Friday, December 07, 2007

It took me a long time to understand why I disliked the negative commentary concerning Gwen Stefani's harajuku girls, the discussion of racism seemed fundamentally racist, as if the presence of harajuku girls was making a comment about all Japanese people rather than celebrating the strides in fashion made in the style district of Tokyo. It felt to me as if prejudice towards Japanese women already existed and was betrayed by a sudden violent but flippant reaction to some dancers who were not caucasian.

I'm having the same response to the discussion of the recent injured idol trend. One person interviewed commented that the bandage trend made it easier to pick up men and as a result this has been picked up online almost uniformly as an anti-feminist style. Even the feminist blogs have run with this notion despite it clearly being quite sexist, for instance if you interviewed a man on the street in London and he remarked that he wore pinstripe suits because they made him taller and women find taller men more attractive I doubt that he would be labelled as sexist. It's the idea that this is linked to bondage, that styles linked to those things are a little dubious, that women wear clothes that men like that's being responded to. This is all mixed in with the idea of exoticism, of men exoticising women of different racial backgrounds to themselves but to make that link unconsciously and carry it across the Internet in response to a style of clothing, no matter how weird, is both racist and sexist. It seems important to remember that people who really think about their clothing do so with the primary intention of looking better from the perspective of other people. If the motivation is linked to your sexuality it's not surprising and I rarely hear an argument that tackles this basic idea in a practical sense.

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