M/C Journal https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal <h1>M/C Journal</h1> <p><em>M/C Journal</em> was founded (as "M/C – A Journal of Media and Culture") in 1998 as a place of public intellectualism analysing and critiquing the meeting of media and culture. <em>M/C Journal</em> is a fully blind-, peer-reviewed academic journal, open to submissions from anyone. We take seriously the need to move ideas outward, so that our cultural debates may have some resonance with wider political and cultural interests. Each issue is organised around a one-word theme (<a href="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/issue/archive">see our past issues</a>), and is edited by one or more guest editors with a particular interest in that theme. Each issue has a feature article which engages with the theme in some detail, followed by several shorter articles.</p> en-US <p>Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:</p><ol><li>Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licenced under a <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/" rel="license">Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivatives 4.0 Licence</a> that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.</li><li>Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.</li><li>Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (see <a href="http://opcit.eprints.org/oacitation-biblio.html" target="_new">The Effect of Open Access</a>).</li></ol> editor@media-culture.org.au (Axel Bruns) editor@media-culture.org.au (Axel Bruns) Wed, 05 Oct 2022 07:39:12 +0000 OJS http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss 60 Fashioning Gender in Asia and Beyond https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2933 <blockquote> <p>Walk, walk, fashion baby<br />Work it, move that b***h crazy — Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” </p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>There's a brand new dance but I don't know its name<br />That people from bad homes do again and again<br />It's big and it's bland, full of tension and fear<br />They do it over there but we don't do it here<br />Fashion! Turn to the left<br />Fashion! Turn to the right — David Bowie, “Fashion” </p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>Piece by piece<br />My emotions are glued together<br />You’re a new pattern<br />Sent towards one another: <br />We have a secretive and thrilling motion<br />Ooh ooh ooh, you are my fashion — TaeYeon, “Fashion” <em><br /></em></p> </blockquote> <p>The word ‘fashion’ conjures images of glitzy 90s supermodels stomping down a catwalk, a flock of Victoria Secret Angels flying in formation, or a crew of K-pop girl and boy bands sporting the latest looks and setting trends in hair, makeup, and fitness. In an age of Instafame and TikTok influencers, it is easy to view ‘fashion’ purely as something trivial or fleeting. We might talk of the latest fashions, or the ‘centuries old’ traditions of regional and folk garments. Fashion can mean the manner in which something is done or a fashionable way of thinking. It can also be used to discuss how things are created or fabricated, from heavy metals used in technology to lightweight garment fabrics and trims.</p> <p>Much of fashion studies focusses on Europe and North America, with the Fédération Française de la Couture (French Federation of Fashion and of Ready-to-Wear Couturiers and Fashion Designers) still holding sway over haute couture houses. If East Asian and South East Asian fashion is mentioned, it is usually in terms of textiles and manufacturing rather than couture or innovation. However, Japanese designer Hanae Mori (1026-2022) was the first Asian woman to be admitted as a design house to the Fédération in 1951. Mori notably had the patronage of Empress Masako, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Reagan and Grace Kelly. More recently, Chinese designer Guo Pei (b. 1967) was the first Asian designer to be invited as a guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (Trade Association of High Fashion) as part of the Fédération. We started this editorial with lyrics to pop and K-pop songs that reference fashion, but anyone familiar with Guo Pei will be aware of her rise in the popular <em>zeitgeist</em> when Bajan singer Rhianna attended the 2015 Met Gala in a 2008 yellow fur gown that weighed 25 kilos.</p> <p>However, fashion is also a place of protest and resistance. We need only look at the current protests in Iran which have seen women burn their hijabs in public after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was arrested in September for allegedly breaking the country’s dress code, and mysteriously died in custody. At the time of writing, at <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iran-protests-over-young-womans-death-continue-83-said-killed-2022-09-29/">least 83 people,</a> including children, have been killed in the protests which are, above all, about a woman’s right to control her body and her clothing choices.</p> <p>The theme for this issue is drawn from the 2021 “Fashioning Gender in Asia” Women in Asia conference, convened by the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) Women’s Forum by Dr Emerald L. King, Dr Wendy Mee, Associate Professor Kerstin Steiner, and Associate Professor Sallie Yea. With much of the world’s textile and clothing production located in Asia, the theme for this issue lends itself to a wide interpretation of ‘fashion’ such as the slow fashion movement, garment construction, haute couture, cosplay and ‘bounding’, and gender expression through clothing. In this issue, we consider how bodies are fashioned and re-fashioned through social pressure, protest, resistance, and illness. We also consider how fashion and fashioning the body across time and space have become contested symbols not only of persona, gender, or sexualised bodies, but also of national identity or of how the nation is embodied through fashion.</p> <p>We begin with a feature article by Monika Winarnita, Sharyn Graham Davies, and Nicholas Herriman which looks at how Indonesian policewomen’s bodies are clothed and controlled in their role as border control and symbol of the nation. This article was based on a plenary talk by Sharyn Graham Davies for the 2021 Women in Asia Conference described above.</p> <!-- <p>We stay in the Indonesian region as Widja Santoso unwraps how traditional dress can be used to fashion ideals of nationalism.</p>--> <p>Kathryn M. Tanaka discusses the importance of maintaining individual identity through dress and makeup in the face of institutionalisation and loss of self after a diagnosis of Hansen’s disease in turn-of-the-century Japan.</p> <p>Michelle Aung Thin reveals how secret fashion shoots in 70s Myanmar were an act of resistance and rebellion that is mirrored by current-day campaigners during the 2021 coup d’état.</p> <p>Carmen Sapunaru Tamas draws back the curtain on the glamourous world of <em>Taisu Engeki</em> in Japan, positing that this relatively unknown form of performance is just as valid as its more respected cousins kabuki, noh, and drag.</p> <p>In stark contrast, Robyn Gulliver discusses how ordinary tote bags and t-shirts have become a space of everyday protest in Australasia.</p> <p>Arnoud Arps looks at the performance of memory by Indonesian re-enactor groups who create modern-day interpretations of key moments during the turbulent and violent war for independence between 1943 and 1949.</p> <p>Megan Catherine Rose, Haruka Kurebayashi, and Rei Saionji return to Japan, where they investigate the affective potential of the ensembles created by Harajuku and <em>decora</em> street style practitioners.</p> <p>Moving from the streets of Japan to China, Amber Patterson-Ooi and Natalie Araujo look at how designers such as Guo Pei can use haute couture to interrogate and explore specific cultural imaginaries as well as the nature of gender and the socio-political climate in contemporary China.</p> <p>We close with an excerpt from Denise N. Rall’s 2022 edited collection, <em>Fashion, Women, and Power: The Politics of Dress</em>, which traverses the globe in its critique of power dressing and gender.</p> Emerald King, Monika Winarnita Copyright (c) 2022 Monika Winarnita, Emerald King http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2933 Fri, 07 Oct 2022 00:00:00 +0000 On the Body https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2919 <h1>Introduction</h1> <p>Fashion and beauty work are a part of identity that is shaped around normative, idealised, and often gendered bodies, and this has been the subject of much academic and popular attention. While much research focusses on fashion and beauty work as a way to highlight socially desirable traits or trends, it is important to note that fashion is equally important as a tool for the concealment of a visibly stigmatised identity. For people diagnosed with a visibly disfiguring illness, fashion and makeup practices became a way to either reinforce or negotiate stigma. In particular, writing by people diagnosed with Hansen’s disease in 1930s Japan reveals the way in which fashion—in the form of clothing issued by the institution—could reinforce the stigma of their condition, whereas clothing from home, and the use of makeup, allowed for concealment of some of the visible markers of their condition.</p> <p>So associated is the notion of stigma with the condition of Hansen’s disease that “leprosy” or “leper” are used as pejoratives in some languages, to indicate conditions or behaviour out of line with social norms. Yet, it is only relatively recently that stigma and Hansen’s disease have been the subject of academic attention. Since Zachary Gussow’s ground-breaking 1989 work, <em>Leprosy, Racism, and Public Health</em>, however, Hansen’s disease stigma has been extensively studied, with much of the recent scholarship focused on visible stigma and social reintegration. That is to say, much of the attention is focussed on stigma reduction, and creating policies and awareness to decrease stigma by third parties. Few studies have focussed on the way stigma, in the case of Hansen’s disease, has been either reinforced or resisted by the people suffering from Hansen’s disease.