Two funny things
1. She has game. Like A LOT!!!
2. In the show he was literally the technology expert…
I cannot stress this enough, it’s the only requirement to be my friend.
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.
So I watched this music video, and this is in fact completely untrue. There are many scenes in which black/brown girls are casted.
One could conceivably argue that any white star who features twerking in a music video is automatically being exploitative.
However, that was not my perception of this video in particular. It actually appeared to me the director took pains to portray a variety of dance styles (ballet, interpretive dance, rhythmic gymnastics, break dancing, twerking, cheerleading, etc.) all as equally valid art forms. Every performing group in the video includes a variety of ethnicities. I think I did actually see a black/brown dancer in the ballet troupe, though it’s difficult to tell. Look in the rear left of this gif:
We don’t know if they cast individual dancers or hired a dance troupe, so if black women are underrepresented that might say more about the dance troupe’s selection practices than the video director’s casting practices.
All the styles of dance, ballet or otherwise are presented in the same fashion — talented professionals being brilliant + Taylor Swift being endearingly incompetent. The black women in the video aren’t portrayed as Taylor’s dancing accessories, but rather as experts in their style:
Moreover, at the end of the video there’s a sequence showing all the different professionals being silly and dancing in a non-choreographed manner, thereby humanizing them, showing they exist outside of their role as dancers in Taylor’s video:
I think if we interpret the twerking scenes in this video as demeaning, that says more about our cultural perception of black women than it does about this particular video’s specific portrayal of black women.
I live in Osaka, Japan and often use the subway to go to work in the morning. One day while I was waiting for the train, I noticed a homeless man standing in the corner of the subway station muttering to himself as people passed by. He was holding out a cup and seemed to be begging for spare change.
An overweight woman passed by the homeless man and I distinctly heard him say, “Pig.”
Wow, this man is insulting people and he still expects them to give him money?
Then a tall businessman went by and the man muttered, “Human.”
Human? I can’t argue with that. Obviously, he was human.
The next day, I arrived early at the subway station and had some time to kill, so I decided to stand close to the homeless man and listen to his strange mutterings. A thin, haggard-looking man passed in front of him and I heard the homeless guy mutter, “Cow.” Cow? The man was much too skinny to be a cow. To me, he resembled a turkey or a chicken. A minute or so later, an obese man went by and the homeless man said, “Potato.” Potato? I was under the impression that he called all fat people “Pig”.
That day at work, I couldn’t stop thinking about the homeless man and his puzzling behavior. I kept trying to find some logic or pattern in what he as muttering. Perhaps he has some kind of psychic ability. In Japan many people believe in reincarnation, so maybe he knows what these people were during a previous life. I observed the man many times and began to think my theory was right. I often heard him calling people things like “Rabbit”, “Onion”, “Sheep”, or “Tomato”.
One day, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to ask him what was going on. As I walked up to him, he looked at me and said, “Bread.” I tossed some money into his cup and asked him if he had some kind of psychic ability. The man smiled and said, “Yes, indeed. It is an ability I obtained many years ago, but it’s not what you might expect. I can’t tell the future or read minds or anything like that.”
“Then what is your ability?” I asked eagerly.
“The ability is merely to know the last thing somebody ate,” he said.
I laughed because I realized he was right. He said, “Bread.” The last thing I had eaten for breakfast that day was toast. I walked away shaking my head. Of all the psychic abilities someone could have, that one must be the most useless.
Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane
One of the most eye-catching artworks at this year’s Burning Man festival was a 55-feet tall sculpture of a woman in a beautifully elegant pose. Truth is Beauty is the second of three sculptures in a series called The Bliss Project by artist Marco Cochrane. Constructed of welded steel rods and balls and covered in stainless steel mesh skin, the massive sculpture had interactive lighting effects that made it constantly change.