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THE BEGINNINGS OF KAWAII

No, no, you have no idea. It actually IS the beginning of the whole so-called “kawaii culture”. And it started because girls started using mechanical pencils, which provided fine handwriting. After being banished (more precisely, during the 80s), this kind of writing started being used in products like magazines and make-up. And, during this time, icons we usually associate with the whole kawaii industry (like the characters from Sanrio) came to life too.

And what many people don’t realize is that this subculture was born as a way for young girls to express themselves in their own way. And it was also used as something against the adult life and the traditional culture, often seen as dull and boring and oppressive. By embracing cuteness, these young girls (and adult women, after a while) were showing non-conformation with the current standards.

So yep. Kawaii is important, and it all started with cute, simple handwritting a few hearts and cat faces in some girls’ school notebooks <3


!!!!!

NO OK THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!

This is also how the kawaii fashions started! Girls began dressing in cute and off beat styles for themsleves, they were criticized by adult figures telling them “you’ll never find a husband if you dress that way!” to which they began to reply “Good!”

All the japanese subcultures and fashions that evolved out of this became a rebellion to tradition and the starch gender roles and expectations the adults were forcing on the younger generations. As early as the 70s and still to this day you’ll see an emphasis on child-like fashion and themes in more kawaii styles and the dismissal of the male gaze with styles like lolita (a lot of western people assume lolita is somehow sexual due to the name of the fashion, but ask any japanese lolita and they will tell you that men hate the style and find it unattractive which is sometimes a large reason they gravitate towards the style - they can express their femininity and individuality while remaining independent and without the pressure to appeal to men)

Its so so so important to understand the hyper cute and ‘odd’ fashions of Japanese girls carry such a huge message of feminism and reclaiming of their own lives.   

so are you telling me that Japan’s punk phase was really the kawaii phase

by the way

jumpingjacktrash:

harpguy:

jumpingjacktrash:

harpguy:

jumpingjacktrash:

harpguy:

jumpingjacktrash:

concerning folkloric monsters and fantasy creatures…

i feel like a lot of tumblrites assume ‘generic’ fantasy creatures like dragons and unicorns are not culturally or historically or religiously significant. but in european christian culture, dragons had a strong religious significance as a symbol of greed and violence, and saints doing combat with them functioned as a metaphor for the internal struggle against evil. unicorns were symbolic of innocence, and the old story of maidens luring unicorns from the woods so men could capture them is an actually quite subversive narrative of how young women were used by their society.

look back far enough in any fantasy creature’s history and you’ll find a wealth of history and symbolism. this does not mean you should stop writing about them. it means your writing will improve if you study the origins of the folklore!

Dragons are generally more than a symbol of greed and violence - most medieval texts treat them as an incarnation of the devil himself, while snakes are the symbol of greed and violence!

i get the impression snakes were more associated with sneakiness and sexual predatory behavior. but yes, dragon-as-the-devil is definitely a common symbolism.

i’m not an expert, so i admit my condensed version up there is just what i’ve picked up from unguided reading. i haven’t got a degree or anything. :D

Depends on your author - they’re symbolic of most devil-related behaviours, varying between authors and types of snake.

I think dragons become more general symbols later, but I don’t actually know (I’m a classicist not a proper historian). In ~13th century stuff they seem to be incarnations of the devil fairly consistently though.

I also am no expert, but I have a deep love of medieval bestiaries and read far too many of them.

ooh ooh can we talk about fairies

and how fucking terrifying they originally were

(i don’t actually have the attention span to talk about it rn, i just want to watch other people talk about it :D)

*waves arms and shouts incoherently about mythical creatures for hours on end*

I fucking love fairies :D the problem is the fact that nobody has a fucking clue where they come from. I mean, if you look at the English euphemistic use of “little people” to describe fairies, and the stories about how they’re the little shadowy people that live in dark corners, driven there by invaders, what you have as an origin is probably the Welsh…

But then if you look back a bit, the etymology probably points to some variant on the latin fata, making them a sort of guardian spirit. That doesn’t fit with the fun stories about them though, so I’m a little suspicious of that one. The explanation I like most is that they’re Norse in origin - the standard Germanic fairy creatures have an awful lot in common with Norse elves, which are fucking terrifying. they’re tall and spindly and live in caves and will sneak out at night to steal your children and frighten your cows into not giving milk. And then of course there’s the weird fuzzy lack of distinction between dark elves and dwarves, but that’s reasonably irrelevant…

The fear of iron might be connected to the interpretation of stone arrowheads as being fairy weapons, and the fact that most of the people invading Britain had iron weapons when the locals hadn’t developed ironworking yet, but I’m not actualy sure on that. Needs more thought.

