We recently shot an interview with PhD Candidate Meg for The University of New South Wales in which she discusses her PhD research subject. Meg is a sociologist whose research consists of visually analysing kawaii subcultures to unpack the meaning behind them, and determine how they relate to power and gender. We will share the video with you when it’s uploaded!
#i hate white people #so much
lemme visually analyze a japanese subculture through my western lens~ sew kawaii
not to mention that wtf is a “kawaii culture” white people stop
PSA FOR WHITE GENDER STUDIES AND SOCIOLOGY ACADEMICS
- don’t think, don’t move, don’t breathe until you’ve read orientalism
- asian cultures are not a blank fantasyland into which you can inject your western bias and bullshit
- for example “bishounen are queer~” shut the fuck up! you’re dumb
- don’t ever fucking equate one asian country (for ex. japan) = entire continent of asia. or the asian diaspora or a part of that diaspora to asians in asia.
- get rid of the word “asian culture” from your vocabulary. that shit doesn’t exist.
my general rants against white people generally doesn’t pertain to my white friends irl and on tumblr but just speaking from my experience, it basically boils down to giving space to, and listening to people traditionally marginalized in academic spaces, i think?
the “good” (i don’t like this qualifier because it moralizes anti-racist struggle but i’m a lazy sheep) white gender studies students i know take ethnic studies classes or women’s studies classes focused on marginalized experiences, go to events hosted by women of color (when they invite white people), read theories produced by people of color and participate in anti-racist work, while simultaneously recognizing their own oppressions (for being a woman, queer, etc) and the need to ally with women of color and global south women.
none of them turn out acting like this “kawaii gender researcher” who orientalizes a false category through a western lens and wraps it up in feminist-sounding linguistic signifiers. had she read orientalism or even mythologies as an undergraduate, she wouldn’t have done this stupid thing.
i’m probably not emphasizing praxis enough but i don’t rant about white gender studies students that call out microaggressive white people and take time to read anti-colonialist theory. this doesn’t make these white people anti-racists nor does it erase their whiteness, but, um, i don’t rant about them.
Dear “Shame all white leftists,”
Thank you for taking the time to judge my academic rigour upon the colour of my skin and a blurb about my research that I didn’t even write. I found this so perplexing, that I decided that your remark needed a response. I’ve copied your other comments above as well for the benefit of my readers. I took the time to look at your blog, but it seems you didn’t try to take a look at mine first.
I understand your call to allow marginalized people in academic spaces speak, but at the same time, please don’t go judging people you haven’t met or read about…By all means, call me out, interrogate my work and critically engage, but how about you try and find out more before you decide to do so. I dislike the label “white gender studies student”…maybe it’s because I’m in Australia, but we don’t categorize professionals by their race here. I’m a bit shocked you are making assumptions about the courses I have taken. You’re right, I can’t erase the colour of my skin, but how about trying to engage with the mind that lies beyond it?
I have the same issues with Asian Studies as you, but more so because it often lacks empirical research to back up its claims…So often the ideas presented aren’t accurate…I’m not sure what makes you think that Sociology and Asian Studies is the same thing? Yes, I’ve read both Mythologies and Orientalism and I use both in my research. You realise that both those authors come from the anglo-centric academic theoretical framework that you seem to take issue with, right? Have you read Barthes’ Empire of Signs? What do you think of that text? I find it problematic.
Are you trying to tell me that the kawaii subcultures are a blank fantasyland? That’s a bit odd given I’m sitting in Harajuku right now, surrounded by participants. There is the Japanese government’s image of “Cool Japan” which I would call an orientalist fantasy for overseas (which is a big issue on its own). That said, I interview people here who participate in the “real” subculture. My data comes directly from the source….My research tries to help give them a voice to compete against those who convey it as an orientalist fetish overseas.
What’s a kawaii gender researcher? Do you mean my topic, or are you referring to my appearance? To me its quite obvious that the subcultures here, particularly Lolita Fashion, are heavily gendered. Even the participants acknowledge this, and my research looks at the issues around subcultures and gender.
I’m not sure why you’ve decided to hate all white people, especially those who are genuinely more towards the left. Maybe you’ve had trouble with your institution and if so, I am sorry to hear this. I’m not here to make you like white people or me, but also I want to say, please don’t judge people you haven’t met…especially based on their skin colour.
What a strange argument, and an excellent response! Sorry to post something so long, but I have to be nosy and add my 2 cents haha. I found this particularly interesting as an academic, because the OP says “had she read orientalism or even mythologies as an undergraduate, she wouldn’t have done this stupid thing” - firstly, it’d be pretty difficult for any humanities doctorate researcher (I can only speak for contemporary Australian institutions however) to not have encountered Said and Barthes, they’re pretty standard. Considering they’re famous in this area of research, assuming she hasn’t read them is kind of patronizing. Secondly, their authors are, like all academics (and like all writers, artists, politicans, people), bound to their own historical, political, and personal contexts, and I find it really problematic whenever somebody says that one single text is a moral or political exemplar.
It’s clear, when you read about this project, that it is appropriately intersectional and multidisciplinary, and fills a gap in academic literature that is crying out to be explored (and by going to the specific location and participants of the subculture, the research will actually fight against the othering you’re assuming it relies on). Once finished, this project will self-consciously constitute a single voice, it won’t erase or negate any other voices.
And those bullet points are ridiculous and condescending. Why would you assume that white professional researchers aren’t aware of these things? The level of social awareness and discussion on Tumblr is great, but often (like everything online) the conversation devolves into misinformed, knee-jerk shouting, and everybody loses.
If you’ve had a bad experience with an academic instutition, then that’s terrible and a huge shame, but making rash, race-based generalisations don’t exactly help (unless you’re being ironic).
Aaaand I’m done. Sorry for the rant, folks! ☆
And thank you everyone for the encouragement and questions! I will be posting responses to some of the questions I have been asked soon!
Sadly it seems Iconographyof has deleted their blog rather than responding! Pity…I hope you find some peace in whatever is happening in your life Iconographyof, and I’m here if you ever want to discuss my work!