Light Pink Pointer

10/2/22- Why I Love Kawaii

So... October. It has FINALLY ARRIVED. Idk why but I feel like I was holding my breath for this month to finally come, even tho I mostly got a lot of what I had planned to do for Halloween out of the way already lmfao. All I have is a costume party to go to in the mid of Oct and then I'm home free to watch as many horror movies as I want! And possibly rot my teeth on like so much caramel... ugh

Anyways, aside from party rocking and spending money like there's no tomorrow, I've also been just watching YT vids at work as per usual and a fave youtuber of mine released a vid that was definitely my niche. Like specifically made for me!

And it got me thinking... why is it that-- despite the criticisms of hyperfemininity-- I love this kawaii lifestyle so much? What is so appealing about dressing up in pink and pastels and standing out amongst a crowd that is so fulfilling to me? Mina Le made some good points in her video about the discourse surrounding bimbos, the rise of the femininity aesthetic and all that. I kinda want to add my 2 cents since this vid is great but also wanna add some points from someone who's kinda been in the feminine and girly side of things for a while now.

First off-- the critcisms. Great, valid, of course. In a world enveloped by late stage capitalism, an aesthetic that boasts Givenchy bags and 10,000 lbs worth of lip gloss isn't exactly a progressive one right? That's my criticism of bimboism specifically just because that's kind of a... western lifestyle that popped up in the early 2000's and ofc saw (is seeing? are teens still y2k-ing it up out there or has that already gone out of style?) a resurgence recently. And of course, that's an understandable thing. Like Mina said in her vid, 2020 saw a rise in different nostalgic things coming back to the public eye like Monster High dolls, JNCO jeans, Webkinz and rawr scene emo phasez just because that's when everything went to shit and the slow but inevitable collapse of society as we knew it officially started happening. Even webcore now is a modern branching of the old web (or web1 whatever), ppl are sick of the new web and the way capitalism sinks its nasty lil claws in every facet of our internet lives. Nostalgia rules supreme rn and when you take a peek at the way things are in the world, coupled with the fact that we're just constantly fed a stream of awful horrifying news now more than ever in history... well it's no wonder everyone wants to escape somehow.

Still, can kawaii and girly aesthetics actually be progressive at all? I wanted to highlight bimbocore specifically bc I wanted to separate it, not only because of its different origins (y2k was obviously capitalist-fueled and a reaction to femininity in a post-9/11 world which is different from kawaii origins in Japan) but also because western vs eastern attitudes toward femininity in general are like... 2 different galaxies. Duh.

If anyone reading this knows, Japanese ppl are definitely hostile towards women just as we USAmericans are, just differently. Kinda. All of these patriarchal attitudes are now a result of centuries of imperialism sure but there's still a pretty marked difference in the ways that it fully developed on diff sides of the world. Kawaii as we know it today started in 70's Japan by high school girls rebelling against the idea that modern Japanese women should be mature as early as possible and conform to a male-dominated society. Teens... obviously... are gonna rebel against what their elders think. That's just the way the cookie crumbles lmfao. Girls started writing in cutesy bubble letters and drawing lil pictures on their assignments as a lil act of rebellion against the machine that is their society. Here in the west, we don't have as much of a problem expecting girls to mature so they can have kids, I find we're a bit more chill with that than most other countries (esp bc we don't have a population deficit problem) and I find that we have kind of the opposite problem where girls are expected to stay as young and youthful as possible otherwise you're just an old hag who no one wants anymore (yuck). Every country has their own problems with aging, and that's a whole other story for another time but yeah.

Kawaii as I see it today-- now that I'm no longer like cutesy-adjacent but I've actually embraced the lifestyle-- is so much more freeing in terms of culture and expression in ways that most western-originated aesthetics just... aren't. Bimboism and y2k are doomed just bc they happen to be anchored to their capitalistic roots from the start. Like most trends, teens start something cool that boomers eventually take and ruin via commercialism but I can't say that I've heard very noble origins of dressing up like a sex kitten or promoting Playboy. Kawaii as a culture started pretty benevolently and also kind of like the origins of punk-- as a way to "stick it to the man". It just so happened that in England, sticking it to the man involved uniting the working class, dressing in spikes and other clothes that said "stay away" to normies, etc. In Japan, sticking it to the man is being as cutesy, youthful, individualistic and otherwise "useless" to the country as possible (well, back in the 70's and 80's I mean). And if that means sticking 500 barettes in your hair and wearing a Kewpie Doll on a chain to stand out in a society that very much frowns upon that, then so be it.

