B-Style, or black lifestyle, derives from American Hip Hop culture and has become increasingly popular in Japan. The Japanese show their appreciation for black style by making themselves as black as possible by tanning and they use popular hip hop videos as references to develop their style of dress. As mentioned in the video, they whole point of B-Style is to “not look Japanese”. While their admiration for black people is remarkable and appreciated (because I’m black  so I respect the love) I’m also curious as to how they’ve developed their interpretation of what black style is.  This has sparked my curiosity and I think it fits in well with many of the themes we’ve discussed in class.

What do you guys think of the Japanese interpretation of black style and Hip Hop culture? How do you feel about the perception of what is considered beautiful by those who engage in B-Style? Could it be rebellious to the Japanese standard of beauty? Are they trying to make a bigger statement with B-Style? Do you know of any other examples of this in other cultures/countries?

Lil Kim

Hey Guys! We hope that finals week goes well for everyone. It was mentioned in class on Wednesday that Marc Jacobs once gave Lil Kim a makeover. In fact, he dressed her for court in 2005 case. Apparently, Lil Kim and Marc Jacobs have a friendship that continued throughout her time spend behind bars. It is interesting to see that changes in the pictures that we found when we googled “Lil Kim” and when we googled “Lil Kim Marc Jacobs”. More interesting is the change of her dress. In all of Lil Kim’s pictures with Marc Jacobs, she is stylishly dressed. She still stays true to her brand of sex and sex appeal, but in what some would argue is a more tasteful manner. Moving away from the labels of “slutty” or “whorish”. She seems to show less skin but still manages to sell sex. One columnist for Elle magazine, used this sentence to notate Lil Kim’s transformation:”when she’s wearing her ladylike Marc Jacobs outfits.” When researching this matter, we found that there is no in between opinion for Lil Kim’s fashion, either you love it, hate it, or respect it! We found a blog in which the writer was no only disgusted by Lil Kim’s style but also overtaken by her relationship with Marc Jacobs. (http://thefashionistpost.blogspot.com/2007/03/marc-jacobs-is-dead-at-least-to-me.html) What we found more interesting than the blogger’s opinion was the opinion of one of her commenters: “I believe the reason marc jacobs has lil’ kim as his muse is because not the slutty thing she wears but her fearlessness to style and the risk she takes. Also he likes her music.” The commenter’s post raised a question among us: Could Lil Kim’s true brand be “risk-taker”? Sure she overuses sex, but even overall, her lyrics, her persona, does it all equal up to risk-taker? We are very interested on your thoughts on the matter. We would go as far as saying that Lil Kim’s change of her traditional dress when interacting with her friend, Marc Jacobs is another risk that she has taken. No one expects Lil Kim to every be fully clothed, especially not in a classy and chic dress, like the one pictured above. She does a wonderful job of encompassing the fashion, that is Marc Jacobs, and her personality, personal style, and brand (rather it is Sex or Risk-taking).

 

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Digital Models

Hey everyone,

Here is an article describing exactly what we discussed in class about using digital bodies. The comparison pictures are very interesting!

 

 

The Politics of the Veil

The word hijab comes from the Arabic language meaning “veil” and is used to describe the headscarves that cover parts of the faces of Muslim women. These scarves come in a variety of styles and colors and symbolize both religion and womanhood.

In the 2001 documentary, Beneath the Veil, a British journalist traveled across Afghanistan and highlighted many private salons in which women would beautify themselves by curling their hair or applying make-up. Woman would leave these homes with eyeliner and lipstick on beneath their covering. Even beauty magazines and mirrors had to be hidden or buried in fear that they would be caught. Should this be seen as oppressive? In the readings “The Discourse of the Veil” and “The Veil in Their Minds and On Our Heads” the authors explain how Western society isn’t accepting of the veil and finds it oppressive to women simply because its different from our culture. They also say racism and ignorance play a large role. Would a good example of this be Western civilization’s complete indifference to nuns, who are primarily white, dressing modestly?

Thinking further into this topic of veiling among women in Muslim societies, one can begin to think about other contexts in which veiling of women are prevalent. Veiling is really everywhere such as its use on brides, nuns, during church or praying, among Latin American cultures during funerals and other religious events, and many other contexts. Why is veiling then so harshly stigmatized with regards to Muslim women? We already went through some examples in class, but perhaps the real issue is the segregation of men and women. In all of the previous examples, women are not necessarily being oppressed, but they are donning different attire than the men. Do you think the veil would be such a big deal if say both men and women had to wear it? It’s important to keep in mind that regardless of the type of clothing worn, men will oppress women if they want to. Women are much more free to wear what they wish in America, for example, but face ongoing discrimination and violence because of their gender. For women who choose to wear the veil in the U.S., could the veil really be a form of resistance against Western cultural norms then?

If beauty is a quality of the highest aesthetic and moral feeling and for some entail “aliveness” as the Ngyuen reading of last week suggested, then what ideas about beauty does the Burqa entail and how important is a school focused on beauty in Afghanistan? We discussed these questions in class as well but to further expatiate on these ideas, it is important to view the Burqa not solely as an item of clothing that is independently fashioned for religious purposes but in addition, an item that bears a political charge . The authors of these readings collectively argue that the Burqa represents deprivation, deindividuation, and deficiency, yet numerous women have voiced a clear disagreement with this interpretation. In this piece that is centered on beauty, we see that the women have established themselves as full participants in society even with their Burqa and express their “aliveness” by putting efforts into the production of their beauty. Various examples are given in the article of this situation, which makes one wonder how important beauty is in geopolitics and what political statements does it infer in a society that limits the participation and self expression of females. Is it humane to limit such expression of beauty? And how is beauty translated in this transnational context?

If interested, click here to watch the Beneath the Veil Documentary: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=beneath+the+veil+documentary&oq=Beneath+the+Veil&aq=2&aqi=g10&aql=&gs_sm=c&gs_upl=393415l396763l0l397975l16l15l0l8l8l0l242l1222l0.3.3l6l0

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