Fairy Kei – Alternative Black Girl

First of all, I apologize profusely because it’s been ages since I last wrote a blog post. Needless to say, a lot has happened. Let me condense the last five months super quickly so I can get on with my topic for today:

Ahem.

Old best friend became new boyfriend. JET didn’t work out. New bf moved in. Newer better job. Better job was bad for my mental and physical health. So I got an even BETTER job as a “job coach” and will continue substitute teaching in the fall. (Oh, did I mention I’m a substitute teacher now?) I threw a book launch party in June for my fantasy novel, The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco — that was FABULOUS. Sold like 30 books that month. Also, my birthday was July 5th and I’m 24 now. Yay.

Now. On to the topic at hand. See that dork with the purple hair in this post’s featured picture? That’s me.

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Yep. This is me. When you weren’t looking, I turned into a fairy.

Yes. I’ve done it. I’m a fairy. By that, I mean that I’ve recently gotten really into this style, this lovely slice of Japanese street fashion, called Fairy Kei. As soon as I saw this style, I fell in love immediately. My first thought was: MY PEOPLE! All these pastel rainbow dreamy fairies and unicorns roaming the Earth! I made it my mission to become one of them.

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fairy 1

I’m well aware that they’re Japanese, and that Fairy Kei is a Japanese street fashion thing, but stuff like that has never bothered me. I’ve always been an alternative black girl, searching for my own style. I spent my angsty teenage years dabbling in Goth, Scene, and Punk. I even tried Gothic Lolita, but that was simply to expensive. I never could have afforded it. I’d bought one dress from Hot Topic, and some cute black chokers, but that was just about it.

But then I got to college and realized that I actually look pretty cool in light colors and that wearing all that black wasn’t really flattering on me.

And then, just five months ago, I discovered Fairy Kei, and I realized that this was what I’ve been trying to be. I mean, who cares that I’d be the only black girl I know dressing this way? That had never stopped me before. I’d been teased so many times before, since junior high (when I loved wearing MCR and Green Day t-shirts), so I’ve become numb to it. Why should I feel bad about myself when people who wear nothing but t-shirts and jeans — BORING CLOTHES — all the time make fun of what I wear?

Summer of 2013 started my own personal era of fashion. Forever 21 was my best friend. Then, I went to Japan and lost my mind, shopping in Shibuya, Tokyo. I was drunk on compliments in both Japan and the U.S. But see, even though I was stylish back then, I was still sort of conventionally stylish. I wore bows and stuff and dressed up — I looked like a doll going to class — but it was nothing compared to trying to imitate Japanese street fashion.

Street. Fashion.

You know, like those Harajuku Girls that Gwen Stephani was so crazy about.

Gwen Stefani Visits MTV's ''TRL'' - December 10, 2004

Gwen Stephani and her Harajuku Girls

Except now, Harajuku has pushed street fashion to its limits. We’re talking going beyond Fairy Kei. The fashion style in the photo below, my friends, is called Decora:

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It’s a bit too much for me, but I can respect it.

But back to Fairy Kei.

My family and friends are pretty much used to me by now, dressing the way I do. No one bots an eye. I get compliments on how cute I am — even from strangers. Thankfully, I surround myself with loving and open-minded people, so I never really have to worry too much about feeling weird about the way I dress. Fairy Kei makes me feel girly. It makes me feel good.

However, some alternative black girls aren’t so lucky. It doesn’t matter if they’re Goth or Fairy Kei or anything in between (Pastel Goth is literally smack dab in the middle). They are dressing in a way that makes them happy, but for some reason, dressing “out of the norm” is not widely celebrated in the black community. To more fully understand what I mean, consider reading this article, The Issue with the Perceived “Whiteness” of Being an Alternative Black Girl.

When I go on YouTube and watch videos by Fairy Kei vloggers, they are almost exclusively white and Asian. And when I dared to post fairy videos of my own, I will admit that I felt a little self-conscious.

But I mean. Pastels look good with my skin tone, too.

And it helps, that, from what I’ve seen, the Fairy Kei community seems to be very inclusive and warm. It welcome fairies who are trans or gender-queer without question. There are plus-sized fairies running around.

And, of course, there are us, black fairies. ❤

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I don’t know who this girl is, but I seriously need to get on her level.

So, if you’re a secret (or not-so-secret) alternative black girl, wear whatever the hell you want to wear! If Fairy Kei looks appealing to you, I encourage you to try it out! There may be people out there who will call you names and make fun of you, but those idiots aren’t worth your time. Life it too short for boring clothes. And life it too short not too wear what you want to wear. (I mean, depending on where you work, you may not want to wear Decora/Fairy Kei/Goth/Lolita/Punk/Metal-type stuff to your job. But, you know. Compromise.)

