They're an often reoccurring phenomenon whenever young women are present in large groups, especially when those groups are in any way related to the way one looks. Your worth is measured by how much your outfits cost, how well you dress, how much you weigh and how well you fit the current standard of beauty. There's no denying it, we all resort to judging now and then. Even if it's just inside our head, thinking "why is she wearing that" or "why won't she get that nose fixed". It's so easy to get carried away on something that requires little more of you than the ability to follow guidelines and look pretty. If you're not careful, it stops being an element in your life which brings you happiness and self-contentment, but instead, becomes a source of stress, dissatisfaction, hurt feelings and obsession to achieve elusive perfection.
Let's face it, a surprisingly large percentage of Lolitas were bullied at school, or at least weren't among the popular kids. In the school environment, often, they were the runts, the freaks and the outcasts. Then, suddenly the opportunity to be a part of the "in-group" presents itself, and backstabbing, petty gossip and "more-brand-than-you" or "prettier than you" -attitude seems to be rewarded just like in high school (etc)where the girls with the most expensive clothes, best hair, skin and teeth, not to mention shallow attitude, were the ones to be.
Weren't these the exact people no one really wants to be in the end? These mockeries of human beings with nothing more to aspire for than the next print by such and such brand, to fill some emotional void of being accepted and admired? And yet, the secrets-community thrives and prospers, and "e-fame" is so coveted it becomes a virtue all on its own. I don't know about you, but I'd say we do a pretty crappy job at not making fashion personal.
Here in Finland, the situation isn't as bad as it could be. There are a lot of us in relation to how small a nation this is, but generally newcomers that take advice and act like any decent human being are quickly accepted as part of the community. Everybody pretty much knows everybody at least to some extent, and we tend to try and solve issues openly. And still...the occasional bad-mouthing secret appears in BTB, when some coward decides they have to let some other Lolita know how much they hate her.
I've been a part of this community for a long time, and although the issue of being "ancient" comes up sometimes, I try not to make a big deal out of it, since it really isn't. At the end of the day, these are just clothes, made of fabric, to cover our bodies with. I've been dressing a bit funny all my life - what's so unique about Lolita?