Dream Dress for Girls: Shōjo Fashion

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Shōjo Across Media: Multidisciplinary Approaches, 2019, pp. 209 - 231
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The image of shōjo is largely conveyed through visual cues of dress, gesture and appearance. With the exception of the now well-documented Japanese Lolita fashion, however, theoretical analysis of the association between shōjo and dress is still a rarity. Paying particular attention to fashion brand Milk, and romantic ballerinas and Victorian girls as underlying inspirations, this chapter aims to uncover significant meanings behind shōjo fashion. It contends that fashion aesthetic is crucially intertwined with the process of crafting and sustaining the image of shōjo, and further that this aesthetic subverts the stereotypical equation of girlish (shōjo) femininity with derogatory sexualization, values denounced as passive and unfavorable in many Euro-American societies. The shōjo fashion aesthetic, this chapter argues, inverts these negative associations into positive and empowering ones.
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