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
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.
Article and video shared privately with student group for teaching purposes only. For subscriptions contact The Guardian online. https://support.theguardian.com/int/subscribe