According to news outlet China Daily, a recent spat between a train guard and a university student donning “Goth-style” make-up dominated headlines, as she was ordered by the train official to adjust her appearance before boarding the subway train. Chinese social media users were reportedly outraged at this seemingly unfair treatment by the staff member. Apparently, the passenger who had dark red lipstick and heavy purple eyeshadow on her was told she might cause other commuters onboard discomfort with her Asian goth clothing style.
“I was angered and amused at the same time. The make-up looked ordinary to me. They asked me to remove the make-up but there was no water,” she said.
Not thought to be an isolated incident, there have been other similar episodes over recent months on the Guangzhou Metro where passengers were nitpicked over their appearances. This includes at least two other females who were barred from boarding the subway due to their goth or Japanese “Lolita” dresses.
Asian Goth Clothing And Makeup Prompted Outrage
“Your makeup has problems – It’s terrible,” the security guard told the student, who later decided against removing her makeup and continued to board the train at Xiaogang station on the Guangzhou Metro.
“The woman security guard told me the make-up was problematic and too horrifying. It must be removed on the spot,” she later ranted online on the Twitter-like Weibo social media service, adding that this has happened to her before.
“I’m hoping to use this relatively public platform to challenge the authorities: what laws grant you the right to stop me and waste my time? If you can cite one, I am willing to pay for a banner to hang in the subway station that says Goth fashion and heavy make-up are barred from the subway.”
The post has garnered attention since the incident erupted online, with majority of social media users lambasting the official’s unreasonable behaviour.
To display their support in favour of the female passenger over the subway fashion authorities, more than 5,000 Weibo female users have thus responded by sharing selfies donning full Goth make-up with the hashtag #ASelfieForTheGuangzhouMetro.
Admitting that the incident was handled “inappropriately” by the female guard, Guangzhou Metro later addressed the incident with a statement confirming her suspension until further training in response to the widespread negative attention.
“Guangzhou Metro apologises publicly to the victimised passenger and to netizens, and will try to further improve its work and management to provide even better service,” the organization said.
“We apologise for any inconvenience. We have called it to the attention of the relevant departments,” added a subway official in response to the student’s post.
Goth Community In Solidarity
Members of the goth community have confirmed that the security officers have targeted other passengers for having inappropriately thick makeup before, even though public transportation in China clearly has no official dress code.
Not surprisingly, this incident has further prompted varied responses from China’s goth community.
“People are free to put on make-up any way they feel and it’s not for others to judge,” said one user.
Meanwhile, detractors have also criticized participating users of taking advantage of the hashtag and using this opportunity to share their selfies.
“Since you have to take the subway and go to public places, you have to consider the perception of others,” said one user.
“If girls can learn to be pilots and explore the sky and the ocean, why can’t they wear weird dresses, put on messy makeup, and take whatever transport they want?” said another user.
“Girls have the right to choose our own hair, clothing and makeup,” said a fellow user. “We don’t need the permission of strangers.”
Meanwhile, Twitter users are eagerly chiming in with their two cents, as they are reminded of their own blessings not having to deal with such scrutiny.
Sometimes forget that, all things considered, I’m lucky to live in a pretty tolerant country where we can be free to express ourselves through our individual style#aselfiefortheguangzhoumetro pic.twitter.com/ye3V6Gas8S— Xeno-Morpheus (@morpheus_xeno) March 19, 2019