes you happy, do it”. I found it incredibly empowering, but also encouraging to read a success story from a determined, even if very anxious woman who didn’t take no for an answer and created something because it made her happy. This is how I feel most of the times when I wear Lolita, I feel more confident in my ability to do the things that make me happy – while it may not result in a career, like it did in Felicia’s case, it does wonders on an individual level to make your own little world a better and happier place for you.

Finally, there’s the less fun matter of sexism and misogyny. As you can imagine, even if you don’t follow anything from the world of video games, being a woman in this very male-dominated environment isn’t always comfortable or even safe. Felicia dedicated a whole chapter to the so called #GamerGate (please, Google it yourselves, but even though it was good 2 years ago, it’s still upsetting and disturbing to read about), which touches upon all those issues, as well as talks about how we should act in face of this. And again, being on the receiving end of some uncalled-for comments, wolf whistling and other forms of catcalling when in Lolita, it’s simultaneously heart breaking to read how far things went in that instance, but also helps to build a stronger sense of unity and shared misfortune. Yeah, Lolitas may not have been doxed, but we get just as many sexist/misogynistic comments on the streets as female gamers get online. To read a public figure speak out about it brings back some faith in humanity.

Ultimately, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is a lot more for your stereotypical consumer of geek culture than it is for consumers of Japanese street fashion. If in between donning your frills you enjoy video games or sci-fi, or if like Felicia you’re an awkward person by modern standards and often end up in funny albeit embarrassing situations, you’ll probably get a lot more out of this book than someone who isn’t. This book is also great for the feminists out there – never enough of the Girl Power spirit and nothing quite like cheering on a successful woman to later inspire your own self to go and get it (whatever that “it” is). But I think that even if you’re neither you could get a lot out of this book: some fun, some motivation… a new interest/hobby maybe?

2 comments:

  1. Ooh, this sounds very interesting! ♡ I gotta bookmark this and read it through later on. Because I've always been a weirdo, this is something that I would definitely like to read (the post and the book). ^_^

    ~ Frillycakes ~

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    Replies
    1. I'd definitely recommend the book, I had so much fun reading it. The Guild, Felicia's web show, is also great to watch if you like things about social misfits :)

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