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sevenheadstenhorns-deactivated2 sent: are the people running this blog japanese? if not, i would like to have a word with you...

okay i’m gonna answer this one publicly bc we have gotten a couple asks about this, esp when that post about the word “kawaii” being appropriative was going around, and we’ve answered it before but it was a while ago so we might as well have a refresher

arii is white, i’m filipino, chinese, and white (so i’ve got hefty light-skinned privilege). just a disclaimer before i start i guess

anyway

we have been approached about the use of the word “kawaii” in the blog url being appropriative, and i did read sad-queer’s post (i think it was sad-queer???? if i’m wrong please correct me) and i agree that the way kawaii is often used is racist and fetishizing. it’s the reason we’ve stopped signing off asks with the phrase “stay kawaii” and the reason i no longer write the phrase on the notes that go w the etsy envelopes, etc.

we didn’t intend for the “kawaii” in the url to refer to the actual word meaning cute, but rather to the pop culture aesthetics of kawaii style, which includes a lot of the motifs that pop up a lot in our graphics (pastel colors, bows and ribbons, cute animals, pixel art, etc.) kawaii style, like lolita and visual kei, are heavily western-influenced pop culture movements that don’t have the cultural weight or significance that other aspects of japanese culture have

like, if we were posting pictures of geishas with subversive text overlaid??? yeah that would be gross and racist and appropriative

if we were posting pictures of the stereotypical motif of a ~*~japanese schoolgirl~*~ with subversive text overlaid? yeah that would be gross and racist and fetishizing

and i DO think japanese culture is disproportionately fetishized and appropriated, esp on tumblr, and i do think that the random insertion of the word “kawaii” into sentences for the sake of humor or seeming “cute” is part of that

but kawaii STYLE, which is the context in which we use the word, is along the same lines as visual kei/creepy cute/lolita in that it really doesn’t have the weight required to call something appropriation, esp considering that the things that compose kawaii style are all neutral, universal motifs - again, pastels, ribbons, cute animals

none of these things are solely japanese items or aesthetics, they just have been concentrated and given a specific name there

but again, i’m not japanese and neither is arii. we’ve gotten several supportive messages about this from japanese followers but those followers don’t speak for everybody either

if i’ve fucked up i would really appreciate having a discussion about it but this is where we’ve been coming from thus far

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  1. senticolis said: yeah usually sprinkling japanese words in text bothers me a lot but this is ok with me! referencing the aesthetic is very different than picking phrases to drop as if my language is some cutesy shit you can just take what you feel like