</p> <p>Stigma, as “degrading marks that are affixed to particular bodies, people, conditions and places within humiliating social interactions”, serves to mark bodies as abnormal or inferior (Tyler, 8). In the words of Erving Goffman from his classic study on stigma, the term refers to a “spoiled identity,” and limited social participation (Goffman, <em>Stigma</em> 11-15). More recently, in her ground-breaking book<em> Stigma: The Machinery of Inequality,</em> Imogen Tyler argued that stigma is both socially produced and negotiated, and that just as stigma can be leveraged to control unruly bodies, so too can it be a mode of resistance for those who are living with a stigmatised condition such as Hansen’s disease, an illness that was feared because prior to the discovery of Promin in 1943 the disease was incurable.</p> <p>The physical signs of illness, such as deformity of the limbs and loss of hair, made this stigma unmistakable. When sufferers were subject to quarantine, fashion was used to further mark their bodies: patients in public institutions were issued standard garments that identified them as belonging to an institution. At the same time, private clothing and makeup allowed sufferers to use fashion to conceal their stigmatised condition, to fashion liminal identities that in Goffman’s terms are not yet discredited, but “discreditable”, with their stigmatised condition hidden but social exclusion eminent should their diagnosis become clear to those around them (Goffman, <em>Stigma</em> 16).</p> <p>In the works I discuss below, we can see how clothing and makeup function to both reinforce and resist stigma in the case of writers with Hansen’s disease in Japan. This article explores the way in which illness intersected with beauty, fashion, stigma, and identity in the early years of the public institutions. First, I examine how changes in beauty marked sufferers as ill, and how that marked the sufferer as excluded from society. Makeup becomes a way to mask the visible signs of illness and inhabit a liminal space between health and marked by illness.</p> <p>Second, I discuss clothing as part of the process of institutionalisation to examine how clothing further demarcated sufferers. For many people admitted to a public institution, the issuance of standard clothing was another form of social death. The uniform clothing and marks of illness all reinforced patient bodies as abnormal. At the same time, even as their bodies were abject, I argue here that fashion, clothing and makeup could also allow them to inhabit a liminal space, separate from sufferers with advanced physical disfigurement, and allowed them to maintain an affective connection to society.</p> <h1><strong>Beauty, Making Up, and Masking Stigma</strong></h1> <p>While the study of physical, visible stigma and its intersections with issues of identity and social control have been the subject of renewed attention in recent years, few scholars have explored the way in which makeup is part of a masking, or resistance, of stigmatised conditions. While there is some scholarship that focusses on beauty work as biopolitics, such work often focusses on contemporary, voluntary beauty work, such as cosmetic surgery or makeup (Miller; Elfving-Hwang). At the same time, recently scholars have begun to examine the ways in which ableist standards of beauty and fashion mark physical difference as abnormal, or threatening (Davidson, 1-2).</p> <p>In the case of Hansen’s disease sufferers, facial changes as a manifestation of a stigmatised illness were for many writers a powerful symbol of their isolation from society. Makeup and fashion within the institution became a way for sufferers to resist the stigma associated with their disease. The application of makeup was a performance that signified inclusion in society, and its neglect was symbolic of social exclusion. This is clear in writing by women diagnosed with Hansen’s disease.</p> <p>For example, Hayashi Yukiko (1909-1993), in 1939, wrote that the disease first manifested on her face, in the form of a small red spot under her left eye. She wrote that she used powder to cover it, suspecting what it was. The use of makeup allowed her to continue her job at the post office until, despite her use of makeup, her co-worker noticed it (Hayashi, in Uchida, <em>Seto no Akebono</em> 143). After her subsequent diagnosis, she quit her job and went into isolation at home. Writing of her experience of this time, she again mentions makeup:</p> <blockquote> <p>Untouched since I got sick<br />The makeup case gathers dust<br />On the corner of the shelf<br />病みてよりふれぬがままの化粧箱ほこり積りて棚隅にあり (Uchida, <em>Hagi no satojima</em> 61)</p> </blockquote> <p>A second poet, Seto Senshū, expresses similar feelings of hopelessness through an evocation of makeup:</p> <blockquote> <p>The powder that has not touched<br />My hands for years <br />Comes out of the jar with a dry rustle<br />年久しく手にふれざりし白粉のかはきて瓶にかさと音立つ (Abe 72)</p> </blockquote> <p>For both of these authors, being quarantined because of their illness meant being cut off from society, and the discontinuance of makeup application became symbolic of social exclusion, an acknowledgement of the fact that fashion as a mode of concealment is no longer necessary.</p> <p>For many sufferers, an early sign of the illness was a loss of eyebrows. This was in part because Hansen's disease affects the nerve endings and the skin, the illness often manifested on the face of sufferers, and marked them as targets for discrimination or loss of social status. As eyebrows were an early sign of the illness, they were a point of concern for patients. Laura Miller and Higuchi Kiyoyuki have pointed to the importance of eyebrows in beauty work in Japan dating back to the Heian period (Miller, 141; Higuchi 81-84). Eyebrows, their shape, and the cosmetics used upon them, then, are important symbols of beauty. In Hansen’s disease literature, then, references to eyebrows and makeup are often indicators of the progress of the disease and how the illness specifically impacts the identity of women. Hayashi Yukiko wrote of her eyebrows:</p> <blockquote> <p>Every morning, every morning<br />The cloth with which I wipe my face<br />Comes away with my eyebrow hair<br />My heart sinks<br />朝な朝な我が顔拭ふ手拭に眉毛つき来て心が沈む</p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>Difficult to see my mother<br />Gaze anxiously at my face<br />I look down<br />我が顔を気づかはしげに見る母のまみは見難く面ふせにけり (Uchida 61-62)</p> </blockquote> <p>In these poems, Hayashi’s changing appearance is tied to what it means to fashion gendered beauty in Japanese society. To have eyebrows altered in a way that is recognisable as “diseased” is a significant, traumatic impairment. This trauma is made more acute by the fact that the gaze of people is now directed at her with anxiety or fear, a response to her visibly altered body. Imogen Tyler has referred to similar phenomenon as “the stigmatising gaze”, a recognition of “stigmata on the bodies” that can no longer be masked (Tyler 12).</p> <p>This stigma of the illness and the gaze of those around them was particularly heavy on women. Even within the sanatorium, male patients sometimes remarked on the stigmatised beauty of the female patients. Ishikawa Kō (1906-1930), a poet who lived in Kyūshū Sanatorium, hints at the futility of makeup to hide the signs of the illness:</p> <blockquote> <p>In the waiting room in the morning<br />With sadness, seeing the woman patient, eyes downcast<br />Eyebrows pencilled in<br />うつむきし女患者の書き眉をかなしく見たり朝の控所に (Kawamura and Uchida 9)</p> </blockquote> <p>Here, women pencil in their eyebrows to become invisible to the stigmatising gaze, to escape notice as being disfigured even in the hospital. They use makeup to escape the gaze of others rather than attract it, as is clear in the downcast eyes.</p> <p>While more women write about beauty work more than men, it was not only women applying makeup or aware of the gaze of those around them. The men also used makeup to disguise the disfigurement they suffered from their illness. Hōjō Tamio (1914-1937), one of the most famous authors of literature about his experience of illness and quarantine in the Tokyo district hospital, Tama Zenshō-en, writes of protagonist Oda’s process of institutionalisation in his most famous novella, <a href="https://apjjf.org/2015/13/4/Hojo-Tamio/4256.html"><em>Inochi no shoya</em> (Life’s First Night)</a>. Describing Oda’s approach to the sanatorium, Hōjō writes:</p> <blockquote> <p>One eyebrow had thinned because of his illness, and Oda had pencilled it in. When the [local village] men came up next to him, they suddenly ceased to chatter, and as they passed by, they looked with eyes full of curiosity at … Oda … . While Oda looked down silently, he keenly felt their gaze.</p> </blockquote> <p>Similarly, in a haiku Kiyokawa Hachirō describes the act of making up his eyebrows. This poem picks up the seasonal word <em>hatsukagami</em>), referring to the first use of the mirror in the new year:</p> <blockquote> <p>Drawing my eyebrows heavier than usual<br />Reflected in the mirror for the first time in the New Year<br />常よりも眉濃くひけり初鏡 (Abe 72)</p> </blockquote> <p>There is a disconnect between the poetic ideas of the first makeup application of the new year and the male author pencilling in thick eyebrows. Poems such as this make clear that eyebrow makeup was a means for both men and women to conceal the effects of their disease and conceal their illness through fashioning a discreditable but not yet discredited identity. At the same time, the poems also expose the futility of using makeup to fully conceal. The poems reveal a preoccupation with what Tyler calls the stigmatising gaze, and the scrutiny of others demonstrates the limits of makeup to conceal their stigmatised identity.