cirthithil says:
yo, i saw your tumblr/twitter posts about the "hello kitty" video not being cultural appropriation. the point isn't if the singer has seen anime before or not. while the lyrics really don't have anything to do with japanese pop culture itself, she really reduced it into "kawaii", and she used women of color as simple props in the background. that's cultural appropriation.


the anime part was a joke and i was being sarcastic but other than that this is what i don’t understand (and if you could clarify it for me i would appreciate it!):

i would like to mention that i am not arguing that the video or song is good or not. i don’t think it’s good and i do think that it’s her way of trying to market herself to a japanese population (and thus, possibly, “selling out”) but i do not see how this is entirely cultural appropriation.

the “kawaii” phenomenon has been a thing for a long time now and was originally introduced by western culture to japan, who then interpreted western culture as their own, which produced the kawaii phenomenon. this is cultural exchange. i’m not going to debate the ethics of whether japan should have or shouldn’t have opened up their metaphorical trading gates to the rest of the world, but it happened and thus, somewhat indirectly, caused the kawaii phenomenon that is a part of japanese subculture, which is now very popular all over the world.

the kawaii phenomenon IS called kawaii. at least from my experience in japan, it’s okay to call it that because the japanese themselves also refer to it as that. and she’s not just yelling out random words; what she was saying in japanese was “this is so cute. thanks for being awesome, everyone.” what wouldn’t be okay is if she were to simplify all of japanese culture to just simply “kawaii” which is not true. and many times, songs from other languages incorporate other languages in a similar way? in the video, she obviously looks like a tourist (trying out sushi, walking around what i believe to be harajuku’s takeshita doori a huge tourist hub and fashionable shopping area or a place like takeshita doori since that place is always super crowded, etc.) and doesn’t seem like she’s trying to become a symbol for the culture. she’s wearing fashion that belongs to that type of style. harajuku fashion culture embraces self-expression, and if this is how avril lavigne wants to express herself, then fine?

it’s very different from wearing a religious or ethnic-specific symbol, which could have very strong implications behind them that she herself may not be considered as worthy (? idk if this is the right word that i’m trying to convey, sorry) of wearing or adorning, but the underlying meaning behind harajuku fashion is fashion for fashion’s sake?

although i am not japanese, i can participate in a tea ceremony without being offensive or appropriating the culture. however, i am not doing anything inappropriate with or at the tea ceremony. i am simply appreciating it. i think that avril lavigne is appreciating and participating in the culture, but she isn’t adopting it and claiming it as her own and pretending that this is the only thing about japan.

as for the lyrics, a lot of songs have music videos that don’t match up to what the singer is singing about. while that doesn’t excuse it, she she shouldn’t be held against it either. i think this is an arbitrary fact.

however, i can see how having japanese dancers as props in the background can be considered cultural appropriation. they did look kind of painful.

if i am just not understanding or missing something, please correct me!

regarding the new avril lavigne video

KatPerfidiousness 30 minutes ago

Seriously.. Seriously? I doubt she has seen an actual anime yet. I like the other songs, this is honestly not a favorite it mine.”

yes this is clearly a video that appropriates japanese culture because avril lavigne clearly has never seen an anime before