It’s a typical evening in my New England house. I’m sitting in front of the nightly news, wearing some kind of ruffly pink night-gown and pearl kitty ears. Paul Ryan comes on the screen, talking anti-choice propaganda and grinning condescendingly into the camera. I flip off the TV and have a few choice words for this guy who thankfully is not leaving his dirty socks all over the White House as we speak.
Later, I get on Facebook, where some of my lolita friends are have a discussion about the feminist repercussions of school dress-code. A white guy butts into the conversation to tell us exactly how, “as a man”, he doesn’t seen anything wrong with asking girls to “not dress like strippers” if they want to study algebra in peace. I have choice words for this guy, too.
As a girl, I face sexism, patriarchy, rape culture, whatever your favorite term is – both casual and blatant – every day in my life. And I have to admit, it makes me pretty angry. It’s frustrating, dehumanizing, and just downright rude. Sometimes you got to let it out.
So, I was very pleased to see a new Tumblr put my two favorite things together: pink, cuteness, and a take-no-prisoners attitude to rape culture, patriarchy, and Nice Guys. The ever-popular “offensive kawaii text” graphic subgenre on Tumblr is all about cute insults. So why not pair cute with anger against that creeper cat-caller on the street instead of the girl you can’t stand from your last meetup? Meet Subversive Kawaii.
What I really relate to in these graphics is the underlying message, rather than the straightforward text. Just because I’m cute and enjoy cute things, doesn’t mean you can walk on me. Just because I like pink and ribbons and glitter, doesn’t mean I’ll stand for being treated like a little girl without opinions of my own. Here’s the thing. When I am angry and have choice words and hand gestures for Paul Ryan on my television set, I am tired of being told to act like a lady and express my anger in a more respectful way. I don’t owe these guys my respect. I am five foot two, I have pink hair and I am wearing a tiara and I do not have to show you respect if I choose not to. I do not have to play nice.
I’m particularly fond of this one, too – it shows that Subversive Kawaii isn’t just about cis people. It’s good to see that we have some cute pastel that supports intersectional feminism – in this case, trans issues as well. Got pronoun choices? Tell ‘em, you badass cutie.
Pink, kittens, and rainbows that threaten bodily harm on people who sexually objectify your body? All of my favorite things. If you want to know more about sexual objectification, I just watched a great TED talk by Caroline Heldman that explains it very well. I don’t think I quite understand objectification until I watched this lecture, and realized how often we’re objectified in culture – but how often women, even scarier, objectify themselves. I was amazed to see that I think of myself as an object all the time.
Okay, now that I’ve thoroughly pinkified your ideas of smashing the patriarchy (I hope), they also have an Etsy I’m hoping will get built up soon with all kinds of pink anti-misogyny products. In the meantime, I’m definitely eyeing their PRINCESS patch to spice up my pink denim jacket for spring.