251mc: Research: Essay ‘Lolita’ by Sarah Kathryn Cleaver

After reading Henry Giroux’s America on edge, chapter ‘Beauty Pageants and the shock of the real’, I wanted to find further reading on nymphet communities and the corruption of innocence. This was quite hard to find due to the nymphet community being very unknown, however I managed to find an essay focusing on modern nymphet communities. The essay ‘Lolita’ by Sarah Kathryn Cleavers analyses everything that I have found out about the nymphet community. She discussed how many have misread the film Lolita, leading to the nymphet community’s infatuation with the character of Lolita. Cleaver adds that Lolita has little dialogue in the book and film and merely responds to what is happening to her, yet she is idolised by young girls. Lolita’s character has become heavily sexualised and has become a fashion icon, visuals from both film versions of Lolita are often replicated in fashion campaigns, films and music videos. The essay goes on to discuss the shocking and disturbing content found on nymphet blogs. Most nymphet blogs have a sugary pastel colour scheme and display images of vintage dresses, stills from Lolita films mixed with violent pornographic images. Cleaver discussed how the content is alarming enough but the fact that these girls have built a community on the tragic story of Lolita is incredibly worrying. Looking through the blogs becomes difficult for an adult because the content is so upsetting, so how can young girls bear to look at such violent and disturbing images? If these images are so easy to access then surely it’s no surprise that young people who are constantly exposed to violent, pornographic or unsuitable images are getting used to seeing them. Constant exposure to unsuitable images can mean young people are taking in these images without understanding that the content of these images are harmful. An interesting point made in Cleaver’s essay was that the nymphet community is sad and tragic. They aim to have a relationship similar to that of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and Humbert, which as Cleaver states is a relationship that is doomed from the start.

From reading Nabokov’s Lolita I do not think that he romanticises Lolita and Humbert’s relationship at all. From the start of the book (which is written from Humbert’s perspective) we see that Humbert’s state of mind is twisted, he is obsessed with young girls and does anything he can to be near them. Humbert is not presented as a good person to a reader he is twisted, selfish and un remorseful. But at the same time I have tried to understand where the nymphet community are coming from. Humbert is in some sense, both a father and ‘lover’ to Lolita, I think it is the idea of being cared for that appeals to a nymphet. From what I understand nymphets are also attracted to the imagery and style of Lolita, the media and modern advertising is obsessed with youth so nymphets are just taking advantage of the idea that their youth and innocence is attractive. I think the nymphet community have just been heavily influenced by what they see in magazine’s/films/advertisements and music videos. People forget that young people are vulnerable and are easily influenced by what they see, youth and innocence is heavily fetishised so young people respond to this by imitating what they see in films, advertising etc.





ESSAY: http://showstudio.com/project/girly/essay_lolita


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