• Phoebe Gardner

Chinese goths are using selfies to protest against lack of fashion freedom after subway incident

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

Courtesy of BBC News

Weibo users are posting selfies to show solidarity for woman told to remove “horrible” make-up by subway staff

China’s goth community have united online after a woman, who has not been named, was told by security that she could not travel on the subway unless she removed her gothic make up in the southern city of Guangzhou.

Writing on Chinese social media site Weibo, the woman recounted how “a female security guard called her manager, and said that my make-up was ‘problematic and really horrible.’”

“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 continued on the post reported by Chinese website Sina News.

Since the incident occurred on March 10, the woman’s post has been shared over 5,000 times and in solidarity, selfies have been posted on Weibo of women wearing gothic make-up using the hashtag #ASelfieForTheGuangzhouMetro.

This is not the first time Weibo has been used as a form of protest, back in 2017 the social media site faced backlash from its users over a ban on LGBT content. The hashtag ‘Online Content Review Discriminating Gays’ was used and viewed millions of times.

Gothic culture in China has mainly emerged from the popular “Lolita Fashion”, the Japanese sub-culture influenced by Victorian and Edwardian clothes. Although they are limited, western novels and music, such as Twilight and Avril Lavigne, have also played a part in introducing gothic culture to the country.

Many of the selfies posted on the social media site highlighted questions over the freedom and acceptance of underground fashions in China. “If beauty ideals remain the same, then art will die out,” shared Sansen Chenww. “I’m not a murderer, an arsonist, I don't smoke or spit in public, I just love gothic dress.”

The Chinese Government has become increasingly cautious of Western-influenced sub-cultures. Last year China banned hip-hop music from being shown on national television.

“It’s 2019, girls have the right to decide their own hairstyle and makeup, they do not need to seek the approval of strangers,” Weibo user Qin-2Y posted.

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

According to China Daily, Guangzhou Metro released an official apology on its WeChat account and that the member of staff has been suspended and will receive remedial training when she returns.

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