So, long story short: If you want to do the thing, THEN DO THE THING! ❤ I promise you, it’ll feel great.

 

Also, if you’re interested in my super new YouTube channel (it’s really silly and dumb — don’t check it out), it’s called Star Blush Universe. As of today there are two really boring videos. You’re better off just scrolling through my tumblr.

Until next time~!

 

About Sarah Chrisman’s Victorian Life: A Black Girl’s Perspective

There’s been a lot of buzz lately concerning Sarah Chrisman’s article “I love the Victorian era. So I decided to live in it.”

Some people love it and think it’s charming and fun. Other people are completely peeved  at her for only living the “easy” aspects of Victorian life, leaving out the sexism, racism, classism, consumption, and the general smog and filth. What would happen if she someday needs surgery? What does she do when her period comes? Does she vote???

I agree with both sides. If she and her husband have the money and the means, then let them do it. It makes them happy, it’s not hurting anyone, and it’s kind of cool — even if it is glorified cosplay.

“Black Masquerade Queen Renaissance Victorian Costume.” Okay, yeah. Because those eras are totally the same thing. Not different at all.

I started to wonder what it would be like if I did the same thing. Wouldn’t it be so cool? If I had unlimited funds and means, what era would I bring forth to the present? It wouldn’t necessarily have to be the Victorian era. I could do my own thing. The Renaissance was cool and all, but somehow, I don’t think that would be very possible. Also, I’m black, so having that super ghostly pale skin they so coveted would be a super no-go. And check out these beauty tips from the times:

“Women during the Renaissance Period had an interesting way of applying cosmetics, because they always seemed to have their faces “caked” on with make-up. White lead face paint was very popular among the Renaissance women, because they used it to paint their faces, neck, and cleavage. The lead was mixed with vinegar to conjure up a paste called ceruse. The only downfall was that the white lead made their hair fall out, which explains why Renaissance women had high foreheads and receding hairlines. Even though wide foreheads and receding hairlines may seem weird nowadays, it was considered fashionable during the Renaissance Period. Their eyebrows were usually shaved and replaced with fake ones made of mouse skin anyways. For lips, their form of lipstick was made of cochineal and beeswax. Also for their lips and even for their cheeks, women would wear rouge which was a red powder made of mercury sulphide. To accentuate the eyes, they would use iridescent eye shadow made of a ground mother of pearls.” Source: https://womenhygiene.wordpress.com/the-scoop-all-you-need-to-know-about-the-cleanliness-of-women/

Plus, you know, bloodletting, washing my face with urine, and shitting in wooden boxes don’t exactly appeal to me.

Tudor house toilets…. To make matters worse, these things were rarely emptied and rarely cleaned. Ugh.

Sooooo… Let’s skip ahead. Like, way ahead. What about the ’20s? ’60s?

Well, the ’20s was definitely booming. Blacks and whites could sometimes be seen at the same night clubs. Some Hollywood actors came out as gay. Harlem was jumpin’. But, I can’t really get behind the Prohibition. (I like my wine, damn it.) And even though women could vote, it was mostly only white women who could vote freely in 1920. Until the 1960s, black women faced disenfranchisement and high hurdles to get to the ballot, especially in the South.

All right! So what about the ’60s?

Well, it was definitely a time of change. Free love and protests were ubiquitous, and the Civil Rights movement was in full swing….. But I love ’60s fashion. And oh. My. God. I fucking love Twiggy.

And check out this article about health, happiness, and well-being in the ’60s!

But on a more serious note:

  1. Flying was dangerous, insanely expensive, smoky, and boozy. (Plus, planes wouldn’t have TVs or music. BOOORING.)
  2. Blacks had shorter lifespans than whites.
  3. Black Americans were also far less likely to finish high school, let alone go to college.
  4. Blacks were twice as likely to be unemployed as whites.
  5. We were pretty much still treated like second-class citizens.

But, flying is no longer as hazardous to one’s health as it was in the Golden Age of flying. And if you ask me, and many other African-Americans, we pretty much are still treated like second-class citizens in some aspects of society. If you’ve been following the Black Lives Matter movement, you’d know that a lot of issues we’re facing are setting us back fifty years. Is it 2015 or 1964? Sometimes I can’t tell.

Suddenly I didn’t feel so giddy about the idea of living in a past era anymore. My boyfriend pretty much said it in a nutshell: “Going back in time would only be fun for whites, because they’re the only ones who’s always had it good.”

