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THE BEGINNINGS OF KAWAII

No, no, you have no idea. It actually IS the beginning of the whole so-called “kawaii culture”. And it started because girls started using mechanical pencils, which provided fine handwriting. After being banished (more precisely, during the 80s), this kind of writing started being used in products like magazines and make-up. And, during this time, icons we usually associate with the whole kawaii industry (like the characters from Sanrio) came to life too.

And what many people don’t realize is that this subculture was born as a way for young girls to express themselves in their own way. And it was also used as something against the adult life and the traditional culture, often seen as dull and boring and oppressive. By embracing cuteness, these young girls (and adult women, after a while) were showing non-conformation with the current standards.

So yep. Kawaii is important, and it all started with cute, simple handwritting a few hearts and cat faces in some girls’ school notebooks <3


!!!!!

NO OK THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!

This is also how the kawaii fashions started! Girls began dressing in cute and off beat styles for themsleves, they were criticized by adult figures telling them “you’ll never find a husband if you dress that way!” to which they began to reply “Good!”

All the japanese subcultures and fashions that evolved out of this became a rebellion to tradition and the starch gender roles and expectations the adults were forcing on the younger generations. As early as the 70s and still to this day you’ll see an emphasis on child-like fashion and themes in more kawaii styles and the dismissal of the male gaze with styles like lolita (a lot of western people assume lolita is somehow sexual due to the name of the fashion, but ask any japanese lolita and they will tell you that men hate the style and find it unattractive which is sometimes a large reason they gravitate towards the style - they can express their femininity and individuality while remaining independent and without the pressure to appeal to men)

Its so so so important to understand the hyper cute and ‘odd’ fashions of Japanese girls carry such a huge message of feminism and reclaiming of their own lives.   

drencrome:

owning-my-truth:

Taylor Swift’s Racism & “Shake It Off” Video

We clearly need to start a hashtag campaign at this point to #stopracistwhitegirls. Between Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Lily Allen and more, the mainstream pop bench is absolutely stacked with racist white girls galore at the moment. But in our 2014 “post racial” America where black people are getting killed every 28 hours by vigilante justice, where Mike Brown’s killer, Darren Wilson, is on paid leave for brutally executing an unarmed black teenager as we speak, and where police brutality against black bodies in Ferguson and across the country is the norm, it’s still so fun and uber cool for white girls to make blackness a costume! You know, since it clearly doesn’t get us killed or anything.

Enter Taylor Swift stage left.

[image description: Taylor Swift in a leopard print jacket with large gold hoop earrings, and cut of jean shorts with a gold chain posturing in front of twerking dancers]

So I’ll admit that I do have a bit of a penchant for bland pop music, and so I have followed Taylor Swift in varying capacities for many years. I understand that her entire image is carefully cultivated to exude innocent, bright eyed and bushy tailed white girl who is always “shocked” when she wins an award. I understand that the reason her image sells is because of the white supremacist patriarchal notion of the “cult of true womanhood,” where moneyed white woman had their femininity defined by 4 traits: piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness. It is in this mold that Taylor Swift has built such a massive following and sold so many millions of albums. Ascribing herself to these narrow values by which white womanhood is exalted and elevated in a way that is only accessible to white female bodies and not to WOC has been Swift’s “in” in the music industry more than anything else over the years.

But in the pop industry there is a constant need for reinvention and to push the boundaries ever further with each succeeding musical effort. Even as Swift has cultivated and carefully molded her image to fit this fairly rigid white supremacist patriarchal construct of white femininity and has made millions doing so, the constant churn of capitalism has made the appeal of her wonder bread white girl image fade with time. She needs some way to “spice up” her act and draw attention to herself along with it. As bell hooks so brilliantly says in her cultural criticism & transformation:

There’s a way in which white culture is perceived as too “wonder bread” right now—not edgy enough, not dangerous enough—let’s get some of those endangered species people to be exotic for us. It’s really simply a more up-scale version of primitivism resurging. When blackness is the sign of transgression that is most desired, it allows whiteness to remain static, to remain conservative, and it’s conservative thrust to go unnoticed.

