Harajuku Girls

Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku girls have been getting lots of lip service lately, and I have to say I am confused.

I like Gwen Stefani, she’s alright. She is very stylish and has a nice voice and a really flat stomach. She is a rock star, and quite good at it. I am always impressed by her platinum hair and her incredibly organized steamer trunks. She keeps all her wristbands in separate zip-lock bags. I too have lots of nice things, but they are all getting moth eaten and mashed together in a pile on my closet floor. I could never understand the concept of a pair: of shoes, gloves, stockings, earrings, hearts, whatever. How can you possibly keep two separate and entirely whole things together in the crazy whirling world we live in? Anyway, Gwen manages to do it all with great panache.

Now she has 4 things all together, the Harajuku Girls. I want to like them, and I want to think they are great, but I am not sure if I can. I mean, racial stereotypes are really cute sometimes, and I don’t want to bum everyone out by pointing out the minstrel show. I think it is totally acceptable to enjoy the Harajuku girls, because there are not that many other Asian people out there in the media really, so we have to take whatever we can get. Amos ‘n Andy had lots of fans, didn’t they? At least it is a measure of visibility, which is much better than invisibility. I am so sick of not existing, that I would settle for following any white person around with an umbrella just so I could say I was there.

It is weird being Asian American right now, because I don’t exactly know what my place is. America is supposed to be for everyone, and people are supposed to treat me like I belong here, and yet you would never know that from watching tv or movies. I still get the questions about where I am really from. Then when I try to explain this feeling of invisibility to those whose every move and moment is entirely visible, they come back at me with, “Maybe Asian Americans don’t want to be in entertainment!” Yes he really said that. I just screamed, because there was no other way I could answer without hitting him.

Even though to me, a Japanese schoolgirl uniform is kind of like blackface, I am just in acceptance over it, because something is better than nothing. An ugly picture is better than a blank space, and it means that one day, we will have another display at the Museum of Asian Invisibility, that groups of children will crowd around in disbelief, because once upon a time, we weren’t there.