Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics


Resisting the Charm of Harajuku Mini

I'm stuck in a tug-of-war between pretty and principle.

Photo courtesy of Jelizen on Flickr

Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Mini collection just hit Target stores last weekend, and two days ago I found myself holding this shirt, intended for my daughter, at the register and having a mild moral crisis.

I am, rather predictably, obsessed with cute things. I've been stanning for Hello Kitty since childhood, and accumulating a sick Tokidoki collection to bequeath to Hugga since before she was born. I was over the moon when Simone Legno began collaborating with Marvel, because then I could get my husband to understand my obsession, and my heart swelled with pride the first time he bought his own Tokidoki Spiderman shirt.

But up until this weekend, I had held to our family boycott of the Harajuku Lovers line, and basically anything that lines Gwen Stefani's pockets. If you need an explanation for why my husband and I have banned the stuff in the first place, see yourself to Sylvie's post or the "Free the Harajuku Girls" posts on Disgrasian. We don't support rich folks who treat ethnic people as "art projects."

Not that it's been easy for me. The cuteness is on par with Tokidoki, and the bags can be found for super cheap at Ross and TJ Maxx. In fact, this past week wasn't the first time I'd found myself in front of a register with an HL bag, but it seemed that, in the past, it had been much easier for me to hand the item to the cashier and say, "I've changed my mind about this one." For the most part, the image of Huz shaking his head at me in disgust and hearing him say, "Out of all the damn bags!" has kept me in line.

But dammit, this shirt was a perfect fit for my daughter, cost a mere $10, and said "Nerd Alert!" on the back! It was so adorable, I truly doubted my ability to resist its charms, and I shamefully threw it in the cart with the rest of the stuff I fully intended to purchase.

I continued to walk around the store, thinking about all the protests I'd envisioned myself participating in with Hugga, all of the community service we still haven't done as a mom-and-daughter team. I became sick with disappointment.

When it was my time up at the register, I handed the shirt to the cashier and said, "I'm sorry, I've changed my mind about this."

 

About The Author

Theresa Celebran Jones

Theresa Celebran Jones was born and raised in Connecticut and has moved cross-country four times. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young daughters. She works full-time as a technical writer and is an MFA dropout. Her only other hobbies are reading, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and listening to hip hop. Clearly she has no social life.

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