</p> <h1><strong>Clothing, Institutionalisation, Identity </strong></h1> <p>After the 1931 Leprosy Prevention Law, hospitals were designed to be similar to what Erving Goffman calls “total institutions” (xiii). Total institutions such as prisons are characterised by physical boundaries separating residents from the outside world, restricting contact with that outside world, and by further boundaries within the institution separating residents from staff. Many of these elements were present in Japan’s Hansen’s Disease hospitals after 1931.</p> <p>Entrance into the institution involved the creation, or acceptance, of a new identity and new social status. Institutionalisation for the treatment of Hansen’s disease in the 1930s included a disinfectant bath in the presence of medical professionals. As the newly admitted patient bathed, their possessions were taken for disinfection and inspection and their money was confiscated. After this, patients were then issued hospital standard kimonos: typically a plain, vertically striped (referred to as <em>udon shima</em>), cotton garment that marked them clearly as patients. Although the colours or patterns varied across institutions, the garment was the same for all residents, regardless of assigned sex or age (<em>Kimono</em> 3). This served several purposes: first, because patients themselves made and cared for all their clothing, purchasing the same fabric in bulk was economical. At the same time, wearing the same clothing also eliminated class distinctions between residents, and served to downplay the femininity of the female residents (ibid).</p> <p>When working with patients, nurses and doctors dressed in head-to-toe white protective robes, complete with hats, gloves, and face masks. The seriously ill residents, confined to bed, were also issued thin, white cotton sick clothes (byōi). Thus, the boundaries between the sick and the healthy were inscribed on the clothing of individuals working and living in the hospital. The issuance of institutional clothing meant a clear severance with society, and some residents felt the clothing marked them, similar to the way prisoners in jail were identified by matching, stigmatised clothing (<em>Kimono</em> 3). Goffman’s notion of batch living is expressed through standardised kimono as Tamae, a poet at Seishō-en, the Shikoku area institution, expresses here:</p> <blockquote> <p>At the hot water station<br />The matching yukata<br />All hung out to dry<br />湯の宿に揃いの浴衣干してあり (<em>Moshiogusa</em> 20).</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/picture1.jpg" alt="" width="1086" height="727" /></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/picture2.jpg" alt="" width="713" height="963" /></em></p> <p><em>Figs. 1 &amp; 2: Examples of the standard-issue wear from the 1930s. Images courtesy of the National Hansen’s Disease Museum, Tokyo, Japan.</em></p> <p>Hōjō Tamio, again in <em>Inochi no shoya</em>, describes the kimono. Oda first glimpses the clothing in a voyeuristic scene, as he peeps at two young women through the hedge demarcating the institution: “Looking in the direction of the sound, he saw two women on the inside of the hedge … . Out of the corner of his eye, he saw that both women were wearing short-sleeved kimonos with the same striped pattern” (Hōjō n.p.). This scene is recalled when Oda is in the bath:</p> <blockquote> <p>a nurse showed him a new kimono as she said, “When you get out, put this on please”. The kimono was of the same striped pattern he had seen the two women wearing as he watched from outside the hedge. With its light sleeves, it looked like a kimono an elementary school student might wear, and when Oda got out of the bath and put it on, he felt he cut a shabby and ludicrous figure. He kept looking down at himself. (Hōjō n.p.)</p> </blockquote> <p>For many hospital residents in the 1930s, these issued garments would be all the clothing they had. The uniform clothing of the institution served as another way to mark the illness of the wearer on the body—fashion becomes an additional mark of stigma. Indeed, in images from that time, sufferers of Hansen’s disease are immediately identifiable not only through the manifestations of the illness on their bodies but through their clothing as well. In the three images shown below, residents wearing institutionally issued kimono are immediately identifiable through their clothing, making a resident wearing what is likely a chequered, personal kimono in the final image stand out. Furthermore, the doctors are also clearly identifiable amongst them, dressed in white and covered from head to toe.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/picture3.jpg" alt="" width="773" height="563" /></p> <p><em>Fig. 3: Men sharing tea at a work station, wearing the standard issue kimono. Image courtesy of the National Hansen’s Disease Museum, Tokyo, Japan.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/picture4.jpg" alt="" width="1685" height="1234" /></em></p> <p><em>Fig. 4: A group of blind patients together with medical professionals. Image courtesy of the National Hansen’s Disease Museum, Tokyo, Japan.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/picture5.jpg" alt="" width="868" height="521" /></em></p> <p><em>Fig. 5: Promotional postcard from Zensh</em><em>ō</em><em>-en in the early 1930s featuring patients, medical professionals, and an officer together on the veranda of a housing ward. Image from the author’s personal collection. </em></p> <p>Yet, as can also be seen above, there was still difference in clothing within the institution. First, because all work was performed by residents of the institution, patients would wear work-appropriate clothes, such as the aprons some women wear in fig. 4. Second, as can be seen in fig. 5 in the standing figure second from right, some patients did in fact have their own clothing within the hospital. This was, as I have discussed, fashion as resistance of a stigmatised identity, but for those within the institution personal kimono was also a performance of class and connection to home through their fashion. For example, Nogiku, a writer from Seishō-en, wrote:</p> <blockquote> <p>In the package sent to me<br />A yukata handwoven by my mother<br />送り来し母の手織の浴衣かな (<em>Moshiogusa</em>, 20)</p> </blockquote> <p>A second poem from Hayashi Michiko, also from Seishō-en, expressed similar sentiments years later:</p> <blockquote> <p>This was sewn for me<br />By my mother<br />When it was decided I would go to the leprosarium<br />癩園に行くが決まりしわがために母縫ひくれし単衣ぞこれは (<em>Seish</em><em>ō</em> 18)</p> </blockquote> <p>For many residents, institutionalisation meant a severing of ties with their families and communities. The stigma associated with the illness meant that a family would face discrimination in work and marriage prospects if it were widely known a relative had been diagnosed with Hansen’s disease. For many other patients, even if they were undeterred by the stigma, their families could not afford to send packages or visit. The receipt of a <em>yukata</em>, or Japanese summer garb, or special clothing handmade by the authors’ mothers are not only fashion; they also serve as a physical representation of a continued connection to family and society outside of the institution and of the social status of the poet. The privilege of wearing private clothes in the institution, then, was a marker of both class and continued connection to society beyond the hospital. In that sense, private fashion was also a way to resist the stigma of the disease through a clear association with the uniform of the institution.</p> <h1><strong>Conclusion</strong></h1> <p>Clothing and makeup are ephemeral objects, often things that are used every day and then discarded when they are worn out or used up. They are items that people often use as routine, without thinking. The fact that writers diagnosed with Hansen’s disease traced their experiences with illness and stigma through makeup and clothing indicates the deep, symbolic meaning these items were imbued with after a diagnosis. More than a way to express oneself, or play with identities, as other contributions in this issue discuss, for people diagnosed with Hansen’s disease, makeup, and clothing became a way to use fashion as concealment, as well as a physical connection to home and social status. Makeup and clothing were a way to resist stigma and fashion to a “not-yet-discredited” identity, to conceal the markers of illness and quarantine. The importance of makeup and fashion as a mode of concealment can be seen in writing by people who experienced illness and quarantine.</p> <p><em>All translations in this article are the author’s own.</em></p> <h2><strong>Acknowledgements</strong></h2> <p>The research for this article was conducted with the support of Grant-in-Aid for Early-Career Scientists 20K12936.</p> <h2><strong>References</strong></h2> <p>Abe, Masako, ed. <em>Soka</em> [Poems That Resonate]. Tokyo: Kōseisha, 2021.</p> <p>Burns, Susan. <em>Kingdom of the Sick: A History of Leprosy and Japan</em>. University of Hawai’i Press, 2019.</p> <p>Davidson, Michael. “Introduction: Women Writing Disability.” <em>Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers </em>30.1 (2013): 1-17.</p> <p>Elfving-Hwang, Joanna. “Cosmetic Surgery and Embodying the Moral Self in South Korean Popular Makeover Culture.” <em>The Asia-Pacific Journal</em> 11.24.2 (2013). 4 Aug. 2022 &lt;<a href="https://apjjf.org/2013/11/24/Joanna-Elfving-Hwang/3956/article.html">https://apjjf.org/2013/11/24/Joanna-Elfving-Hwang/3956/article.html</a>&gt;.</p> <p>Goffman, Erving. <em>Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates</em>. New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday (1961).</p> <p>———. <em>Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity.</em> New York: Simon &amp; Schuster (1963).</p> <p>Gussow, Zachary. Leprosy, Racism, and Public Health: Social Policy in Chronic Disease Control. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1989.