Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gal Story and Reflection

Photography done by LiquidMojo

The Construction of "Lisha"

LA and myself 2008
As a child,being bullied near the end of elementary school (or middle school), conforming to what others expected of me (being a seemingly perfect, straight, Christian woman and wearing a uniform for YEARS), and trying to suppress the me that wanted to simply be, created a more shy, reserved self that I wanted to shake off. I also did not want to wear the exact same thing that everyone else wears (uniforms), and that if you tried to do your own thing either you would get into trouble, or people would not like you and make fun of you or say that you must want to be white or asian.

I had  chose gal because it was a cheaper alternative (somewhat...)to the other fashions I found and liked. What it seemed to offer after doing a bit of research, was appealing for me, even though it was a contradiction in itself (rebeling yet conforming to its own rules.)

Over the years
I stumbled upon gal at about 2007 when I wanted to truly break free of the restrictions and inhibitions that kept me from being myself or what I wanted to do. I was searching for a fashion style to show an aspect of myself and to be creative with it, not be too expensive and Japanese brand heavy centered like Lolita fashion but not too showy like Cyber fashion .

Chicago Gal 2010
Aaron Bercaw photography 2010

After it startled me, I started to love it because it gave me a little sliver of happiness. I liked the idea of wanting to not look normal, to look bold, and wear things I wanted to. Now, I feel like I have been in this (online) community long enough (about six years now?) that my statement from maybe anyone else, maybe more so beginners to the style and/or lifestyle, could get people to not like them or see a flaw in their want to try this style out. However, for me, it was one of the things that I wanted to enjoy.

Even though there are no written rules for Gal fashion per se, there are guidelines and/or rules for individual circles and how they should be ran, or what makes something Gyaru. Now, these "right” things change over time, with different sub styles/themes in the main part of the subculture, and also who you are as a person/race/etc (face shape, skin darkness or lightness). If you get all the “right” things down and improve pretty fast then you become well known in the gal scene and looked up too and sometimes even hated ,  or you don’t improve at all and don’t see what is holding you back, then you get looked down upon.

I narrowed down what I liked, and had ideas for things that I thought would be cool, despite being told that there were no such thing as a rocker gal, or pirate themes (until   it became more established in Japan ). I did my own thing subtly as I collected inspiration pictures non stop from other gals. I studied these pictures, and practiced them a lot. In a way, I was like a mad scientist. For me, something in my mind snapped, almost like for Ichiko in Kamikaze Girls. 

Actually hanging out with people and staying up all night listening to hyper techno or eurobeat, paraparaing outside, or just walking around with other gal'd-out girls , that was what I wanted and what made me happy. To know that I was improving and trying out new things was exciting for me, even though over time painful things would pop up, or disappointments would happen.

 I have had moments where I wanted to give up, but I keep coming back. Sometimes I have to ask myself, for what? 

Now that I am older and been in the game for a while, I definitely feel the tug of normal life at my side. I now am focusing my attention on being more on the lines of a coordinator, or at least an attendee for other gal's events, and helping out new generations of gals. I have the pressure of not only fitting into normal society's standards (though I don't have to 100%) but also marriage/relationship stuff as well from my family.

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