Thought of this topic this morning while making my hobo coffee. Had to write write write as soon as possible. One controversial post after another? Zoinks.
I have obviously not participated in the lolita community in America for several reasons (1. FB 2. Constant globetrekking 3. Not inclined after reading some nasties online.) There are only two “lolita friends” I have, both in Europe, also being globetrekking wonderwomen. But there is another reason I am starting to get frustrated participating in just the online events, especially when the topic goes into Japanese people– White guilt.
In general, statements like these:
a) “What is so cute about old Japanese women sewing Baby clothes? Huh? How is this remotely acceptable? They had BETTER be paid super well!!!”
b) “I think brands should be friendlier towards English customers since English is so common due to like, colonization.”
c) “Wa-lolita?! That be wasis!!! It is cultural appreciation! It is inappropriate! You have to be SENSITIVE!”
Statements like these have stuck in my head, and although I remember them precisely, hopefully these are general enough not to single anyone out, since that is honestly NOT my intention. The internet remembers too much as it is, I certainly do not want to smear a single person even if they blow my mind with their PC logic.
a) Yes, it is VERY cute that Baby has a close relationship with a countryside village, bringing in income to their town. The obaa-chans (featured in this NHK documentary) sewing Baby’s clothes are not doing back-breaking labor like many farmer obaa-chans, although those are perfectly content, healthy, and happy with their lifestyles too. Research has shown that learning, art, and games are good for seniors in preventing serious mental conditions like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. A job that lets you enjoy a hobby, needs your expertise, and is always giving you a healthy challenge?! I think that is a very happy and healthy job indeed, even ideal!!! Who here has a job they can say the same about? It is also providing customers with genuine Japanese goods, something not every brand does.
b) Colo–WHAT?!?! Colonization? I don’t even…. Japan has an amazingly distinct history (like many distinct things about it), a proud and wonderful history, in which its people miraculously stayed isolated and homogenous. But throughout its history, they obviously had their own bloodshed and conflict. Just like the rest of the world. During the extremely limited initial Dutch trade in the 17th-18th century, foreigners were kept in line. Yet is anyone aware of the foreigners who started international harmony between Japan and Europeans? Such as St. Nicholas of Japan (first saint of the Japanese Orthodox Church), who learned the language and won the hearts of locals and even the emperor, softening diplomatic relations, and even being protected by Japanese soldiers during the Russo-Japanese war?
c) I think I can understand my husband’s Python code more than I can understand what “culture appreciation” is and what makes it bad. Wa-Lolita insensitive? Do I have to ask an Asian’s permission to wear it? Also, bringing up bleeding heart ramblings in regards to lack of… Sub-Saharan African Lolita? What. Just… what. Being more tolerant of jsk-without-a-blouse in the middle of July would be a great first step to Sub-Saharan African Lolita. Secondly, if Sub-Saharan African Lolita wanted to exist, it would. But you cannot show mindless disdain for people of European heritage doing Wa-Lolita, hating any non-traditional lolita, and then go asking for Sub-Saharan African Lolita. Come on. I cannot imagine the cat-butt-face of a PC fairy upon seeing a white girl in Sub-Saharan African Lolita. Whatever the heck that is. Lastly, that non existent genre is a mouthful to type!
Tell me, do these multi-culti gems exist in Europe? I know for certain I have never encountered this in Japan during my time there. For a bit of background, since I know American girls (or girls in general) like to take things at emotional value, so here is my own bleeding heart story.
In all of my 11 years of US public school, I had to put up with this strange unspoken concept of “white guilt.” I wish I could go back to my early English-retarded elementary school days and say, “Pardon me, but I am from a little country called Russia. In case you do not know, my ancestors had nothing to do with the Southern slave-keeping. My ancestors were, for a long period of history, slaves themselves. MY ethnic group IS the origin of the world ‘slave’ yet MY countrymen are the token white villains in every Hollywood movie (along with Italians), because obviously, blacks and others are NEVER the perpetrators of crime. I have spent fewer years in this country than most of the Mexicans in this room! I am an immigrant too!” But alas, I knew so little about American Christmas from American public school that I did not realize it was celebrated on the 25th until I was 10, since most of December was dedicated to Kwanza, Hanukkah, and Ramadan. I was the token good-grade white girl in a table group of black classmates who naturally, as children do, bullied the different one. Yet of course I was never moved, since my pale skin was needed to sprinkle diversity in a sightly, post-racial manner.
In high school, besides being the only girl in politics club, I was known as the special-snowflake who questioned the textbook. While AP teachers and the rest of these classmates went into relevant discussion that were more than petty half-hearted commentary, the teachers in traditional classes asked me to leave the room for questioning the tone and grooming of the curriculum. In those 11 years, no one thought Russian culture was “cool” or “hip”. No one taught me about German culture, Scandinavian culture, Italian culture, nothing. Ever. Except an voluntary AP Euro course in 12th grade. All this taught me that many American people do not actually WANT to be friends with people of different cultures or hearing all sides. The objective was to save your skin from being called a you-know-what. Especially in young women, and sadly this leaks into attitudes in the lolita community.
They take it upon themselves to be the pinnacles of –here comes the dreaded “r” word– anti-racism. Anti-racism my patooty! No one in any cultures needs you to gush over how good their skin looks with pastel sweet lolita. If equality really is the case, which in treatment of citizens very well should be, no one needs you to be the politically correct referee to come and save the day. From what? From the evils of blacks bleaching their own skin to their own taste? From the evils of kimono sleeves in lolita on a white girl? From obaa-chan sewing? Why do American girls take it upon themselves to assert their own ideas of hyper-sensitivity when they may well benefit from some history (and a joke) instead?
Friends from different countries, especially Japan, are tough cookies to crack. One way to go about it is to make fun of each other, choke on ameboshi, gain 10 kilo from cheeseburgers, look like a stuffed sausage in an op, stumble over your Engrish, all get nakey in an onsen and finish off with underage drinking in a karaoke room.
Because that is how we make friends. Anywhere.
Thank you so much for reading.