… Cry, a lot. Well, that’s what I used to do when I found out that I’ve been featured on Gyaru Secrets with horrible comments scrawled all over my pictures (for those that don’t know Gyaru Secrets – it was a Livejournal site where people submitted ‘secrets’ about people but it was more of a bitch fest). Thankfully that site doesn’t exist anymore but the truth is that you will still have to deal with some hate of some kind, anonymous or not, because of how different Gyaru style is compared to ‘normal’ styles. Today I’m having a chat with Kelsey (aka Nefariously Cute) on how she deals with online hate for wearing Yamanba, one of the oldest forms of Gyaru!
Hey Kelsey! Thank you so much for joining me today. Let’s start with the basics – what’s your Gyaru story?
Hey Lizzie!! Thanks for reaching out to me! So my Gyaru story is pretty simple. I got into Visual Kei around 2010, and shortly after saw some photos of Gyaru when looking for VKei photos! I was instantly hooked on the Manba/Yamanba style. Over the years I’ve drifted between JFashion styles, but now I stick primarily with Gyaru and even run a Gyarusa!
I think one of the first times I saw you, you were doing Yamanba, and you had a Stitch plushie on your wig! It was incredibly creative and really “out there” even for Gyaru standards. How did you deal with going out in public?
So with that look I was going to an anime convention, and that is the easiest place to wear Gyaru!! You’re surrounded by people in costumes, so you don’t seem that weird at all! I also find anime conventions to be the place where everyone wants photos and wants to ask about your style!
When you’re not going to a convention or nerdy event, it can be really difficult to find the courage to wear full Gyaru. I’ve found that doing it alone is the hardest. Even with other friends, it is so much easier! That way when people stare or ask for photos, you’re not facing that alone. I don’t even do full manba if I’m going somewhere alone.
Yes I totally agree – when I first started doing agejo I wore it when I was at home and then at an anime convention first before I started doing it in public on my own. So let’s go into a little bit more detail there – what would you say would be your tips for wearing Gyaru, or any extreme styles, in public?
Do it with confidence!! If you feel amazing in your outfit, then let that confidence overflow and rock it as you walk!
You will probably have to decide how you’re going to handle strangers. Are you going to confront, or avoid? For me, as a woman in public, I tend to avoid. If a stranger is trying to take photos, I turn my back to them. Unless they ask for a photo, I try to avoid letting them see me.
But though that happens often, I’ve never had anyone say something mean in person. Never! Karens are going to give dirty looks of course. But actually, I have so many young girls, teenage girls, and super elderly women stop me and compliment me! Especially the older women, they want to tell you the wild things they did in their youth. It is sweet!
So to summarize. Just be you, have fun, but be safe!
Aah I love that, especially because Gyaru is all about having fun with your style! Speaking of fun… I saw that you’ve started doing lots of videos on TikTok lately – how’re you finding that?
There are a lot of pros and a lot of cons! -laugh-
- A fun creative outlet!
- I’m using all these outfits I was “saving” for something special, but have never worn
- I have something fun and creative to look forward to during this stressful time
- It’s easy to go “viral” and have that attention you want to receive!!
- The average age of users is like under 15
- Hate is so easy to sling around
- People can steal your videos to make their own videos about you
And why do you think there’s more hate on TikTok than there is for other social platforms like Instagram?
About 25% of comments I receive are hateful, mean, rude, or trying to call me out for being racist. I only get maybe 5 comments on an average Instagram post. On my TikTok videos I get 20-50 comments per video.
I believe one huge factor is how many people are stuck home right now. People are bored and stressed, and taking it out online is easy. And TikTok makes it easy to find new accounts via the “For You” page. I come up under a lot of different tags, so I’m pretty easy to find.
The other thing is that my looks are very polarizing. People either adore them or hate them. I think these more extreme Gyaru styles are very “weird” to the normal person, and they feel the need to speak up and tell you that they hate your look.
So how do you deal with the hate comments?
There are 2 things I do.
- Educate. If the comment is rude but generally harmless, and I have the mental capacity for it, I try to explain Gyaru and the aesthetic. Most comments are meant from a place of misunderstanding and confusion. Quite often, when I explain Gyaru, the original commenter says thank you and understands better!
- Block. If the comment is very mean or one I do not feel like handling, I block the commenter. That also deletes their comments on my posts.
Always remember, you do not need to endure the hate. Some of my videos got more hate than others. When that happened, I turned the settings to friends only. That way the video still exists but is not open to the public. And if you’re not comfortable with that either, you can make your account private and only invite friends to follow!
My biggest advice applies to all social media: figure out whose opinion you trust, and whose you don’t. There is a saying, “Don’t accept criticism from someone you would not go to for advice.” If the person criticizing is not someone whose opinion you trust, why should you trust their criticism? Friends and fellow gals may offer criticism to help you. But strangers on the internet? Probably not.
The last piece of advice is: Laugh!!!! I get the most ridiculous comments!! “You suck at makeup,” from a girl whose bio says she is 10 years old!!! You have to laugh, delete and/or block, and move on. Keep your head up!
Oh my gosh I love that – and I love how you see the positive side to it all and try to educate others about Gyaru to help create more of an understanding for the fashion. What was the worst comment you received about your Gyaru look?
I get a lot of comments about blackface. Those are the worst to me because generally when I try to explain the differences between blackface and Gyaru, they don’t want to listen. They’re stuck in ignorance and ignore what I have to say.
Yes people do comment a lot about blackface before really seeing what the old style is actually about – how it was a rebellion against traditional Japanese beauty standards! If you had known that you were going to receive hate for wearing such an extreme style, would you still do it? Would you let that stop you?
Ohh that’s hard. Honestly, I’m a pretty soft baby. -laugh- I think if I had known beforehand how much hate I would get, I would not have started TikTok or posting makeup looks there. It would be too nerve wracking!! But since I now love this style so much, it is easier to ignore the hate in favour of wearing what I love!
Okay that’s perfect! Thank you so much Kelsey for such a wonderful insight on how to deal with online hate. One quick question before we go – what’s your favourite dessert?
Oooh no a real hard one!! Hm. I’m a big fan of frozen yogurts! Especially salted caramel!
That’s all for today! Have you ever had to deal with online hate? How did you handle it?