And so, with this in mind, Swift like so many white girls and boys before her, turns to blackness to find that “exotic” flavor to give her bland image the kick it needs. 

What strikes me about the “Shake It Off” video is just how true to form it is with all of the other racist music videos we’ve seen from white women in the past year alone. “Hard Out Here,” “We Can’t Stop,” “23” and more, white girls have been on a roll with their racism and racialized misogyny and Taylor Swift couldn’t wait to join the party.

[image description: Taylor Swift in a red hooded jacket, holding a boom box and wearing a fitted cap in front of black and Latino break dancers]

In one scene from the video we have Taylor Swift dressed as a b-boy with a fitted cap and all, in a brazen and blatant act of cultural appropriation. We all know that the b-boy tradition comes from black and Latin@ youth who get demonized and criminalized daily and who are not able to breakdance without facing harassment from the police. But Swift, drenched in her white privilege and concomitant myopia has no sense of how insulting it is to slip this on as a fun “costume” for a few seconds in her video, as she can always retreat back into her whiteness unassailed while the black and Latin@ breakdancers in her video cannot.

The most disgusting part of the video, though, came, as usual with the twerking scene. White girls just seem to love to throw in a twerking scene into their videos these days.

[image description: Taylor Swift in a leopard print jacket and gold earrings and chains crawling in between the legs of several twerking dancers and staring up at the butt of a twerking black woman]

This is different from the “Anaconda” video, where black women have agency and control of their sexuality and bodies. Instead, just like her racist white counterparts (namely Miley Cyrus and Lilly Allen), Taylor Swift makes twerking and black female bodies a spectacle before the white gaze. Particularly as she walks between the legs of her twerking dancers and pauses at the black woman in the group and gapes astoundingly at her ass, the white gaze is centralized. In this scene black femininity is clearly exotified and demonized in an animalistic contrast to her conservative white femininity that can gape “shocked” at what she’s witnessing (which black women have literally been doing for centuries). This is white feminism at work, which perpetually ignores crucial intersections of race and gender, and to add insult to injury the scene ends with Swift giggling and looking bashfully at the ground, reifying her innocence and white privilege in the spirit of the cult of true womanhood. These are constructs which black women and other WOC do not have access to due to their race, and which Swift gleefully reinforces with this imagery.

This entire scene is a blatant example of primitivism and misogynoir (racialized antiblack misogyny) in the spirit of the spectacle that people made out of the body of  Saartjie Baartman.

[image description: Caricature cartoon image of Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman, the “Hottentot Venus.” She is scantily clad with a spear, very large buttocks and her large breasts exposed as well with a white Cherubim alighting on her buttocks]

In case you are not aware, Baartman was a Khoikhoi South African woman, who was brought to Europe in 1810 where she was subsequently paraded around  as a freak show with the “exotic” features of her black female body—her butt, breasts and elongated labia— as the main event. Racist caricatures of her body were made, including the famous cartoon above. After her death, her skeleton, preserved genitals and brain were placed on display in Paris’ Musée de l’Homme until 1974. Her remains were not returned to South Africa until 2002 when she was finally reburied near her home town over 200 years after her birth.

In this video, Swift, like her racist white pop counterparts, taps into the racist traditions that we see in the dehumanization of Baartman. This is absolutely unacceptable. Black female bodies are not foreign, exotic, alien lands for your debasement in a cheap pop video for mass consumption. Black women have agency and deserve humanity and respect. Nobody cares if the dancer was “okay” with being in the scene or not, what we care about is the imagery being produced which enshrines white femininity as the standard and strips black women of agency rather than giving homage and due respect to them (as we see in Rihanna’s “Pour It Up” video, Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” video and more which centralize the black female gaze).

