Appropriation versus pop culture

Opinions_cultural appropriation

Is it culturally insensitive for Western culture to adopt the word “manga?”

By Brittney MacDonald, Staff Writer

We are experiencing a shift in popular culture—what I would call an expansion into a more worldly view. More specifically, we as a society have become interested in the nerdy aspects of other foreign geek subcultures. This has been most prevalent in the Japanese “otaku” subculture, which is dominated by manga and anime, highly stylized Japanese graphic novels, comic books, and animated cartoons, which feature characters with large eyes as their most defining trait. Recently I have noticed a backlash against this, as well as accusations of “appropriation.” Well, in the famous words of Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I don’t think you know what it means.”

This backlash has been focussed almost exclusively on L’Oréal’s Miss Manga Mascara.

I can imagine the process a marketing executive went through when they were asked to brand the new L’Oreal mascara, which is meant to define lashes rather than just elongate them. In my head I imagine it going something like this: googling “big eyes” resulted in hundreds and hundreds of pages of suggested manga, both in English and Japanese.

I blame hipsters for this newfound popularity of manga. Regular Western comic books became too mainstream (damn you Robert Downey Jr. and your impish good looks!), so they had to go to manga in order to be pretentious. It backfired though. People became fond of the manga aesthetic, and even began categorizing it in a new genre: North American manga. For examples see Twilight, the Dark-Hunter series, and Empowered.

So because manga isn’t a Western advent, people say this process becomes “appropriation,” because it’s stealing the concept from another culture. Ignoring for now the fact that it’s impossible to steal a concept, that accusation is also a bit hypocritical. Think back to all the makeup you’ve owned, anything with “rouge” or “stiletto” in the title is now appropriation of French or Italian culture. For that matter, your Celtic knot-design tramp stamp is appropriating my culture and turning it slutty, so I’m doubly offended!

Now I’m not Japanese, so whether or not this use of Japanese terms to sell makeup is offensive or not, I don’t know (though I suspect it isn’t). However, I do know how to use a dictionary. True, cultural appropriation is a legitimate concern and it can be negative, especially when used in ways that are derogatory. But that is not what’s going on here. The adoption of a word or term from a minority into mainstream culture is acculturation, and it happens anytime cultures interact with one another for an extended period of time. People from different cultures begin adopting terms or words from one another in order to better communicate ideas.

The use of the manga style by North American artists might be appropriation, but you’d have to run around and check with each one of them individually to see if they have any Japanese ancestry or not before you accuse. But that just might make you a racist.

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

More Posts - Website

4,896 comments on “Appropriation versus pop culture
  1. Awesome things here. I’m very happy to look your article.

    Thanks so much and I am looking ahead to contact you.
    Will you please drop me a mail?

  2. I love what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever work
    and coverage! Keep up the good works guys I’ve incorporated you
    guys to my personal blogroll.

  3. Yesterday’s report by the Sport Individual’s Think Tank highlighted the problem with just 19 of the 552 ‘prime’ teaching positions at ­English clubs being held by blacks and ethnic minorities.

  4. Hello would you mind sharing which bloog platform you’re working with?
    I’m looking to start my own blog inn the near future but I’m having
    a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.

    The reason I ask is because your layout seems different
    then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  5. חשוב לבחור תקליטן לאירועים שיקלע לטעמכם ויידע להעניק את המוזיקה הנכונה באירועים, כדי
    להבטיח שהוא בדיוק כמו שרציתם.

  6. De que maneira bolo é incessantemente núcleo das atenções, não vai poder faltar com jeito nenhum em aniversários, e também você vai poder selecionar entre bolo fake (não
    há impecilho se para sua preocupação é que ele não seja com verdade, depois é só fornecer de verdade).

  7. Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog.
    Is it tough to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick.
    I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to start.
    Do you have any points or suggestions? Thank you

  8. Whoa! This blog looks jᥙѕt like mу օld one! It’s on a totally diffеrent subject
    but it has pretty mᥙch the samе layout and design. Outstanding choice off colors!

  9. Hey very nice web site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Amazing ..
    I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionally?
    I am happy to find so many helpful information here in the publish, we’d like
    work out more techniques on this regard, thanks for sharing.
    . . . . .

  10. Hello this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if
    you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get guidance
    from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  11. Wow, fantastic weblog format! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for?
    you make running a blog look easy. The entire glance of
    your site is excellent, let alone the content material!

  12. Heyy there would you mind stating whijch blog platform
    you’re woorking with? I’m planningg to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult
    time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution andd
    Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blog and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  13. I feel that is among the such a lot significant info for me.

    And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna commentary on few common things, The site style is great, the articles is truly great
    : D. Good process, cheers

  14. Rigһt here is the perfect site fօr anybody who hopes to find out about this topic.
    You know so much its аlmost tough to argue with yoᥙ (not that I rеally would want to�HaHa).
    You certainly put a fresh spіn ⲟn a subject that haѕ been discussed for
    decades. Excellent stuff, just great!

  15. The place your birthday falls in the period of days
    the place Sagittarius holds sway will influence which section of the Moon is luckiest for you.

  16. Pra expressar que teve prezado toque pessoal,
    comprei as letras do nome do Miguel e encapei, fiz
    as lembrancinhas que também foram os enfeites das mesas, fiz mousse de chocolate desde copinho e também
    um banner pra colocar atrás da mesa principal.

  17. I am really enjoying the theme/design of
    your web site. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues?
    A small number of my blog audience have complained about
    my website not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera.
    Do you have any advice to help fix this issue?

  18. This design is incredible! You definitely know how to keep a reader entertained.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job.
    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented
    it. Too cool!

  19. Spot on with this write-up, I honestly believe that
    this web site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back
    again to see more, thanks for the information!

  20. Hі there! This is кind of off topic but I need some help from an establishᥱd blog.
    Is it tough to set up yоur own blog? I’m not very techincal bᥙt I can figure things out pretty quiсk.
    I’m thіnking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where
    to start. Do you have any tiрs or sᥙggᥱstions? Tɦank
    you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*