Lolita Ruined an Entire Generation of Girls

Lolita Ruined an Entire Generation of Girls

Bella Willie, writer

CW: mentions of pedophilia & grooming

In 1955 Vladimir Nabokov published his most famous novel “Lolita.” Lolita is a tale of a young girl, Dolores Haze, being preyed upon by a “sympathetic pedophile” by the name of Humbert. Obviously this novel was met with intense criticism, although Nabokov himself never really cared for the morality of the story. In an interview conducted by Herbert Gold, Nabokov was told “Your sense of the immorality of the relationship between Humbert and Lolita is very strong.” To that Nabokov replied, “I do not give a damn for public morals, in America or elsewhere.” And went on to say that the character Humbert himself is the one who cares for the morality of his relationship with Dolores. 


In 1962 and 1997 “Lolita” was adapted into a movie format, making it much more consumable to a younger audience. Media influences real life. During the 2010’s a blogging website and toxic wasteland “Tumblr” exploded with popularity. We can date many popular styles back to their origin on Tumblr, one of them being the “Nymphette” (also known as Coquette or Doelette) style. The word nymphette is literally defined as “a sexually attractive young girl.” This style has an absurd amount of references to the movie adaptation of “Lolita,” specifically the 1997 film. On its own, taking outfit and style inspiration from Dolores Haze is harmless, but the Nymphette community is absolutely toxic. Many bloggers on the Nymphette corner of Tumblr romanticize the relationship between Dolores and Humbert, even encouraging pedophilic age-gap relationships directly and implied. Many bloggers who just enjoy the style have to clarify in their biography that they do not romanticize the movie, but for other bloggers and consumers Dolores is seen as not only a style icon, but an idol and a character whose life is glorified. 


The influence of Tumblr radiates throughout all other social medias, Tik Tok most prevalently as of late. Girls dress head-to-toe in red gingham and lip sync Dolores Haze quotes in their heart-shaped sunglasses. Their comment sections are often absolutely littered with comments from older men. “Lolita” being adapted to film was one of the biggest mistakes ever made in cinema history. Girls are putting themselves in danger for male validation, and it’s not their fault. Film has a way of putting a romantic filter over a disgusting story. Casting and framing Humbert as a conventionally attractive poet of a man is disgusting. Framing “Lolita” as just a sad love story (or a love story whatsoever) is disgusting. Impressionable girls viewing this movie are seeing a pretty young girl taken on an adventure with an attractive older man, a trope as old as time. The director of the 1997 adaptation, Adrian Lyne, is known for her films about scandalous relationships. It’s absolutely repulsive that a woman especially would treat this movie just like any of her other films. Marketing a piece of media like this towards a group of undeveloped, insecure people makes for detrimental consequences. Nabokov created an incredible piece of literature which was adapted into a disgusting excuse for a movie that will continue to have an insane and unhealthy grip on young girls.