Goths in China are up in arms after a young woman was ordered to remove her gothic make-up by metro security in Guangzhou.
The incident occurred on March 10, when the woman was going through a security check at Xiao-gang Station. In a Weibo post, she recounted that a staff member asked her to remove her heavy eye make-up and dark lipstick. The woman stated how a female security guard called her manager who told her that the makeup “was a problem, it was too scary and to please wipe it off.” Despite not carrying any prohibited items on her, she was told she had to wipe the makeup off her face to be allowed to travel on the metro.
The woman’s appearance was regarded as being too “distressing” for other passengers. After learning about the incident, Chinese people who identify with the gothic subculture started posting selfies of themselves in full dark makeup and ‘Gothic Lolita’ outfits, a fashion subculture in Japan that blends ‘gothic’ and ‘cute.’
Lolita fashion, a popular fashion subculture popularized in Japan. Image via @鹿米原原/Weibo
“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?” the woman said in her post. “If you can cite one, I will acknowledge it and am willing to pay for a banner to hang at the Xiao-gang Station, which reads: ‘People wearing gothic-style clothing are not permitted to ride the metro.’”
The woman’s post has had a large impact on the Chinese gothic community. More than nine million netizens have followed the topic, with hundreds of women showing solidarity by posting selfies of themselves in full gothic makeup and apparel, using the hashtag #ASelfieForTheGuangzhouMetro (#为广州地铁发自拍). One netizen posted, “Everyone should have the right to look how they want,” while many others have echoed this sentiment with similar remarks.
Image via @Neimiur/Weibo
Subsequently, Guangzhou Metro’s official Weibo account issued an apology, saying that they suspended the staff member linked to the incident and that the situation was handled inappropriately.
One netizen commented, “This is at least the fourth time that Guangzhou Metro issued a ‘deportation order’ on the grounds of dressing up.” According to Sina News, there were incidents where people dressed in gothic attire had been stopped by Guangzhou Metro staff and refused entry because of their outfits in July and November of last year.
Gothic culture has become increasingly present in China, seen by the popularization of the Japanese trend ‘Lolita fashion’ – a style of clothing inspired by Victorian and Edwardian fashions. Since the latest incident, netizens have been calling for higher tolerance and acceptance of the gothic subculture in China.
[Cover image via @虾饺的鱼缸/Weibo]