A Different Take On Mainstream


So I’m sitting here listening to Japanese rock music, and I’m wondering two things:
1) why do these bands always feel the need to sing half their songs in English? I mean, Japanese is a perfectly good language. Why dilute it with the boring English language? I’m telling you, English has pervaded every culture like like a leech. Like a streak of accidental white paint. Like an annoying stain on your favorite dress. And it won’t. Come. Out. I don’t know, what do you guys think? Can someone please explain this phenomena to me?
2) And two, what in the world am I supposed to say about my clothes? Yes, I am aware that this is a fashion post, but how much am I supposed to wax poetic over the fuzziness of my sweater, and the corduroy-ness of my skirt before all your faces start to dive headfirst into your respective keyboards? (Because you’ve fallen asleep–if you didn’t catch my reference). 
I will say this however–this is a day-to-night outfit–I therefore created it as inspiration for you for those lazy days when you need to go to multiple places, but you really don’t feel like completely switching outfits. Thus, I’ve kept the same top and jewelry, and just switched the shoes, socks, and skirt. And I added a hat. But that takes two seconds. Oh, whatever, more on that when we get to the night bit. 

       Instead I want to talk about cultural appropriation. Now I am a great advocate for learning about other cultures. I have music from all over the world on my iPod–in fact, I’m planning a post on my top 5 global musicians– and I love cooking food from different countries. But when does interest and enthusiasm cross the line into a fetish? I am going to use Korean pop culture as an example, simply because that is the country I am interested in at the moment (before that it was Ireland–don’t worry, still obsessed with Ireland–and its seductively fluffy grass), and also because that is the country that currently seems to be the most culturally appropriated. 
       Now there is a term in Korean pop culture known as ‘Koreaboo’, or the Japanese equivalent–  ‘Weeaboo’. This refers to someone, usually 100% always a foreigner, who is so obsessed with Korean culture, that they practically attempt to become Korean–even though they are faaaaaar from it. How they go about attempting this, I know not. They start using Korean words in their day to day language, like–
Ahem, like this: 
Koreaboo: “OPPA! Can you come here and tell me if my aegyo sal looks normal?”
Koreaboo’s Boyfriend: ” Kate, I don’t know how many times I’ve told you– can you stop calling me that? I don’t even know what that is–what even is an Oppa???”
Koreaboo: “Oh, Oppa, you are so cute!! As if you don’t know what Oppa means”. 
Koreaboo’s Unfortunate Boyfriend: Kate! No! I really don’t know! Just tell me what it means!”
Koreaboo: “Oh, fine– it’s the Korean term for Older Brother–isn’t it cute?? But shouldn’t you already know that? Aren’t you Asian?”
Koreaboo’s Extremely Unfortunate Boyfriend: “Kate?”
Koreaboo: “Hmm?”
Koreaboo’s Extremely Fed Up Boyfriend: “I’M FLIPPING CHINESE”. 
Koreaboo: “Oppa! Huh? Wha–? Where are you going–OPPA!”

Sweater– Forever XII
Skirt– Topshop
Nude Tights– Melas
Socks– H&M
Shoes– Sophie17 
       Okay, Maybe I am exaggerating just a tad, but you get the gist. Said Koreaboo will probably have a hidden stash of imported makeup from Korea hidden in their sock drawer, and they probably know Korean culture better than a Korean. Also, they probably only like to date Koreans. I am just saying, if you find your self nodding your head to any of this, if that guy is your boyfriend, if you just had this argument yesterday– then I’d like you to step away from the laptop for one minute, don’t worry– I’ll still be here– and I want you to take two deep breaths. Then I want you to put your head between your knees, and face the honest reality. What you have is not a mere cultural interest– it is a cultural fetish.   


       Right– I’m interrupting myself for a moment just to comment on the fashion aspect of things. This is my interpretation of the same outfit, except for evening. I actually love this outfit so much that I’ve recreated it multiple times. Like that is my favorite hat EVER. I love the different muted hues to this outfit– the darkened greens, grays and blacks that just make my hair and lips stand out. (In my humble opinion). Also, I love the subtle tones of punk that I sneaked into the outfit–through the subtle choker and lace booties. Because you can never go wrong with a bit of punk. Write that down and hang it up on your fridge. It’s good free wisdom.  
       Anyway– oh my gosh I just love those sparkly tights so much. Sorry. Anyway– Now don’t get me wrong– if you are interested in Korean, or Japanese, or Russian culture– then by all means, wonderful! In my opinion, it is very healthy to learn about, and even get involved with other cultures. However, when that fascination starts to be all you think about– or when you begin to think that a particular culture is superior to other cultures, you have to start asking yourself whether you are not just fetishizing that culture. 
       The reason why this line of thinking is particularly harmful, is because it takes a diverse country filled with so many different people, and outlooks– and dumps them all into one romanticized idea of what their country should be, based off of their entertainment! I mean, what can you get about a culture from Kdramas and Kpop anyway? If I were to make assumptions on Korea based off of their entertainment, then I would assume that (G-d forbid) all the guys there are emotionally unavailable jerks, and everyone walks around in pink hair. Pretty much sounds like Korea, right? NO. Lets use the Korean word for it: ANI! A BIG FAT ANI! Here it is in German: NEIN! Hebrew: LO! Again in English: ABSOLUTELY NOT!     

       Well, that’s pretty much all I have to say. No culture is better or worse than any other. Except for maybe really scary dictatorships. Those are pretty bad. Thus, in conclusion– by all means, appreciate the great qualities found in various cultures, but don’t romanticize them to death that you essentially stereotype them, just the opposite way. Because that is also called being racist. And that is my 
shpiel <—- Yiddish. 

       And now I’mma say once again, that I uberly love this outfit. With the fire of a thousand suns. (10 Duchess points to whoever knows that reference). I just love the little quirks that you can put into an outfit that make it your own. Honestly, I just love how every outfit starts off with a basic shirt/skirt or shirt/pants, and the little accessories we add simply make all the difference. 
Sweater– Forever XII
Skirt– White House Black Market
Shoes– Fergalicious By Fergie
Tights– Target
Socks– Forever XII
Choker– Forever XII
Hat– (Small shop in Jerusalem–brand called Se7en). 
And that is all for today children. If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to go watch my Kdrama now. 😉 
10 Duchess points go to Leta from The Nerdy Me for guessing last week’s literary quote– 
“T” as in “Troll”– from Harry Potter!
I think I should host a giveaway like this. Yah! Okay: How about, the first person to reach 100 Duchess points wins some thing from me. Ok, I now need to work on this. More info to come soon! 
Cynical Duchess
PS– Major thanks to CB for the gorgeous pics! 
Have you ever felt stereotyped, or culturally appropriated? I know I have. 
Leave a comment below!