Speaking to Instagram star Yungelita about Lolita, aesthetics and body positivity
Amelia Perrin learns how the body positive social media star is advancing her own brand of feminism
Canadian student Elita’s Instagram page is very much a throwback to when Tumblr was all the rage, and 90s aesthetics were combined with hot pink fur everything and Lolita-esque doe-eyed posing.
It’s mainly compiled of underwear selfies taken from various risqué angles, with equally eye-catching captions (e.g. ‘eyes wet to match the panties’, ‘trying to get daddy to notice me’). This imagery was even incorporated into her Instagram profile name (Angel Fuck).
The photos are raw, often taken with flashes of body parts so you’re not quite sure of their location. Bruises and cuts aren’t hidden or edited: she doesn’t try and “perfect” her body, only her pictures. The mostly ironic captions give a sense of self-awareness to the photographs. This aesthetic ran through the whole of her feed, and I couldn’t help but notice how many disgusting comments she was receiving for it, some of which didn’t even make sense (“you fucking bed and I, my dick is very big”).
What struck me most was how well composed every photo was. Most were self-taken with an iPhone, but they all seemed to be semi-professional. It was like a piece of performance art, and in the wake of Essena O’Neill’s #SocialMediaIsNotRealLife, I thought it would be fun to chat to her. Being no stranger to “seductive” photographs and gross comments from men myself, I asked her a few questions about her online experiences.
When I asked her to tell me as much about herself as possible, she was understandably ellusive. She simply said: “My name is Elita. I take risqué photos. I live in Canada (I never give specifics because people are creepy), and I’m 18+.”
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Clean, composed, provocative, pink, perverted, sparkly and shiny. But it’s always changing.
How and when did you get such a huge following? Why do you think so many people follow you?
A year or so ago I started to gain popularity. More recently it’s been growing rapidly. I think (most) men follow me because they see my photos as erotic and nothing else. But I think girls follow me for inspiration or encouragement. I post the photos I do so girls understand it’s okay to be comfortable with yourself. (Along with it being the only place I can express myself properly).
Your photographs are all very staged and well-taken, often with props. Would you consider your Instagram to be art?
Of course, I see art in everything. I always loved photography and was constantly taking pictures growing up. I’m obsessed with composition and lighting. The “props” in my pics are usually items I’ve been sent to promote. Most people just snap a pic and post it but I don’t see the point in that. I shoot like ten pics for the one I want, sometimes more. I really want to start photographing other girls, but I have little to no friends where I’m from.
Who’s your favourite page or person to follow on Instagram?
I don’t follow many people on Insta. I find most accounts boring. But I always like to see what @ozpurple posts. I’m really into magazines and he does it so well with Purple (@purplefashionmagazine). @Terryrichardson is another fave. I’ve been obsessed with his photos since I was like 14. I’ve fallen in love with @colinchristain’s art also, it’s my dream. I like following artists, photographers and mags.
What’s your opinion on the feminist ‘body positive’ movement?
I’m so for it. Everyone needs to fuck off shaming others. There is nothing shameful about sex, nudity or the female body. You don’t need to look like a model. It’s terribly sad that we’re encouraged from such a young age to hate our bodies if we don’t look like Barbie. It’s physiologically impossible for most women to reach that unrealistic ideal. I love how it’s all changing for younger generations though. You can have curves and boobs without being apologetic for it. I just want girls to feel good about their natural bodies.
What do you do outside of Instagram?
I go to school. I’m studying art and design. Other than that I do homework, get high, take pictures.
Have you ever had people send you presents or things? What’s the weirdest thing someone’s sent you?
Yes. Men ask to send me things but I don’t like giving out my address for obvious reasons. So, they send money. I guess it’s more funny than weird, but I was sent a vibrator that’s controlled by an app on your phone, so you can control it from anywhere in the world.
What’s on your Christmas wish list?
A butterfly knife, latex everything, all the SpongeBob seasons, diamond lingerie, Marilyn Manson.
Has your social media presence had an impact on your relationships? How do you handle explaining it with someone new, for example do you feel hesitant when someone asks in real life to follow you on Instagram?
Honestly I don’t have many relationships in real life. Starting school I was kinda nervous because, yes, I don’t share my Instagram with everyone. Some girls at my school ask for it but I say I don’t have one. In the past, girls didn’t like me for it. I’ve never had a boyfriend either so that wasn’t a problem.
It has helped online relationships though. It’s created many opportunities and I’ve got to meet a lot of friends and artists through Instagram. I love meeting people from online who I can talk openly with because they just get it.
Do you get much hate on social media and if so how do you deal with it?
Yes, I see a lot of negative comments on my photos. I get a lot of hurtful messages too. So much slut-shaming. Oh my God, it’s depressing. Some days it’s hard, and you feel like they are the only ones who are right. But, honestly, you just have to ignore it. I don’t even dignify their insults with a response. I never understand why someone would waste their time writing something just to hurt another person.
Do you have any other social media apart from Instagram?
I use Tumblr (yungangelita.tumblr.com) and Snapchat (yungelita).
Having spoken to her, I understand and empathise with her a lot more than when I was just glancing down her shiny, Playboy-encrusted feed. Next time you think about commenting something hurtful on a girl’s Instagram, I encourage you to think a bit more deeply to think about the picture’s motives.