</p> <p>Higuchi Kiyoyuki. <em>Kesh</em><em>ō</em><em> no bunka shi</em> [A Cultural History of Cosmetics]. Tokyo: Kokusai shōgyō shuppan, 1982.</p> <p>Hirokawa, Waka. <em>Kindai Nihon no Hansen-byō mondai to chiiki shakai</em> [Modern Japan’s Hansen’s Disease Problem and Local Communities]. Osaka: Osaka daigaku shuppankai, 2011.</p> <p>Hōjō Tamio, translated and with an introduction by Kathryn M. Tanaka. “‘Life's First Night’ and the Treatment of Hansen's Disease in Japan.” <em>The Asia-Pacific Journal</em> .13.3 (2015). 4 Aug. 2022 &lt;<a href="https://apjjf.org/2015/13/4/Hojo-Tamio/4256.html">https://apjjf.org/2015/13/4/Hojo-Tamio/4256.html</a>&gt;.</p> <p>Kawamura Masayuki and Uchida Morito, eds. <em>Hi no kage dai ni sh</em><em>ū</em> [The Shade of the Cypress 2]. Kumamoto: Hi no kage hakkojō, 1929.</p> <p>Kokuritsu Hansen-byō shiryōkan, ed. <em>Kimono ni miru ryōyōjo no kurashi</em> [Life in the Sanatoria as Seen through Clothing]. Tokyo: Nihon Kagaku gijutsu shinkō zaidan, 2010.</p> <p>Miller, Laura. <em>Beauty Up: Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetics. </em>Los Angeles: U of California P, 2006.</p> <p><em>Moshiogusa</em> [Eelgrass] 40 (Sep. 1937).</p> <p><em>Seishō</em> [Young Pine] 21.6 (July 1964).</p> <p>Talley, Heather Laine. <em>Saving Face: Disfigurement and the Politics of Appearance</em>. New York: NYU P, 2014.</p> <p>Tyler, Imogen. <em>Stigma: The Machinery of Inequality.</em> London: Zed Books, 2020.</p> <p>Uchida Morito, ed. <em>Seto no Akebono</em> [Dawn over the Inland Sea]. Tokyo: Fujokaisha, 1939.</p> <p>Uchida Morito, ed. <em>Hagi no satojima</em> [Island of the Bushclover]. Tokyo: Fujokaisha, 1939.</p> Kathryn M. Tanaka Copyright (c) 2022 Kathryn M. Tanaka http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2919 Wed, 05 Oct 2022 00:00:00 +0000 From Secret Fashion Shoots to the #100projectors https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2929 <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/picture6.jpg" alt="" width="1033" height="1623" /></p> <p><em>Fig 1: Image from a secret Rangoon fashion shoot. Photograph: Myanmar Photo Archive / Lukas Birk.</em></p> <h1><strong>Introduction</strong></h1> <p><em><strong>NOTE: </strong>Rangoon, Burma has been known as Yangon, Myanmar, since 2006. I use Rangoon and Burma for the period prior to 2006 and Yangon and Myanmar for the period thereafter. In addition, I have removed the name of any activist currently in Myanmar due to the recent policy of executing political prisoners. </em></p> <p>On 1 February 2021, Myanmar was again plunged into political turmoil when the military illegally overthrew the country’s democratically elected government. This is the third time Myanmar, formally known as Burma, has been subject to a coup d’état; violent seizures of power took place in 1962 and in 1988-90. While those two earlier military governments met with opposition spearheaded by students and student organisations, in 2021 the military faced organised resistance through a mass Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) initiated by government healthcare workers who refused to come to work. They were joined by private sector “strikes” and, perhaps most visible of all to western viewers, mass street demonstrations “led” by “Gen Z” activists—young people who had come of age during Myanmar’s brief decade of democracy.</p> <p>There is little doubt that the success of the CDM and associated protests is due to the widespread coverage and reach of social media as well as the creative communications skills of the country’s first “generation of digital natives”, who are sufficiently familiar and comfortable with social platforms to “participate and shape their identities in communication and dialogue with global digital media content” (Jordt <em>et al</em>. 12 ). The leveraging of global culture, including the use of English in protest signs, was notable in garnering international media coverage and so keeping Myanmar’s political plight front-of-mind with governments around the world. Yet this is not the whole story behind the effectiveness of these campaigns. As Lisa Brooten argues, contemporary networks are built on “decades of behind-the-scenes activism to build a multi-ethnic civil society” (East Asia Forum). The leading democracy activist, Min Ko Naing, aligned “veteran activists from previous generations with novice Gen Z activists”, declaring “this revolution represents a combination of Generations X, Y and Z in fighting against the military dictatorship’” (Jordt <em>et al</em>. 18). Similarly, the creative strategies used by 2021’s digital campaigners also build on protests by earlier generations of young, creative people.</p> <p>This paper looks at two creative protest across the generations. The first is “secret” fashion photography of the late 1970s collected in Lukas Birk’s <em>Yangon Fashion 1979 – Fashion=Resistance</em>. The second is the contemporary <em>#100projectors</em> campaign, a “projection project for Myanmar democracy movement against the military dictatorship” (in the interest of full disclosure, I took part in the <em>#100projectors</em> project). Drawing from the contemporary advertising principle of “segmentation”, the communications practice where potential consumers are divided into “subgroups … based on specific characteristics and needs” (WARC 1), as well as contemporary thinking on the “aesthetics” of “cosmopolitanism”, (Papastergiadis, Featherstone, and Christensen), I argue that contemporary creative strategies can be traced back to the creative tactics of resistance employed by earlier generations of protesters and their re-imagining of “national space and its politics” (Christensen 556) in the interstices of cosmopolitan Rangoon, Burma, and Yangon, Myanmar.</p> <h1><a href="https://instagram.com/100projectors"><em>#100projectors</em></a></h1> <p>Myanmar experienced two distinct periods of military rule, the Socialist era between 1962 and 1988 under General Ne Win and the era under the State Law and Order Restoration Council – State Peace and Development Council between 1988 and 2011. These were followed by a semi-civilian era from 2011 to 2021 (Carlson 117). The coup in 2021 marks a return to extreme forms of control, censorship, and surveillance.</p> <p>Ne Win’s era of military rule saw a push for Burmanisation enforced through “significant cultural restrictions”, ostensibly to protect national culture and unity, but more likely to “limit opportunities for internal dissent” (Carlson 117). Cultural restrictions applied to art, literature, film, television, as well as dress. Despite these prohibitions, in the 1970s Rangoon's young people smuggled in illegal western fashion magazines, such as <em>Cosmopolitan</em> and <em>Vogue,</em> and commissioned local tailors to make up the clothes they saw there. Bell-bottoms, mini-skirts, western-style suits were worn in “secret” fashion shoots, with the models posing for portraits at Rangoon photographic studios such as the Sino-Burmese owned Har Si Yone in Chinatown. Some of the wealthier fashionistas even came for weekly shoots. Demand was so high, a second branch devoted to these photographic sessions was opened with its own stock of costumes and accessories. Copies of these head to toe fashion portraits, printed on 12 x 4 cm paper, were shared with friends and family; keeping portrait albums was a popular practice in Burma and had been since the 1920s and 30s (Birk, <em>Burmese Photographers</em> 113). The photos that survive this era are collected in Lukas Birk’s <em>Yangon Fashion 1979 – Fashion=Resistance. </em></p> <p><em>#100projectors</em> was launched in February 2021 by a group of young visual and video artists with the aim of resisting the coup and demanding the return of democracy. Initially a small group of projectionists or “projector fighters”, as the title suggests they plan to amplify their voices by growing their national and international network to 100.</p> <p><em>#100projectors</em> is one of many campaigns, movements, and fundraisers devised by artists and creatives to protest the coup and advocate for revolution in Myanmar. Other notable examples, all run by Gen Z activists, include the <em>Easter Egg</em>, <em>Watermelon</em>, <em>Flash</em>, and <em>Marching Shoes</em> strikes. The <em>Marching Shoe Strike</em>, which featured images of flowers in shoes, representing those who had died in protests, achieved a reach of 65.2 million in country with 1.4 million interactions across digital channels (VERO, 64) and all of these campaigns were covered by the international press, including <em>The Guardian</em>, <em>Reuters</em>, <em>The Straits Times</em>, and <em>VOA East Asia Pacific Session</em>, as well as arts magazines around the world (for example <a href="https://hyperallergic.com/637088/myanmar-protests-harness-creativity-and-humor/"><em>Hyperallergic</em></a>, published in Brooklyn). <em>#100projectors</em> material has been projected in Finland, Scotland, and Australia. The campaign was written about in various art magazines and their <em>Video #7</em> was screened at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in February 2022 as part of <a href="https://m.facebook.com/events/989232051802620"><em>Defiant Art: A Year of Resistance to the Myanmar Coup</em></a>. </p> <p>At first glance, these two examples seem distant in both their aims and achievements. Fashion photos, taken in secret and shared privately, could be more accurately described as a grassroots social practice rather than a political movement. While Birk describes the act of taking these images as “a rebellion” and “an escape” in a political climate when “a pair of flowers and a pair of sunglasses might just start a revolution”, the fashionistas’ photographs seem “ephemeral” at best, or what Mina Roces describes as the subtlest form of resistance or ‘weapons of the weak’ (Scott in Roces 7).