And now I think it's developed alongside the internet community perfectly. Now more than ever before I see a community that boasts femininity as a strength, boosts uniqueness and gives a voice to some girls in the face of a world that never takes girls or feminine things seriously, ever. I see it as a powerful thing myself, bc there's nothing more badass and punk than walking into a male-dominated space in pink platforms and cute makeup. It's just such a big "fuck you" to the machismo of the world, isn't it? And buying cutesy things also isn't the core of the community either. This is one of the very few communities that I see that actually encourages ppl to slow down, make their own things, and to never take DIY for granted. I see so many seamstresses, lolita car mechanics, jewelry makers, etc just DIYing it up which warms my anti-consumerism heart so much! Don't get me wrong, I love shopping as much as the next gal but when I get to give my money to someone that isn't a giant mega-corp I feel my cold shriveled heart grow one cm. Plus, learning how to make your own things in a consumerist society is fucking punk rock, dont @ me.

It's funny how a giant movement spanning dozens and dozens of sub-styles, several decades and millions of dollars started all from some high school girls in Japan saying "I'm sick of this world, I just want to be a lil kid again!"

Kinda gives some perspective on how, sure, we're just a drop of water in the vastness that is the ocean... but I mean what is the ocean if not millions of little drops?

And honestly just like...personally for me it's also a wonderful and less-lonely way of me getting to experience my childhood on my own terms. The early 00's were filled to the brim with misogyny, as I'm sure we all know. Immigrant parents were not spared even an inch when it came to that, it just seems like all brown parents hate femininity still?? What is up with that, y'all... grow up lmfao

I was totally robbed of pink canopy beds and Barbie dollhouses not just bc my family was poor af but also just bc of the innate hatred for femininity and girliness. It is NOT WEAKNESS!! FUCK! It took me so long to get out of that stupid toxic "not like other girls" mindset just bc the adults who "raised" me were too insecure and brainwashed by their machismo patriarchal society to see past that. It fucking sucks and is yet another corner of my childhood I have to tackle and fix bc it messed me up so bad! Imagine being a girl and just being told that your entire existence isn't wanted just bc you weren't born with a dick. What a fucking scam. I'm not falling for that any more, and being pink and feminine is my own way of rebelling and sticking a middle finger up to all the male chauvanist pigs who think they run things out there. I wear my pink clothes proudly damnit!

So yeah I guess that's all. That's why I love the kawaii and pink community, everyone else be damned. I could've joined the punk community or turned fully to a goth phase but it just isn't me! I'm way too angry and I'm too fueled by spite to walk into a Hot Topic and wear Demonias all the time. To me, kawaii is also an optimistic and realistic hope for the future. I just cannot listen to music by skinny Midwestern emo boys talkin about how much they hate society and how mean their mom is to them. More power to the dark alternative community but I mean like it really is just not my bag. Especially seeing the way that late stage capitalism is seeping into those spaces and fucking everything up like... yikes. I feel like, sure Sanrio is a thing yeah, and everyone was going nuts for Hello Kitty things not too long ago but you will not find any kawaii equivalent of an e-girl anywhere, everyone in the tight-knit lolita and kawaii communities (I mean at least here in the west) seem to all have a good head on their shoulders and promote as little consumerism as possible. Usually when you find ads in kawaii videos it's usually to promo their own stores tbh

In conclusion, I both love the world and hate it too much to be a mopey goth, sorry. Love y'all goths I really do (the real ones not the posers LMFAO) but the fate of the world is not going to rest on the shoulders of a pessimist, I can tell y'all that much.

The dichotomy is kinda like this meme actually