Saturday 25 May 2019

From my Facebook page

This is a brilliant piece, Pearl. I really appreciate your conclusion. I’ve been struggling a great deal with a couple of acquaintances who seem to be on a perpetual high alert for cultural appropriation (I’m in the US) and it’s been difficult to analyze my own personal response. One friend in particular is on a rampage about people who appropriate items from the Native American culture, though she herself has not a drop of NA blood - while I do, but you’d never know to look at me. Do I have to carry my family tree with me to justify using NA symbols? I have become so concerned about the people who are screeching about individual cultures and appropriation, I didn’t think to take the broader world view that you have presented here; the big picture about cultural change. This helps me a great deal. Incidentally, when you first started writing on this, I was shocked that the word kimono was an issue because IF this is an appropriation, it happened so long ago, I don’t know how one could expect a shift now. This is not a current issue, my mother was wearing robes that she called kimonos back in the 50s!
  • Pearl Moon thank you for sharing this xxxx and I'm humbled to have helped you develop a more nuanced position. The word kimono has actually been adopted into the english language for about 200 years. I don't think anyone but the most ignorant could confuse what is the traditional Japanese version of the garment with modern western iterations. As I tried to clarify in what I wrote I think people of Japanese heritage who are up in arms about this are conflating the respectful appropriation of the word as a personal attack on their identity. I hope they can move beyond that and come to accept that all forms must keep reinventing themselves to keep relevant or they will lapse into becoming a historical artefact. It is positive energy that keeps designers wanting to pay tribute to the "kimono" styling aesthetic.

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