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I am Japanese and I find the usage of the word “kawaii” by non-Japanese people to be extremely appropriative and damaging. I’ll tell you why:
- It is not just a word for cute. When non-Japanese people say something is “kawaii,” they are not simply saying something is cute….
As an American living in Japan and learning Japanese, I find that all of my Japanese friends have encouraged me to incorporate Japanese terms into my everyday speech so that I can have a better understanding of the language and culture. I understand and do not belittle your feeling that this is appropriation, but not everyone who uses the term is appropriating Japanese culture. Some of us are just trying to understand the culture and learn to speak the language.
Stop telling women that we should find ourselves beautiful and that we should love ourselves when you are standing right there, judging us on how our knees look in short skirts and how prominent our boobs are in a sweater and how much makeup we are or are not wearing.
Instead of us working harder on “love your body” and “find your inner beauty”, the rest of the world should be working harder on “stop telling women their bodies are a shameful place to live but that if they’re strong enough, they will learn to embrace that shame.”
This is my body. It’s not “beautiful”. I don’t “love it”. I don’t have to. I don’t have to have any strong feelings about my body. And whatever feelings I do have are not somehow invalid if they’re not glowing reviews.
—Elyse Mofo, “Don’t Tell Me to Love My Body” (via amanda-gayfried)