But yes. Fairies. How do you get to tinkerbell from “surround your house with iron so that the fairies don’t sneak in and steal your baby”?? I wish I knew more about the later stuff, I think Shakespeare was probably responsible for a lot of the sanitising, but I don’t actually know. 

And then of course there’s the fact that they live in burial mounds in most older British traditions… They’re a race of tiny people, sometimes even tiny hairy people with horns, that live in tombs and steal children. That shit is scary, and I wish more writers would play with it in interesting ways. Hell, tuberculosis used to be blamed on the fairies forcing young people to go out and party in the woods at night, causing them to die of exhaustion and the sniffles. They live in tombs, they steal your babies, and they spread disease. Fairies are fucking terrifying, and I love everything about them.

thank you yes that is it exactly

and ‘elfshot’ — those stone arrowheads — the legend is if you get shot with one you get sort of spiritually poisoned and will waste away, so there’s another instance of disease-spreading

fairies represent the terrifying unknown, the senseless wildness of the world outside that safe little circle of firelight. they have a cruel sense of humor. they steal and destroy and drive people mad. they can also be extremely generous, but only on their own strange terms.

i don’t get mad, exactly, when people conceptualize fairies as little sparkly things or pretty ladies in nice dresses. it’s just disappointing. there’s such a wealth of story there, i don’t understand why anyone would want to ignore it.

roachpatrol:

jumpingjacktrash:

the-real-seebs:

gendest:

because a lot of people dont seem to get this:

  • golems are from jewish folklore. dont treat them like a generic fantasy creature, thats appropriative
  • kabbalah is a specifically jewish religious tradition. dont practice it if youre not jewish and dont use kabbalah symbolism as generic occult stuff, thats appropriative
  • for the record if it has hebrew on it and it doesnt have anything to do with judaism its probably appropriative
  • dont wear a magen david if youre not jewish, its used as a symbol for judaism so wearing it if youre a gentile is appropriative
  • while im at it heres a rundown of some terms you should know
  • goy: hebrew and yiddish for non-jewish person, it literally translates as “nation.” the plural form is goyim. goy is not a slur.
  • gentile: english for non-jewish person
  • anti-semitism: you probably know what this means but i just want to point out that the word anti-semitism was NOT coined by jews but by a german anti-semite who wanted a more scientific-sounding alternative to “judenhass,” which literally translates to “jew-hatred” so please shut up about how arabs are also semites. we know.
  • if you’re not jewish you should also avoid using the word “jew” since many jewish people are uncomfortable with it (though i personally am fine with it). use “jewish person” instead if youre a gentile

please reblog this if you’re not jewish, i almost never see gentiles acknowledging cultural appropriation of judaism and anti-semitism on tumblr, even among people who otherwise pay close attention to such issues

Okay, so… Some of this is really good. Some of it is sort of ridiculous.

"Western Culture" as generally understood is dominated by Christian culture which developed out of Jewish culture, and continues to this day to have a number of cultural norms rooted directly in traditional Jewish practice. And that’s why a lot of occultists study Kabbalah, because it is part of the heritage of their traditions. Similarly, that’s where the concept of golems got into our literature from. It’s not “appropriation”; it’s continued inclusion of a part of our cultural heritage in our culture.

And really, that’s why people mostly don’t acknowledge cultural appropriation of Judaism; because a recognizably-Jewish cultural practice is usually there, not because they went looking for something exotic to steal from, but because it was present in their culture already. It’s not as extreme as, say, accusing people of cultural appropriation for celebrating “Christmas” in the US without being Christian, but it’s the same basic category of thing; this is a legitimate part of the culture.

The Star of David is a more interesting question, because that’s a symbol which has had other historical uses, but I’d certainly concede that it’s at the very least tacky to wear it. I’m not sure about “cultural appropriation”, though, because simple geometric shapes are a little too generic. I don’t accuse non-Japanese people of cultural appropriation for having a circle. I’m not sure where I’d draw the line, but I’d probably try to find out what someone thought the symbol represented before making accusations.