</p> <p>By contrast, <em>#100projectors</em> has all the hallmarks of a polished communications campaign. They have a logo and slogans: “We fight for light” and “The revolution must win”. There is a media plan, which includes the use of digital channels, encrypted messaging, live broadcasts, as well as in-situ projections. Finally, there is a carefully “targeted” audience of potential projectionists.</p> <p>It is this process of defining a target audience, based on segmentation, that is particularly astute and sophisticated. Traditionally, segmentation defined audiences based on demographics, geodemographics, and self-identification. However, in the online era segments are more likely to be based on behaviour and activities revealed in search data as well as shares, depending on preferences for privacy and permission. Put another way, as a digital subject, “you are what you choose to share” (WARC 1). The audience for <em>#100projectors</em> includes artists and creative people around the world who choose to share political video art. They are connected through digital platforms including Facebook as well as encrypted messaging. Yet this contemporary description of digital subjectivity, “you are what you choose to share”, also neatly describes the Yangon fashionistas and the ways in which they resist the political status quo.</p> <p>Photographic portraits have always been popular in Burma and so this collection does not look especially radical. Initially, the portraits seem to speak only about status, taste, and modernity. Several subjects within the collection are shown in national or ethnic dress, in keeping with the governments edict that Burma consisted of 135 ethnicities and 8 official races. In addition, there is a portrait of a soldier in full uniform. But the majority of the images are of men and women in “modern” western gear typical of the 1970s. With their wide smiles and careful poses, these men and women look like they’re performing sophisticated worldliness as well as showing off their wealth. They are cosmopolitan adepts taking part in international culture. Status is implicit in the accessories, from sunglasses to jewellery. One portrait is shot at mid-range so that it clearly features a landline phone. In 1970s Burma, this was an object out of reach for most. Landlines were both prohibitively expensive and reserved for the true elites. To make a phone call, most people had to line up at special market stalls. To be photographed with a phone, in western clothes (to be photographed at all), seems more about aspiration than anarchy.</p> <p>In the context of Ne Win’s Burma, however, the portraits clearly capture a form of political agency. Burma had strict edicts for dress and comportment: kissing in public was banned and Burmese citizens were obliged to wear Burmese dress, with western styles considered degenerate. Long hair, despite being what Burmese men traditionally wore prior to colonisation, was also deemed too western and consequently “outlawed” (Edwards 133). Dress was not only proscribed but hierarchised and heavily gendered; only military men had “the right to wear trousers” (Edwards 133). Public disrespect of the all-powerful, paranoid, and vindictive military (known as “sit tat” for military or army versus “Tatmadaw” for the good Myanmar army) was dangerous bordering on the suicidal. Consequently, wearing shoulder-length hair, wide bell bottoms, western-style suits, and “risqué” mini-skirts could all be considered acts of at least daring and definitely defiance. Not only are these photographs a challenge to gender constructions in a country ruled by a hyper-masculine army, but these images also question the nature of what it meant to be Burmese at a time when Burmeseness itself was rigidly codified. Recording such acts on film and then sharing the images entailed further risk. Thus, these models are, as Mina Roces puts it, “express[ing] their agency through sartorial change” (Roces 5). </p> <p><em><img src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/picture7.jpg" alt="" width="1142" height="1965" /></em></p> <p><em>Fig. 2: Image from a secret Rangoon fashion shoot – illicit dress and hair. Photograph: Myanmar Photo Archive / Lukas Birk.</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/picture8.jpg" alt="" width="1211" height="1797" /></em></p> <p><em>Fig. 3: Image from a secret Rangoon fashion shoot. Photograph: Myanmar Photo Archive / Lukas Birk.</em></p> <p>Roces also notes the “challenge” of making protest visible in spaces “severely limited” under authoritarian regimes (Roces 10). Burma under the Socialist government was a particularly difficult place in which to mount any form of resistance. Consequences included imprisonment or even execution, as in the case of the student leader Tin Maung Oo. Ma Thida, a writer and human rights advocate herself jailed for her work, explains the use of creative tools such as metaphor in a famous story about a crab by the writer and journalist Hanthawaddy U Win Tin:</p> <blockquote> <p>The crab, being hard-shelled, was well protected and could not be harmed. However, the mosquito, despite being a far smaller animal, could bite the eyes of the crab, leading to the crab’s eventual death. ... Readers drew the conclusion that the socialist government of Ne Win was the crab that could be destabilized if a weakness could be found. (Thida 317)</p> </blockquote> <p>If the metaphor of a crab defeated by a mosquito held political meaning, then being photographed in prohibited fashions was a more overt way of making defiance and resistant “visible”.</p> <p>While that visibility seems ephemeral, the fashionistas also found a way not only to be seen by the camera in their rebellious clothing, but also by a “public” or audience of those with whom they shared their images. The act of exchanging portraits, what Birk describes as “old-school Instagram”, anticipates not only the shared selfie, but also the basis of successful contemporary social campaigns, which relied in part on networks sharing posts to amplify their message (Birk, <em>Yangon Fashion</em> 17). What the fashionistas also demonstrate is that an act of rebellion can also be a means of testing the limits of conformity, of the need for beauty, of the human desire to look beautiful. Acts of rebellion are also acts of celebration and so, solidarity.</p> <p><em><img src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/picture9.jpg" alt="" width="1073" height="1650" /></em></p> <p><em>Fig. 4: Image from a secret Rangoon fashion shoot – illicit dress length. Photograph: Myanmar Photo Archive / Lukas Birk.</em></p> <p><img src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/picture10.jpg" alt="" width="1069" height="1632" /></p> <p><em>Fig. 5: Image from a secret Rangoon fashion shoot – illicit trousers. Photograph: Myanmar Photo Archive / Lukas Birk.</em></p> <p>As the art critic and cultural theorist Nikos Papastergiadis writes, “the cosmopolitan imagination in contemporary art could be defined as an aesthetic of openness that engenders a global sense of inter-connectedness” (207). Inter-connectedness and its possibilities and limits shape the aesthetic imaginary of both the secret fashion shoots of 1970s Rangoon and the artists and videographers of 2021. In the videos of the <em>#100projectors</em> project and the fashion portraits of stylish Rangoonites, interconnection comes as a form of aesthetic blending, a conversation that transcends the border.</p> <p>The sitter posing in illicit western clothes in a photo studio in the heart of Rangoon, then Burma’s capital and seat of power, cannot help but point out that borders are permeable, and that national identity is temporally-based, transitory, and full of slippages. In this spot, 40-odd years earlier, Burmese nationalists used dress as a means of publicly supporting the nationalist cause (Edwards, Roces). </p> <p>Like the portraits, the <em>#100projector</em> videos blend global and local perspectives on Myanmar. Combining paintings, drawings, graphics, performance art recordings, as well as photography, the work shares the ‘instagrammable’ quality of the <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CNPfvtAMSom/"><em>Easter Egg</em></a>, <em>Watermelon</em>, and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/artphy_1/"><em>Marching Shoes</em></a> strikes with their bright colours and focus on people—or the conspicuous lack of people and the example of the <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CZJ5gg6vxZw/"><em>Silent Strike</em></a>. Graphics are in Burmese as well as English. <em>Video #6</em> was linked to International Women’s Day. Other graphics reference American artists such as Shepherd Fairey and his <em>Hope</em> poster, which was adapted to feature Aung San Suu Kyi’s face during then-President Obama’s visit in 2012.</p> <p>The videos also include direct messages related to political entities such as <em>Video #3</em>, which voiced support for the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hlutaw (CRPH), a group of 15 elected MPs who represented the ideals of Gen Z youth (Jordt <em>et al</em>., viii). This would not necessarily be understood by an international viewer. Also of note is the prevalence of the colour red, associated with Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD. Red is one of the three “political” colours formerly banned from paintings under SLORC. The other two were white, associated with the flowers Aung Sang Suu Kyi wore in her hair, and black, symbolic of negative feelings towards the regime (Carlson, 145). The Burmese master Aung Myint chose to paint exclusively in the banned colours as an ongoing act of defiance, and these videos reflect that history.</p> <p>The videos and portraits may propose that culturally, the world is interconnected. But implicit in this position is also the failure of “interconnectedness”. The question that arises with every viewing of a video or Instagram post or Facebook plea or groovy portrait is: what can these protesters, despite the risks they are prepared to take, realistically expect from the rest of the world in terms of help to remove the unwanted military government? Interconnected or not, political misfortune is the most effective form of national border.