Alas…

My boyfriend said even if we romanticized the past eras, we’d end up living like middle-class whites of the times, and somehow that seems wrong. It really is sad that the only era I could think to travel to would be the 1960s, because we have to fight for civil rights again. I could buy a house that was build in 1962, have all my clothes made to match fashions of the era, listen to the music and go swing dancing (I do those anyway). But somehow, picking up a Black Lives Matter sign and marching, all while pretending to live like it’s the ’60s would seriously just fuck with my brain. I guess time travel to the past just wasn’t meant for us. Maybe I’m giving this too much thought.

But there’s always tomorrow. I’ve got my smart phone and my Wii U, my ballet flats and leggings. No one’s ever stopped me from voting, and my masters degree sits over my fireplace. Looking forward, I feel optimistic.

And Sarah Chrisman, have fun. ❤

(But seriously, that 60s fashion tho:)

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Adventures in Japan Part 2: Kawaii, Kawaii!

Our first day in Tokyo, after lecture, we toured the Meiji Shrine in Shibuya – breath-taking! The flourishing forest stole my heart immediately. I felt a profound calmness while walking along the greenery.

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Isn’t this a stunning view of the Torii gate shrouded in foliage? ❤

I even worked up the courage to approach one of the shrine maidens for a picture. So, I said, “Shashin onegaishimasu?” (“Could I please take a picture?”). Her nods were so slight, I didn’t read them at first. But, my cousin ended up taking our picture, and we thanked her.

Shortly after, my group was trying to decide where to go for lunch before exploring Harajuku, when a Japanese man walked by with a camera around his neck and stopped at me – only me! – and asked for a picture. He took a couple, thanked me, and walked off. Everyone in the group, including me, were like, wtf just happened? It was pretty lolzy. There were nine of us, but only two of us – my friend and I – were (noticeably) black. <– This is relevant, I promise.

The same thing happened in Akihabara! A small handful of us were  lolzing around outside a sex shop (that sex shop is an entire story in and of itself – I’ll discuss it in a future post, haha) when another Japanese man walked by and asked me if he could take a picture. Only me. And then he thanked me and walked away. We were starting to notice a pattern.

So then. Way, way, later on in the trip, we’re heading from Nagoya (where we met our Japanese friends from Aichi University) to Toyohashi (where our host families lived), and while walking up the stairs, an older Japanese man nodded to me and said, “Kawaii! Kawaii!” (“Cute! Cute!”)

Oh, Japan.

My super kawaii chocolate self loves you, too.

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Adventures in Japan Part 1: Shopping in Shibuya

After shuttling from Narita to Ikebukuro and settling in Sakura Hotel (and catching some much-needed shut-eye), I woke up at 5 in the morning nice and refreshed. Tokyo was mine to explore.

I can’t explain how surreal this was. I’d had dreams of going to Japan since I was 11 years old – and there I was, 20 years old, touring the beautiful Meiji Shrine, eating crepes in Harajuku, and shopping in Shibuya.

Right now, I’m a solid size small and wouldn’t have any worries about fitting clothes in Japan, but back then (two years ago), I was slightly bigger – having to purchase mediums and larges in U.S. stores, so I was worried about not being able to fit clothes in Japanese malls. At the time, I found some Japanese mediums I could fit, but many were too small, and almost none of the stores carried any larges.

Sometimes, I felt like an elephant amongst gazelles, and it really kind of messed with my psyche.

But! It was always a slight self-esteem boost whenever I did find something cute that I could wear – all of which were mediums or one size fits all.

The inside of 109 (a huuuge department store) is pretty much every girly-girl’s dream. The shopkeepers are all so pretty and glamorous, and nice! Some stand in the doorways inviting people in with “Irasshaimasse!!” which means “welcome.”

So, I wandered into one of the stores. The shopkeeper initially spoke to me in English, telling me which outfits were on sale. After looking around, I found an outfit, and went up to her, saying, “Anou, sumimasen.” (“Um, excuse me.”) I gestured toward the fitting room and asked, “Haite mo ii desu ka?” (“Is it okay if I enter?”)

The longer I was in Japan, the more I realized how many Japanese people brighten up when they realize you can speak and understand Japanese. She then explained to me, in Japanese, that the outfit was not a set, so I could get a different color shirt with the cardigan, if I wanted to.

So, when I tried on the outfit, she gushed and said, “Kawaii!!” (“Cute!!”)

Needless to say, I bought the hell out of that outfit. (And it no longer looks slightly too small on me.)

~*~~* Want more life in Japan posts? Stay tuned. *~~*~