 But, if we didn’t know before, we’ve learned in the past year that Swift and all of these other white pop stars are simply shameless. They don’t care. We critique and point out their racism and racialized misogyny and they throw out obtuse comments about how they actually “really love black people” and “have black friends,” you name it, rather than accepting the problematic nature of their work and just apologizing. This is white supremacist thinking in action, as the only emotional universe which matters is that of the white individual in question and not that of the black people who object to the debasement of our bodies and commodification of aspects of our cultures in videos like this. And we see the impact of all of this in the thinking of their fans who myopically follow their stars and don’t realize that they can be fan while still being critical of the actions of their favorite pop stars. It is unacceptable that Swift can shamelessly appropriate from b-boy black and Latin@ culture, parade herself around as a faux-black woman and then exotify and degrade black female bodies for mass consumption in her videos. And it’s so important that we call videos like this out, and demand accountability from artists who put out degrading videos like Taylor Swift just did with “Shake It Off.”  #stopracistwhitegirls2k14

Related Posts:

+ Lily Allen’s Racist “Hard Out Here” video

+ Ke$ha’s Racist “Crazy Kids” video

THANK. YOU. #BOOST.

"Tu pourras te promener où bon te semble sur mon domaine. Mais quand la nuit sera tombée, je t’interdis de sortir du château.” ■ "You can go for a walk anywhere on the estate. But when night falls, I forbid you to go out of the castle."

La Belle et La Bête ■ Beauty and the Beast (2014)

eps-ilon:

The Madonna of the Roses (1903) & Pieta (1876), William Adolphe-Bouguereau  

widgenstain:

thesassylorax:

theunithasasoul:

amazingavengers:

beifag:

k1mkardashian:

girls think having a period sucks but try having to fix your penis discreetly through your pocket 

having the insides of your organs shed and come out through your genitals does not compare to having displaced balls sorry

none of you can do it discreetly anyways

we see you

everyone sees you

(gif by charlesxxerik)

Anonymous: what is gillian flynn's issue with rape victims? i thought she was cool

hotelsongs:

Wait.

I’ve grown quite weary of the spunky heroines, brave rape victims, soul-searching fashionistas that stock so many books.

She’s not picking a fight with survivors. Her “issue” is with the tropes writers use to render their female characters likable, or “strong” in capital-A Acceptable ways. And I think we’re all familiar with writers—often male, never survivors—raping their female characters to make them Interesting, to make them Good, to make them Survivors. It’s the Joss Whedon thing, the Lev Grossman thing, the Game of Thrones (HBO) thing: there’s no faster way for a male writer to tell his audience that a woman is strong but not too strong, strong enough to emotionally weather Terrible Things but not too strong to fight them off. It makes them brave, but in a sexy, victimized, nonthreatening way. They’re touchable because they’ve been touched but it’s not like they’re sluts, not like they liked it. They’re strong, these female characters, strong like the men have been told to write, strong enough to claim sympathy—and indeed they’re inherently sympathetic (and their rapists inherently, easily monstrous), telegraph-sympathetic, moral-absolute sympathetic—but their strength isn’t too much for your average audience member (usually male audience member) to take. They’re not too strong to, say, spoil rape fantasies.

It’s lazy. It’s cheap. It’s hideous. It has nothing whatsoever to do with telling rape survivors’ actual stories. It’s weak writing. And it’s endemic.