</p> <p>Perhaps the most powerful imaginative association with both the <em>#100projectors</em> video projections and fashionistas portraits is the promise of transformation, in particular the transformations possible in a city like Rangoon / Yangon. In his discussion of the cosmopolitan space of the city, Christensen notes that although “digital transformations touch vast swathes of political, economic and everyday life”, it is the city that retains supreme significance as a space not easily reducible to an entity beneath the national, regional, or global (556). The city is dynamic, “governed by the structural forces of politics and economy as well as moralities and solidarities of both conservative and liberal sorts”, where “othered voices and imaginaries find presence” in a mix that leads to “contestations” (556). Both the fashionistas and the video artists of the <em>#100projectors</em> use their creative work to contest the ‘national’ space from the interstices of the city.</p> <p>In the studio these transformations of the bodies of Burmese subjects into international “citizens of the world” contest Ne Win’s Burma and reimagine the idea of nation. They take place in the Chinatown, a relic of the old, colonial Rangoon, a plural city and one of the world’s largest migrant ports, where "mobility, foreignness and cross-cultural hybridity" were essential to its make-up (Aung Thin 778).</p> <p>In their instructions on how to project their ideas as a form of public art to gain audience, the #100projectors artists suggest projectors get “full on creative with other ways: projecting on people, outdoor cinema, gallery projection” (<em>#100projectors</em>). It is this idea projection as an overlay, a doubling of the everyday that evokes the possibility of transformation. The <em>#100projector</em> videos screen on Rangoon bridges, reconfiguring the city, albeit temporarily. Meanwhile, Rangoon is doubled onto other cities, towns, villages, communities, projected onto screens but also walls, fences, the sides of buildings in Finland, Scotland, Australia, and elsewhere.</p> <h1>Conclusion</h1> <p>In this article I have compared the recent <em>#100projectors</em> creative campaign of resistance against the 2021 coup d’état in Myanmar with the “fashionistas” of 1970 and their “secret” photo shoots. While the <em>#100projectors</em> is a contemporary digital campaign, some of the creative tactics employed, such as dissemination and identifying audiences, can be traced back to the practices of Rangoon’s fashionistas of the 1970s.</p> <p>­­Creative resistance begins with an act of imagination. 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Ethnicity, Belonging, and the National Census in Burma/Myanmar.” <em>Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde</em> 171 (2015): 1–28.</p> <p>Htun Khaing. “Salai Tin Maung Oo, Defiant at the End.” <em>Frontier</em>, 24 July 2017. 1 Aug. 2022 &lt;<a href="https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/salai-tin-maung-oo-defiant-to-the-end">https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/salai-tin-maung-oo-defiant-to-the-end</a>&gt;.</p> <p>Htun, Pwin, and Paula Bock. “Op-Ed: How Women Are Defying Myanmar’s Junta with Sarongs and Cellphones.” <em>Los Angeles Times</em>, 16 Mar. 2021. &lt;<a href="https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-03-16/myanmar-military-women-longyi-protests">https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-03-16/myanmar-military-women-longyi-protests</a>&gt;.</p> <p>Jordt, Ingrid, Tharaphi Than, and Sue Ye Lin. <em>How Generation Z Galvanized a Revolutionary Movement against Myanmar’s 2021 Military Coup</em>. Singapore: Trends in Southeast Asia ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, 2021.</p> <p>Ma Thida. “A ‘Fierce’ Fear: Literature and Loathing after the Junta.” In <em>Myanmar Media in Transition: Legacies, Challenges and Change</em>. Eds. Lisa Brooten, Jane Madlyn McElhone, and Gayathry Venkiteswaran. Singapore: ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute, 2019. 315-323.</p> <p>Myanmar Poster Campaign (@myanmarpostercampaign). “Silent Strike on Feb 1, 2022. We do not forget Feb 1, 2021. We do not forget about the coup. And we do not forgive.” <em>Instagram</em>. &lt;<a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CZJ5gg6vxZw/">https://www.instagram.com/p/CZJ5gg6vxZw/</a>&gt;.</p> <p>Papastergiadias, Nikos. “Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism.” In <em>Routledge International Handbook of Cosmopolitanism Studies</em>. Ed. Gerard Delanty. London: Routledge, 2018. 198-210.</p> <p>Roces, Mina. “Dress as Symbolic Resistance in Asia.” <em>International Quarterly for Asian Studies </em>53.1 (2022): 5-14.</p> <p>Smith, Emiline. “In Myanmar, Protests Harness Creativity and Humor.” <em>Hyperallergic</em>, 12 Apr. 2021. 29 July 2022 &lt;<a href="https://hyperallergic.com/637088/myanmar-protests-harness-creativity-and-humor/">https://hyperallergic.com/637088/myanmar-protests-harness-creativity-and-humor/</a>&gt;.</p> <p>Thin Zar (@Thinzar_313). “Easter Egg Strike.” <em>Instagram</em>. &lt;<a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CNPfvtAMSom/">https://www.instagram.com/p/CNPfvtAMSom/</a>&gt;.</p> <p>VERO. “Myanmar Communication Landscape”. 10 Feb. 2021. &lt;<a href="https://vero-asean.com/a-briefing-about-the-current-situation-in-myanmar-for-our-clients-partners-and-friends/">https://vero-asean.com/a-briefing-about-the-current-situation-in-myanmar-for-our-clients-partners-and-friends/</a>&gt;.</p> <p>World Advertising Research Centre (WARC). “What We Know about Segmentation.” <em>WARC Best Practice</em>, May 2021. &lt;<a href="https://www-warc-com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/content/article/bestprac/what-we-know-about-segmentation/110142">https://www-warc-com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/content/article/bestprac/what-we-know-about-segmentation/110142</a>&gt;.</p> Michelle Diane Aung Thin Copyright (c) 2022 Michelle Diane Aung Thin http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2929 Wed, 05 Oct 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Prince(ss) Charming of the Japanese Popular Theatre https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2920 <h1><strong><em>Taish</em></strong><strong><em>ū engeki</em>—Entertainment for the Masses?</strong></h1> <p>What do a highway robber, a samurai, and a geisha have in common? They are all played by the same actor, often at the same time, in an incredible flurry of costume change, in a contemporary form of Japanese theatre called <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em>. <em>Taish</em><em>ū engeki</em>, translated as vaudeville, literally, “theatre for the masses”, would be better described as a parallel world of fantasy, glitter, and manga-esque beautiful men wearing elaborate wigs and even more elaborate kimonos, who dance and gracefully sway their hips to portray women, and simultaneously do their best to seduce the overwhelmingly female audience. <em>Taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> represents an escape into a world of romances enacted through dance, of tragic love stories that somehow end well when the main character reappears in the second act as a brilliant dragon-slaying god, and of literal dances with dragons. One performance by dance troupe Gekidan Kokoro included <em>onna-gata buy</em><em>ō</em> (traditional Japanese dance performed by a man playing the part of a woman), a play about brotherly love and devotion where the glamorous actor from the first part was a not too bright young boy (depicted with snot running down his nose), more crossdressing and dancing, a few shamisen songs, a totally unexpected breakdancing piece, and a collaboration with Iwami Kagura—a famous group from Shimane who performs sacred dances in association with various Shinto rituals.</p> <p>Despite being able to combine theatrical skills with dance and acrobatic feats, <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> is seen as a minor theatrical genre, often included in the category of folk arts (Kurata 42), or “low art” intended merely for fun and entertainment” (Endo 151). Although the name would indicate that is addresses a wider audience (which may have been the case decades ago, when cheap entertainment was not so readily available as it is today), <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> caters to a specific category of people. The performers are organised in small itinerant troupes who spend about one month in a specific location, putting on two shows daily—one starting at noon, and one in the evening. In most cases, the show has two parts: one is a play, followed by a free program of dancing, acrobatic features, and even playing instruments such as drums or shamisen. The audience itself consists of two categories: the local people, living in the vicinity of the small theatres where performances are held, and who might attend each new show two or three times, and the fans, who follow their favourite actor from place to place to the limit of their time and financial resources.</p> <p>When it comes to performing arts, Japan’s most famous form of theatre is definitely kabuki: a performative genre highly appreciated by the Japanese and whose extravagant costumes and make-up, as well as exaggerated gestures eliminate some of the language barriers and make it (at least to a certain degree) comprehensible to non-Japanese speakers. Besides kabuki, noh (a highly ritualised form of theatre characterised by its use of masks) and bunraku (puppet theatre) are most often mentioned together, popular both within and outside the borders of Japan as entertainment and objects of scholarly research.