The Gothic Lolita Fetishism in the Japanese Culture

In “Cultures of Fetishism,” Louise J. Kaplan explains how the “strategy of fetishism” allows people to control the “immaterial” and the unknown. According to Kaplan, “strategies” such hyper-consumerism, with its fetishizing of objects ranging from stilettos to Ipod and even beanie babies, may actually stifle the creative potentials of dialogue by reducing the complex to the tangible, which like the sexual fetish may be easily and repeatedly consumed.Using Kaplan’s essay, explore the ramifications of the “strategies of fetishism” in the “Gothic Lolita” culture.

1). Analyze the way that “Gothic Lolita” culture as a result of “5 strategies of fetishism” introduced in Kaplan’s article “Cultures of Fetishism”. Use examples, and explain how they are applied with each strategy.
2). May emphasize there is differences between gothic loli as a general fashion style, and the real gothic loli fetish—who may dress and even act in that style daily. (YouTube:
3). Talk about the reasons that lead them become such a fetish. (Extra document provided “HardyBernalKA2. pdf”)

What are these fetishists escaping? Why is the Gothic Lolita doll specific to the Japanese culture?

1. Society
• Pressure: Public value: From childhood, Japanese are taught that this level of self should not be assertive but rather should be considerate of the needs of others; the private emotions, and perhaps the funloving , relaxed side of Japanese individuals are tolerated and even admired as long as these do not interfere with the performance of more public responsibilities.
• Personal relationship: Many Japanese are willing to delay rewards, to put forth their best efforts for their teams, and to avoid open conflict.
• Competition: the outside world is an arena of intense competition
• society and families pressure young people

2. Anime culture:
• Films, television, nightlife, and comic books (manga), sometimes garish and violent, offer an escape from the pressures of contemporary life.
• Manga and anime were mainstays in Japanese pop culture long before the art form made its way West. & The popularity of manga and anime in Japan

3. Cosplay culture:
• Popular culture, connected with anime & manga
• Custom effect: “the surface truth is always the real truth. This is something that all Japanese people believe. You proclaim it, you put it on your name card and that’s who you are”—they believe this makes them become someone else– fashion takes a very important stance in expressing oneself in Japanese culture.

4. Woman Status: (Gothic Lolita-female group)
• Declined women status in the past
• Pressure on women (a lot of young women who are growing up and at the same time telling society in their own way that they don’t just want to fall into place when their rights are limited, and furthermore, they will refuse to do so)
• An anthropological petri dish of young women and how they are choosing to react to all the changes in their lives

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