Anonymous asked: hey why did you say the video hello kitty was racist? i got to see it but i didnt understand a word she said or the subject of the video i was all the time like wtf is this shiiiit so please explain to me why you said that ty and have a nice day♥
(pre-answer caveat: I am a white Irish woman so I’m pretty far removed from this, you maybe you’d be better off asking japanese bloggers, or maybe the good folk over at thisisnotjapan)
Basically, it’s appropriation, consumerisation and it’s another example in a fairly long list of Western pop artists appropriating shit from Japan, and using Japanese women as silent props to add to the aesthetic: Lavigne’s backup dancers are dressed the same, have the same haircut, so they’re kinda only there to be indistinguishable from each other and just… be Japanese? It’s not the first time this has happened, throw your mind back to Gwen Stefani and her Harajuku girls:
And Katy Perry’s trainwreck of a ‘geisha’ performance:
This isn’t limited to pop music, IIRC Evanescence’s Call Me When Your Sober video had a similar troupe of dancers in the background… just because (I’m open to correction on this).
The problem with this is that these women are basically used as props so that white female artists can have a ‘look’ or a style to their music video or performances. They’re exoticised and fetishised for their race, and made into accessories.
Lavigne’s mess of a video is adding to this trend of chopping up Japanese culture into bit-sized consumable pieces, throwing some random Japanese words into the lyrics for good measure. It’s appropriative, and creates a simplistic (and sellable, I guess) Western idea of Japan and Japanese culture. The long and short of it is that this video is basically steeped in privilege. When was the last time a Japanese artist had success in the American/Western charts? Yet Lavigne can make this trainwreck with little to no repercussions beyond people saying it’s shit, and Hello Kitty coming for her ass for copyright. She can bounce back from this, and drop the appropriated Japanese imagery like yesterday’s socks, while Japanese artists using this aesthetic in Japan will probably never break the Western market. This shit only sells when white people are appropriating it and making it into a caricature.
I dunno if that answers your question, anon, but it’s the best I can do in my PJs.