The borderland between feminism and cute/kawaii/feminine/girly culture is one that I’ve thought about for a long time. My blog is one long document of struggle. If you look back through the pages you’ll see literary scholarship parsed with doll announcements. Even some of my Zombuki dolls are feminist revisions of anti-woman myths (Leda and the Swan, the Crane Wife). However I still feel that, were I to blog about, oh say, a new Hello Kitty Re-Ment set, it would somehow throw my legitimacy as a “serious” scholar, educator, artist, and perhaps even feminist into question. I need to get over this.
The amazing feminist lolita blog Parfait Doll does a stunning job of navigating this space. She is clearly a brilliant young woman who absolutely feels that her lolita lifestyle is perfectly in step with her feminism. She is a hero. Here is an excerpt from her spotlight of Subversive Kawaii:
Just because I’m cute and enjoy cute things, doesn’t mean you can walk on me. Just because I like pink and ribbons and glitter, doesn’t mean I’ll stand for being treated like a little girl without opinions of my own. Here’s the thing. When I am angry and have choice words and hand gestures for Paul Ryan on my television set, I am tired of being told to act like a lady and express my anger in a more respectful way. I don’t owe these guys my respect. I am five foot two, I have pink hair and I am wearing a tiara and I do not have to show you respect if I choose not to. I do not have to play nice.
First of all: applause! Second of all, I need to be able to get to this place of comfort with myself. Reading her blog I realize that I’m not there yet, and I need to be. Having (now wanting to have) pink hair, loving Hello Kitty, collecting dolls, and watching children’s movies (or regular sitcoms, but things without violence/drama) has led to a a lot personal criticism: that I am a baby, a child, that I don’t want to grow up, or that I want to be Japanese. I need to tell those people to bite me. Bowing to it, not publishing Hello Kitty next to scholarship, letting it effect me, letting it change how I act or what I do, it all tells those people that they are right, that I should change, that I am the problem instead of them.
I need to work on this, and I am going to, and if you at all get where I’m coming from go subscribe to Parfait Doll, I think you will really enjoy it.