EDIT: Hang on, someone pointed out:

Are you even aware that Hebrew is an actual language in use for daily activities by real people? Seriously, it is not appropriative for people to do business using their native language, even if it has nothing to do with Judaism. Or for people to learn the language so they can communicate with all the people whose native language is Hebrew. This isn’t like Church Latin, where there’s basically no remaining use outside of a religious context.

every fantasy creature came from someone’s folklore. :/

also, the high school i went to was 30% jewish (just a fluke of demographics, the lower/middle schools are in a largely jewish neighborhood, and most of those kids went on to the associated high school even though it was farther away) and none of those kids EVER used ‘jewish person’ in place of ‘jew’. they would say things like “the jews in the class are going to have a schedule conflict with that because of torah school.” it’s equivalent to ‘muslim’ or ‘christian’.

tumblr’s idea of ‘cultural appropriation’ is clueless and sometimes outright harmful. i don’t think exoticizing judaism is a particularly good idea. it’s foundational to western culture and should be acknowleged as such.

i’m not just talking in a historical sense, either. jewish culture is an essential component of american culture as a whole, and extremely influential on how americans see their country. not only is othering that culture obnoxious, it’s doomed. it’s shaped our national consciousness to an extent that you simply cannot extract the jewish influence from the american experience. and any hint that you might want to try to do so, honestly, smacks of anti-semitism far more than using golems in the same monster book as banshees and kelpies.

i feel like this tumblr trend of calling ‘cultural appropriation’ on what is actually a healthy cultural exchange really needs to stop. it others, it exoticizes, and it ignores the interconnectedness of human cultures. i do not like it, sam i am.

Goddamn I am tired of people harping on about jewish cultural appropriation! It’s bizarre and condescending and counterproductive, to take all the cool shit jews ever came up with and contributed to their countries, and like… stuff it back in a little box and dust your hands off and say ‘now you’re safe!’.

Like with colonized cultures I can understand that there’s a really different dynamic there, but jewish narrative tends to revolve around the thorny issues of assimilation and ostracism. Cutting jews back out of the fabric of the countries they’ve make their homes in is…. honestly, problematic. Jews historically do not have the luxury of isolationism, or some pure, untouched, indigenous culture like that was just theirs before the oppressors showed up. Like, the last time that was a thing we were all trotting around after goats and having hill wars and shit. I am not really big on that. 

Golems do not come from some distant and pure jewtopia, they come from Poland and Prague and Barcelona and Warsaw and New York. Jews are not an isolate people if they’re not being isolated, they are active participants in and partakers of the countries they’re born to. So if golems are hands-off to the gentiles than so too are robots: a great deal of scifi as we know it rests on the works of young jewish americans. Also, superhero comics. Those stem pretty directly from jewish mythology and the jewish-american experience. You want to put caution tape around golems, you gotta take a good hard look at whether or not you get to read any more spiderman. But the ideas were still written down and retold to a larger audience, who added their own perspectives as christians or communists or atheists or muslims, and so on, and so forth. 

Multiculturalism, especially in terms of american lore and media, is okay. You absolutely cannot have a culture in a vacuum, especially not in america, especially not as jewish americans. Sci-fi, fantasy, and modern mysticism draws from an absolutely huge base of peoples that all jammed together and riffed off one another in the course of living in a big multicultural society. How do you put back golems because that’s appropriation but not like, mermaids, or fairies, or hobbits? How do you sort them into neat little respectful boxes labeled ‘look but don’t touch’? You can’t, they’re all mixed up now. And that’s great

Also, you can say ‘the jewish people’ but it’s fine to say ‘jews’ unless someone specifically cares. It’s like ‘blacks’. It’s whether or not you say it with contempt, not whether you use the word at all. 

thepioden:

apiaryirritator:

thatssoproblematic:

pymparticles:

Scientists have discovered the animal kingdom first female penis.

They have also discovered a new way to make me say “Well, goddamn”.

Contrary to popular belief, the presence or absence of certain sex organs isn’t the determining factor when deciding which animal of a species is female and which is male.”

Contrary to popular belief, the presence or absence of certain sex organs isn’t the determining factor when deciding which animal of a species is female and which is male.”

"Contrary to popular belief, the presence or absence of certain sex organs isn’t the determining factor when deciding which animal of a species is female and which is male."

YO CISSEXISTS WHO LIKE SCIENCE SO MUCH. CHECK THIS OUT.

"In fact, biologists don’t use sex chromosomes either

"They actually rely on the size of an animal’s gametes — sperm in males and oocytes in females. As the rule goes, females are the sex that contribute the largest gametes, whereas males are the sex that contribute the smallest gametes and therefore expend the least amount of energy on producing these cells."

The biological definition of ‘sex’, everyone. Your junk contributes approximately fuck all except as a convenient shorthand/in-the-field generalization. 

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