To stick within the examples I’ve named: Joss Whedon raped Buffy, violated the bodies of multiple female characters, ended the series with her violating the bodies of women all over the world, would have raped Inara (to save everyone else!) if Firefly had been picked up. (Let’s teach Inara the whore that sex is only permissible when he says it is, let’s curb Buffy’s superhuman power and make her and the audience very sure that she can suffer like all women can.) Lev Grossman has a fox god rape Julia Ogden’s soul out, literally tears her soul from her womb lining, but it’s okay in the long game because he ejaculates divine power into her. Game of Thrones (HBO) wrote Cersei Lannister as softer, more likable—and to prove that she was really not that threatening after all, changed a consensual sex scene to her brother raping her on her son’s bier. (Her brother, Jaime, continues to be portrayed as a complex guy who’s fun to be around.) Similarly, Frank Miller thought Catwoman was too hard to like, maybe, all that slick saucy charm and stealing stuff, so he made her a poor rape victim so we’d know she was a person, really.

I could go on.

It’s seven in the morning and I’m tired.

I’m tired of Joss Whedon (noted geekboy “feminist icon”), of Lev Grossman (NYT’s golden child), of men like this of writers like this of trends like this. I’m tired of going to production after production of Measure for Measure and watching directors choose to throw away scenes of difficult power dialogue for the spectacle of making the play’s powerful central zealous fierce but arguably dislikable female character gain vulnerability when she’s thrown sobbing over a desk. I’m tired of watching cable shows and biting my fist and I’m tired of fucking thanking the shows that don’t rape my girls.

And yes, that means I’m tired of female characters whose bravery and vulnerability and narrative interest is contingent on their suffering. And tired of what they represent. Not tired of deeply thought, respectfully written, complex fictional characters with equally deeply thought, carefully and respectfully written rape storylines or histories—in whose number I count Gillian Flynn’s own Camille Preaker (her own admitted favorite character, a rape victim and occasionally brave in complicated ways). But this has nothing to do with them—with victims—has it? That’s the problem. Those stories, of likable palatable not-too-tough tough girls that break easy for their usually-male creators and their male-eyed audience, don’t care about victims. They’re not about her. They’re written for someone else.

by

Kenan Malik - Enough Hate for Everyone: Muslims and Jews Are Targets of Bigotry in Europe

(via fuckyeahsoftzionism)

But Jews are not the only object of this free-floating rage. The Pew survey showed not just that anti-Semitism had increased throughout Europe, but also that the “publics that view Jews unfavorably also tend to see Muslims in a negative light.” The fusion of xenophobia, conspiracy theory, identity politics and anti-politics that has nurtured the new anti-Semitism has also cultivated hostility to Muslims. The Pew report found that in every country surveyed, “Opinions about Muslims in almost all of these countries are considerably more negative than are views of Jews.”

Against this background, what is troubling is that many who rightly challenge anti-Semitism do so in a way that fuels anti-Muslim prejudice. Many commentators talk of anti-Semitism as an almost wholly Muslim problem, and have used the growth of anti-Semitism to question the wisdom of allowing Muslim immigration to Europe. Others suggest that Muslim support for Palestine shows that Muslims cannot be truly integrated into Western societies.

Such arguments only entrench further hostility toward “the other,” and so inflame not just anti-Muslim but anti-Jewish sentiment, too. Israel’s action in Gaza should not be a moral shield for complaisance with anti-Semitism in Europe. But neither should anti-Semitism be a moral shield for the justification of anti-Muslim prejudices. Bigots on both sides need to be held to account.

Be suspicious of anyone who sees Muslims at the root of Europe’s current antisemitism. Resist those who would use us as a hammer with which to strike at their enemies – such people are not our friends.

(via saltdragon)

In Britain, Muslims make up 4.6 percent of the population; in France, 7.5 percent. The proportion of people who possessed unfavorable views of Jews in those countries was, respectively, 9 percent and 20 percent. But in Spain, where just 2.3 percent of the population is Muslim, almost half the population was ill disposed toward Jews, a figure that had more than doubled in three years. In Poland, there are just 20,000 Muslims, or about 0.1 percent of the population; more than a third of Poles held anti-Semitic views.

missvoltairine:

videohall:

News Anchor in my area loses it over a Fat Cat that likes to swim.

I feel like watching this just improved the quality of my life significantly.

LLMNS