</p> <p>As a scholar of Japanese studies, I had learned about these three categories in my first year as an undergraduate student, but it took me over ten years in Japan to discover <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em>, something that Robert Schneider and Nathan Schneider (256) ironically call “a weed in Japan’s exquisite garden of classical theatre and a living fossil in the detritus of Asian modernity”. Is <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki </em>really a fossil or a weed accidentally left on the stage of classical theatre? Its faithful fans would beg to differ, and so would the accomplishments of some troupes, who are entirely self-sufficient, renting the venues where they perform and travelling with their own light and sound systems, as well as hundreds of exquisite costumes and wigs. To give just an example, Aotsuki Shinya, the leader of Gekidan Kokoro, told me that he possesses more than two hundred wigs, and mid-September this year will attempt to perform 120 different dances, with different costumes, during the three days that will celebrate his birthday.</p> <p>In contrast with noh or kabuki, where each gesture is highly stylised and must be performed in a pre-defined order, in a set context, <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki </em>is flexible: plays are based on known stories, but the plot is overly simplified, so that the audience can focus on the main characters and the way they perform more than on the storyline, and the second act is actually the main attraction of the show, when the actors can showcase their special skills to the delight of the audience.</p> <p>Kabuki developed in the seventeenth century, and it was aimed at the “common people”, while “the true professionals, the performers of the [noh] and the <em>ky</em><em>ōgen</em> [comedy], began to retreat behind the curtain of refinement” (Tsubaki 4). In the twenty-first century, noh has become more of a mixture of performance and ritual, appreciated by a small number of specialists, and often staged to accompany religious manifestations. Kabuki, on the other hand, has taken its place as the most valued theatrical art, with fans and aficionados vying for the best seats (whose prices can go up to 30,000 Japanese yen, and yet are hard to procure), but <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki </em>shows no signs that it might ever reach that level of popularity. In 1995 Marilyn Ivy saw it as a “discourse of the vanishing”, an art that might disappear as, while “it appears to carry on an unarguably Japanese knowledge” (239), it has failed to create a “boom” or a vast audience. While novelty is part of the performance, it seems to somehow be not new enough, not entrancing enough. The actors are talented, creative, and versatile, but they do not attain the fame level of their kabuki counterparts.</p> <p>Despite all these, as an anthropologist, I could not help but wonder why <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> has not attracted more scholarly interest. The studies on this topic, both in Japanese and English, are far less numerous than those on butoh, for example, “a post-modern dance genre” which has been the focus of both practical and theoretical interest on the part of Japanese studies specialists. To give just an example, in his book on Japanese theatre, Benito Ortolani has a subchapter on butoh, but does not even mention <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki.</em></p> <h1><strong>Prince(ss) Charming</strong></h1> <p>My first encounters with <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> were due to a class project—I had started teaching a class on theatre as ritual performance, and wanted my students to have a first-hand experience. The project was a success: students who had shown no enthusiasm at all when reading the syllabus were mesmerised once the performance had begun, to the level that they had attended shows by themselves, and even started following the actors on various social networks. <em>Taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> surpasses all expectations of a first-time viewer. It follows a canon, just like kabuki, but that canon is audience-oriented, so without having ever been part of that audience, it is difficult to imagine what will happen on stage.</p> <p>As mentioned above, each performance has two parts: the first one is a play, whose content changes during the one-month performance, usually based on historical events familiar to the audience, but not restricted to that, an intermission during which the leader of the troupe greets the audience, talks about the schedule for the remainder of the month, and promotes the merchandise available for sale (T-shirts, fans, boxes of sweets), followed by a free-style show where the performers are free to display their best skills. Photography is not allowed during the first part—and this may be due to the fact that most troupe leaders create their own plays using the vast available materials, and are reluctant to share that with other troupes—but is encouraged during the second part. Video taking is forbidden at all times.</p> <p>Crossdressing is a significant part of the performance, with men playing the part of women who are attractive to other women, and women playing the part of men who also attract women. The actresses, however, never become the star of the troupe. Just like in the case of Takarazuka Theatre, where the <em>otoko yaku</em> (women playing the male roles) receive significantly more appreciation than the female counterparts, the heavily made-up male actors of <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> represent the dreamy ideal of their dedicated fans. Each performing group is centered around one male actor who is representative of the troupe—usually the leader or the leader’s son, and who gathers a dedicated fan base composed of women (most of whom are middle-aged or older). These women try to attend as many shows as they can, literally showering their favourite actor with money.</p> <p>The few available studies on <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> tended to focus on two major aspects: crossdressing (mostly of the <em>onnagata</em>—men playing women—type) and on the money the actors receive while on stage.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/image-1.png" alt="" width="968" height="908" /></p> <p><em>Fig. 1: An actor on the Gofukuza Stage (Osaka) displaying money gifts, 13 June 2018.</em></p> <p>Schneider and Schneider, for example, looked into how gender is performed, and what rules are applied when performing gender. Their conclusion? There are no clear rules, as “<em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> plays <em>with</em> gender, but it also quite simply <em>plays</em> gender” (262). My own interest was not in the actual gender performed, but in the most pervasive and permanent element of all <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki </em>performances: seduction. Those who go to see these shows may do so for mere amusement—and their expectations are never disappointed, as the costumes are complex and flamboyant, and the performers are skilled dancers, but those who go faithfully do so due to their admiration for a certain actor. The first act (the historical play) is a convention where the star appears slightly more human—less make-up, sometimes performing the role of a man—always strong and masculine, which is quite an artistic feat seeing that even in the role of a man, the actors will wear specific make-up and false eyelashes.</p> <p>The Takarazuka Revue, an all-female group founded in 1914, has a large and consistent fan base made-up almost entirely of women who fall in love with the actress playing the main male roles—a phenomenon explained by the desire to temporarily live in a fantasy world. The difference between the Takarazuka actresses and the <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> actors is that the former do not aim to seduce, but to invite the audience into a dream world, while the latter’s goal is to fully entrance.</p> <p>Regardless of the gender they play, the <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki </em>stars create erotic characters, just like their kabuki precursors, where, as Samuel L. Leiter (212) puts it, “eros remained primary”. Dressed in kimonos of intricate patterns that go far outside the lines of tradition, and are representative of the creative spirit of the performer, using make-up which completely transforms their physiognomies through the heavy use of eyeliner, glitter, false eyelashes, and wearing exquisite wigs, the actors invite the audience into a dream world where the Fairy Godmother gave the best dress to the prince, not the princess.</p> <p>For hundreds if not thousands of years, the folktales focussed around the image of a beautiful prince, the <em>kalos kagathos</em> hero (beautiful and virtuous, the ancient Greek ideal) who takes the maiden from distress and into a happily ever after. <em>Taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> heroes switch perspectives: it is not Prince Charming, but Princess Charming, an utterly beautiful creature who enchants the female audience by being the impossible. Princess Charming represents an embodiment of the best possible features—beauty, glamour, grace, sex appeal, elegance—and none of the negative ones—lack of manners, roughness, insensitivity. Moreover, Princess Charming is accessible. For a mere 2,000 yen, anybody can spend three hours in her company, and shaking her hand starts at a similarly low price—2,000 or 3,000 yen for a trinket bought during the intermission, to hand over as a gift during the performance.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/image-2.png" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Fig. 2: Aotsuki Shinya as a romantic lady in a flowing kimono, Gofukuza, 9 July 2022.