Friday 18 March 2011
Today I went as the subculture called Kogal or Kogyaru (meaning small/child girl) This is the most obvious and well recognized Japanese sub-culture in western society, the infamous : Japanese school girl.
The one I have been dreading the most. But... SHAZAM, people that were completely oblivious to my project and chosen topic of exploration actually asked me " Hey are you meant to be japanese?" along with further exclamations if "CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTEEEEE" by perfect strangers (morons, if I get called cute one more time) but I definitely preferred the exclamation and coo's of cuteness to the snide and snark remarks of "Oh hey, Bella are you going sell me your panties on the subway" (charming no?)
Kogals have been described as a subculture that oya o nakaseru (made their parents weep) It was most prominent in the 1990's and died down due to the salacious media exposure worldwide linking them to prostitution. Young wrote "bodies which do not conform,bodies which flout the conventions of their culture and go without the appropriate clothes are subversive of the most basic social codes and risk exclusion,scorn or ridicule."( 1995:7)(6)
The fact that the kogal subculture dissipated or evolved away from itself illustrates this point, Were they just too subversive or too "commercial"? I wonder.
All I know is that today my skin was crawling and I felt uncomfortable and to be honest a little dirty and my outfit wasn't even that extreme in terms of sex appeal. Is this my social conditioning coming to the forefront? That i have been so exposed to the stereotype of the fetishized school girl that I repulsed myself or felt sexualized?
Well, it made me ask myself critically WHY should wearing a cute previously innocent school uniform inspired outfit be viewed as an act of devaluating myself and putting myself out there as an object to be observed, judged and fawned over?
The answer: because thats what the media and society have conditioned us to believe.
yuck. I am grossed out my own conditioning, here i was thinking i was open-minded but maybe it was actually just a matter of other people reactions that made me so self-conscious and uncomfortable.
Quentin bell wrote that "our clothes are too much a part of us for most of us to be entirely indifferent to their condition: it is as though the fabric were intended a natural extension of the body, or even of the soul." (1976:19)(6)
Maybe because what i wore and the semiotic value it held is so foreign to how I like myself to be perceived and how i view myself and thus dress myself that got my skin a' crawling. But I don't know. Yesterday was fuzzy and yucky. Especially when i had to go to Woodstock to run an errand and was affronted with a hoard of male specimens. The worst part, I couldn't even counter their verbal attack with a witty rebuttal because of my ten rules. Being nice is hard.
This was taken at the end of my day and I think my facial expression sums it up perfectly.