Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Getting to Know: Mary Moos and the Lolita Fashion Part 1

Mary Moos was a panelist and model during the lolita fashion related events at the New York Anime Festival 2008. If you did attend the fashion show event, you may remember a young girl on stage with long red hair in a lolita dress. However, what made me remember her was what she said at the event. During the fashion show, there was a mentioning about those who said people who wear lolita fashion should act a certain way. She responded by saying those people are “stupid.” It was great to finally hear someone say that, because one should not be required to behave a certain way when wearing a lolita outfit. However, if one prefers to present themselves in a certain way, it is one’s choice, but it does not mean that others should follow suit, unless one feels it is fitting.

Before I dive into the lolita fashion world with Mary Moos, I would like to give her an opportunity to clarify why she decided to respond that way and why was it important to do so.
“Haha, you know in retrospect I get really embarrassed about my total audacity and lack of self-censoring as soon as someone hands me a microphone. I have a secret extrovert personality that comes out when I wear lolita. I don’t think it needed to be said, really, because it's only my opinion. A lot of people feel differently and they're entitled to that belief. But, you know, they're wrong.

Haha, but seriously. Firstly, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect other humans to be nice. I feel like a large number of lolitas are snobby and may even emphasize their bad attitudes to make a point about not having to be nice in order to be lolita, and those people are also out of order. You shouldn't be nice because there's some rule about lolitas having to be nice to everyone. You should be nice because only jerks treat other people disrespectfully on purpose.

I also think it's perfectly fine if someone who wears lolita makes it their personal goal to act particularly prim and only eat certain foods and not say bad words when they're wearing lolita. However, it's totally out of line to expect that from other people. I just wanted to discourage that expectation, because it leads to judgment. There are things I do differently when I wear lolita, like I wear more makeup and I try to pay attention to my posture and take extra care to not be such a klutz. But those first two things are aesthetic and the last is practical. I don't want to have to censor the way I speak or lower the volume of my voice or change my personality in any way because that's completely false, and that is what makes lolita seem like a costume. If I am acting or playing a part when I dress lolita, it's not fashion, it's a farce. It has to be me, with a fluffy dress, not Lolita Mary whose voice is three tones higher and who doesn't make ridiculous jokes.”

So let us get to know Mary Moos as Mary Moos. She is a twenty one year old girl from the suburbs outside of Philadelphia and is an American with the heritage of Irish/German/Swiss/Polish ancestry. She is part of a large family “with two older sisters, a deaf younger sister, and an autistic younger brother.”

While going to school, Moos had quite a range of interest and extracurricular activities. She was a Girl Scout beginning around the age of 6 until she was 12 years old. Her musical talents include the clarinet, guitar and choir. When she was 11 years old, she began to take Japanese language lessons, “because my older sister took it and I found it to be the most interesting language choice offered at my school.”

During her high school years, Moos continued to enjoy history, writing and Japanese. “I became more involved with the choral and musical theater groups, even though I couldn't dance or act…I really, really wanted to be good at art and sewing, but I barely passed home economics and did really poorly in my art class. It just wasn't for me…I quit high school when I was 17 because I got sick pretty frequently and I felt like it was a waste of time.” However, she has received her GED and started going to a community college. Once she receives her Associates degree, she hopes to attend Temple University in Philadelphia or Japan for her Bachelors.
© 2010 Linda Thai

Photography by Hannah Sutin
Thank you Mary Moos for the photographs! Stay tune for Part 2 of the Mary Moos interview!

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