Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)



First Advisor

Faidra Papavasiliou


Elegant Gothic Lolita, or simply Lolita, is a fashion subculture that began as a street fashion among the youth in Harajuku Japan. Lolita fashion is characterized by the modest and Victorian era inspired clothing that often features knee length skirts and dresses that are supported by petticoats, blouses with ruffles and pintucks, and legs covered by either stockings or socks. The Lolita fashion subculture has spread to outside of Japan and communities are now found in almost every US State. The purpose of this project is to explore the rituals, practices, and conflicts, in Lolita Communities of the United States, especially in the realms of behavior, dress, and sexuality. As with many cultures, there are a set of punishments and rewards for following or failing to follow the protocols that are set in place. I explore what these rules, behavioral protocols, rites of passage, and dress codes are, while also examining the punishment and reward systems that are in place. Participant observation, interviews, and auto-ethnography have been used. The Lolita fashion subculture is complex and hierarchical. An emphasis is not just placed on the clothing involved in the subculture, but also on the personalities and merits of each individual member and how they interact with the community as a whole.