Gwen Stefani has gone too far.
This morning as I was perusing the pages of my copy of ELLE, a quiet rage erupted as a read a short little blurb tucked away in the Beauty News section of the glossy. According to the brief article, Gwen Stefani's newest "genius" and "innovative" idea is to bottle up her exotification and cultural appropriation into cute little Harajuku girl perfumes, modeled after her hand-picked Japanese posse. The series of fragrances, appropriately named Harajuku Lovers, come in the form of ever-so-cute and oh-so-offensive plastic figurines- aimed at further objectifying and dehumanizing these interesting creatures. Now, I don't know about you, but I had a serious WTF!?!?! moment. And so I ask, how is this ok?
In a world where capitalism rules supreme, I guess I shouldn't have been so shocked by this bit of news. I mean, it's not like Gwen's really done anything to redeem herself or make up for her cultural appropriating ways. Don't get me wrong, I ultimately do like Gwen- and think she's made important and interesting contributions to fashion- but her days as a true innovator have long since faded away. But back to my original question, why do we let people, especially celebrities get away with things like this. Why is it ok to steal another person/peoples culture, repackage it, and claim it as our own innovation? Am I the only one who finds fault in this trend? I think it's perfectly respectable to be inspired by others, to share ideas and foster collective creativity- but this just strikes me as cold hard capitalism, rooted in histories of colonialism and imperialism.
So far, all the articles I've read have failed to mention any tinge of discomfort at the idea of these fragrances. They are set to debut this September in Macy's all around the country. I wonder how they'll fare...