Harajuku Lovers Perfume Bottles Look Mighty Asian

August 21, 2008

They link to a pretty funny Mad TV spoof video called "Aren't Asians Great?", a parody of "Sweet Escape."

I'm not sure what to say about these bottles. At least they're not completely slanty-eyed?

I guess it's all about context. If I saw them in Asia, or even in a Morning Glory store, I'd probably think they were cute. But knowing Gwen's behind it, kind of makes them annoying. Not enough to get me pissed; just annoyed. I know that's not an entirely fair judgment, and I don't want to Gwen-bash; I'm actually a fan of some of her music, particularly with No Doubt. Margaret Cho has a much more eloquent opinion piece on the Harajuku phenomenon on her blog.  

I do like that BellaSugar, with a sense of humor, mentioned the fetishism associated with Gwen's Harajuku obsession (though they do gush over how "kawaii" they are). I always felt like she was holding those backup dancers and their passports hostage.

Sylvie Kim

contributing editor & blogger

Sylvie Kim is a contributing editor at Hyphen. She previously served as Hyphen's blog coeditor with erin Khue Ninh, film editor, and blog columnist.

She writes about gender, race, class and privilege in pop culture and media (fun fun fun!) at www.sylvie-kim.com and at SF Weekly's The Exhibitionist blog. Her work has also appeared on Racialicious and Salon.



Love the video. Bobby Lee cracks me up. Gwen on the other hand scares me -- if I ever saw her, I would run away so as to avoid capture and being added to her collection of asians.Also, nice to see that BellaSugar linked to the video and mentioned her Asian fetish. Some of the Sugar sites haven't been the most culturally-aware.
omg that video is hilarious.
God, I blogged about these a few months ago and I got so much hate mail from the Harajuku freaks who think Gwen and (everything she does) is just the best thing ever. Never mind the perfume stinks: Free the Harajuku 4!!! Gwen needs to get back with No Doubt.
Gwen fans seems especially crazed. Look how many ridiculous comments we got on a 2-sentence post:http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/blog/2005/04/gwen-stefani-please-release-th.html
Let's face it. Gwen Stefani is the Jim Jones of pop music. She doesn't have fans. She has cult members.
I dunno why I'm not offended. I have a pretty good radar for this stuff, and I'm Japanese-American (even living in Japan right now)... but I guess because she's specifically focusing on Harajuku culture, which is a weird fashionista subculture. She's not claiming all of Japan or all of Asia (the MADTV segment is hella funny).In her songs she's actually shouting out a mix of western and Japanese designers, and it seems like more an obsession with fashion and that neighborhood than anything else. Haven't smelled the perfume. She rocks an amazing live show. My two cents!
I would have to agree with Nina. First I don't think the girls who are super into Harajuku fashion in Japan hate on Gwen but may be peeved that she brought their kind of underground culture to the West. Also, are we suppose to dish out the hateraid on every white person who likes Asian culture? Are we not all guilty of "liking" something from another culture? Are there not Filipinos who rock dreads? There are probably true Rastafarians that pissed that every kid is rocking something that is a symbol of their religion.I think if you do not objectify the culture you're into then its whatev. And everyone partakes in the objectification of practically everything so lets get off that high horse. Because I would think Black people can have a bone to pick with everyone for liking things they made cool- I mean there a lot of cool shit that originated in Black culture. Why do Asians insist in keeping our cool shit on lock down and hate on "the other" for digging it?Maybe the Harajuku girls had a sweet deal- they were all dancers who got to go on a world-wide tour. I actually saw those girls on the Gwen tour and there are only like four or five of them so that means they got a chance of a lifetime and I'm sure it helped boost their own personal careers. That would be interesting to interview one of Gwen's L.A.M.B Harajuku girls. Then we can asking leading questions so they give us the answers we want to hear. "How do you feel being objectified by Gwen Stafani?"