Bela Lugosi may be dead, but his spooky spirit lives on as symbol of protest in China. Social media users in the country are now posting their goth selfies in an act of solidarity with a woman was told to take off her “horrifying” makeup before getting on a train.
The woman, a university student, said she was stopped by a security guard at a subway station in Guangzhou on March 10 and ordered to take off her “heavy” makeup. Photos posted by the woman on China’s largest social network, Weibo, show she had shimmery eyeshadow and dark lipstick on.
“The woman security guard told me the make-up was problematic and too horrifying. It must be removed on the spot,” the student wrote on Weibo, the South China Morning Post reported. “I was angered and amused at the same time,” she told Pear Video, according to the news outlet. “The make-up looked ordinary to me. They asked me to remove the make-up but there was no water.”
Guangzhou Metro apologised on its WeChat account over the weekend and said the security officer had been suspended, according to China Daily. But a nascent hashtag campaign shaming the subway operator and celebrating alternative attire shows few signs of slowing down.
As recently as Wednesday, women were posting photos of themselves in gothic makeup with the hashtag #ASelfieForTheGuangzhouMetro on Weibo. These pictures are—and I can’t stress this enough—so sick. “painted black lipstick and eye shadow,” one woman wrote on the social network, adding that “the Shanghai subway cannot bar me.”
“I remembered going to the exhibition before I dressed up as a witch,” another woman wrote on Weibo on Tuesday. “I was stared at by the children with an excited expression on the subway. I was also called a witch by the children on the road. I will answer them directly. I am the prismatic witch of the month, and they laughed and ran away happily.”
“It will scare the children is an excuse for adults who can’t tolerate dissidents,” she continued. “The children will only feel that they have seen the witch in the subway.”