</em></p> <p>Dressed as females, the actors move their bodies with the grace of a geisha, bat their eyelashes, smile coquettishly, and even wink at the audience. As males, they are either abandoned lovers who drown their sorrows in drink, or fierce warriors dancing with masks and swords. In all circumstances, they present exaggerated feminine or masculine ideals, with the difference that femininity is emphasised through the overuse of garments and accessories, while masculinity will almost always involve a certain degree of nakedness: chest, arms, legs. The reasons are both practical (showing various naked body parts would destroy the dreamy feminine beauty wrapped up in layers of cloth and glitter), and symbolic: femininity is mysterious and fragile, and thus cannot easily be revealed, while masculinity must re-assert its strength and vitality.</p> <p>The body presented on stage is more of an artistic act than the performance itself, because it is there that most of the actor’s talent is poured. Creating a persona means borrowing from the “traditional” Japanese culture which includes geisha, courtesans, heavy wigs, and heavily embroidered kimonos, as well as the contemporary manga and cosplay culture. With exaggerated eyes and hairstyles as the central features of the head, the characters moving in front of the audience seem to have directly descended from (or drawn the viewers into, “Take On Me” style) the pages of a fantasy manga.</p> <p>An interview with Aotsuki Shinya (stage name), leader and star of the Kokoro (“Heart”) troupe conducted on 15 June 2022, did not offer any insightful glimpses into the metamorphosis process. While acknowledging that he cannot present his true self on stage, thus using make-up to become Aotsuki Shinya, the actor did not admit to any conscious attempt of becoming attractive. In his own words, all their efforts are for the benefit of the audience, directed towards helping them have fun. “Tanoshii”, “fun” seemed to be a key concept when staging a new performance, and the reasoning behind that is easy to follow. Unlike the more elevated kabuki, a <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> theatre is a small cosy place where the audience can interact quite freely with the performers, who do not shy away from showing momentarily glimpses of the face behind the mask: forgetting a line and admitting to it, laughing at a joke said by another actor, kneeling prettily to receive gifts from their fans.</p> <p>Rather than gender fluid, the bodies in <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki </em>are genderless because they are not, nor do they claim to be, real. An actor on the traditional stage is a photography, or, if the setting includes fantastic elements, a painting of an imaginable universe. An actor on the <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki </em>stage turns their body into a manga drawing: something that does not exist in real life, but it is highly desirable.</p> <p>Kabuki actors staged eroticism by impersonating women; <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki </em>actors play with desire becoming in turns both Cinderella and the Prince.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/image-3.png" alt="" /></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/image-4.png" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Figs. 3 &amp; 4: Aotsuki Shinya as a fantastic character (fig. 3) and as the god Susano-wo slaying the dragon (fig. 4).</em></p> <h1><strong>“Fantasy, Sweet Fantasy”</strong></h1> <p>Analysing the loyalty that Takarazuka actresses inspire into their fans, Makiko Yamanashi interprets it as something that goes beyond (dreams of) physical love or mere escapism, and sees it as the desire to belong to an ideal community of women—friends, sisters, mothers. While not wrong, this approach seems to gloss over the real erotic feelings and the longing for something not of this world which are most definitely present among performative arts (be they kabuki, revue, vaudeville, butoh, modern theatre) aficionados.</p> <p>The men performed by the Takarazuka actresses do not exist in real life, and just as in the case of <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> actors, make-up plays a crucial role. Lorie Brau even mentions an incident where an American director hired to stage a production of “West Side Story” required the actresses playing male roles to give up their false eyelashes—a change that did not last after the director left (86).</p> <p>The <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> actors are warriors who bring back to life the god Izanagi, the creator of Japan, who fought an army of underworld monsters, while wearing eyeliner, eyelashes, and sparkling make-up. They are completely unrecognisable without make-up, and yet changing their appearance takes approximately ten minutes, much less than it would take a drag queen to turn from ordinary man into glamorous woman (at least forty minutes). I am not mentioning here the drag queens by chance—the two types of performances are similar enough that they lead to collaborations. On 10 June 2022, the troupe Kokoro performed at the Gofukuza Theatre in Umeda in the company of five drag queens well known on the Osaka stage: Feminina, Rulu Daisy, Madame Cocco, Ozu, and Il Rosa.</p> <p>One characteristic of drag performances is that they are actor-centred: they are not about the storyline, but about the performer’s creation—“channeling your inner femininity, fusing it with the male, and creating something otherworldly” (Hastings). The noticeable difference between drag and <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> is that drag is actor-oriented, while <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> is audience-oriented. Drag queens interact with the audiences and entertain, but the focus is internal, towards freeing something that had been developing within. <em>Taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> actors do choose their characters, of course, and have individual preferences, but this is secondary to their goal of captivating the audiences. Both categories of performers learn to re-invent their bodies, to re-create them on stage; however, in one case we witness an individual metamorphosis from real life to theatrical persona, and in the other we have one individual who can shapeshift into whatever character might work better magic on the people in front of him. Drag is about freedom while <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki </em>is about seduction.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/image-5.png" alt="" width="968" height="807" /></p> <p><em>Fig. 5: Il Rosa and two actors of the Shin troupe, Gofukuza, 10 June 2022</em></p> <p><em>Taish</em><em>ū engeki</em> may not be kabuki: it is not celebrated by the media or the researchers, and many people in contemporary Japanese society see it as an inferior form of entertainment. Considering the low price of the tickets and the fact that shows are seldom sold out, one might worry about its future. Nevertheless, a visit to the backstage of Gofukuza during the month when Shin was performing revealed a large room full of costumes, and another one full of wig boxes—more than two hundred, according to Aotsuki Shinya. The Shin troupe was founded five years ago, so everything was still new and shiny—a sign that the genre will not disappear any time in the near future. The same visit, when I could interact with the actors in their day-to-day attires, using their regular voices, and standing near the costumes and wigs like exhibits in a museum, made one more thing acutely clear: the fact that their performances are a fantasy world. More of a fantasy world than a kabuki performance (to remain consistent with the comparison), where the setting is clearly a setting, separate from the audience. The blurred lines between stage and audience, between performance and flirting of the <em>taish</em><em>ū engeki </em>create a tangible fantasy, where one can not only fall in love with the Prince(ss) Charming, but maybe even take them to a ball.</p> <h2><strong>References</strong></h2> <p>Brau, Lorie. “The Women’s Theater of Takarazuka”. <em>TDR</em> 34.4 (Winter 1990): 79-95.</p> <p>Endo, Yukihide. “Reconsidering the Traveling Theater of Today’s Japan: An Interdisciplinary Approach to a Stigmatized Form of Japanese Theater.” <em>Athens Journal of Humanities and Arts</em> 2.3.</p> <p>Hastings, Magnus. <em>Why Drag?</em> Hong Kong: Chronicle Books, 2016.</p> <p>Ivy, Marilyn. <em>Discourses of the Vanishing. Modernity Phantasm Japan</em>. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1995.</p> <p>Kurata, Ryosuke. “Taishū Engeki as a Show Business: Exploring the Segmentation of Customers.” <em>Mathesis Universalis </em>17.2.</p> <p>Leiter, Samuel L. “From Gay to <em>Gei</em>: The <em>Onnagata</em> and the Creation of <em>Kabuki</em>’s Female Characters.” In <em>A Kabuki Reader: History and Performance</em>, ed. Samuel L. Leitner. New York: M. E. Sharpe, 2002. 211-229.</p> <p>Ortolani, Benito. <em>The Japanese Theatre. From Shamanistic Ritual to Contemporary Pluralism</em>. New Jersey: Princeton UP, 1995.</p> <p>Schneider, Robert, and Nathan Schneider. “A Dive and a Dance with Kabuki Vaudeville: <em>Taish</em><em>ū Engeki</em> Comes Back!” <em>New Theater Quarterly</em> 36.3 (2020). 29 July 2020 &lt;<a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/new-theatre-quarterly/article/abs/dive-and-a-dance-with-kabuki-vaudeville-taishu-engeki-comes-back/BB72486E86C79B70730B6F2DB5EC0FF8">https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/new-theatre-quarterly/article/abs/dive-and-a-dance-with-kabuki-vaudeville-taishu-engeki-comes-back/BB72486E86C79B70730B6F2DB5EC0FF8&gt;</a>.</p> <p>Yamanashi, Makiko<em>. A History of the Takarazuka Revue Since 1914: Modernity, Girls’ Culture, Japan Pop</em>. Leiden: Global Oriental, 2012.</p> Carmen Săpunaru Tămaș Copyright (c) 2022 Carmen Sapunaru Tamas http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2920 Wed, 05 Oct 2022 00:00:00 +0000 The Iconic 21st Century Activist "T-Shirt and Tote-Bag" Combination Is Hard to Miss These Days! https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2922 <h1>Introduction</h1> <p>Fashion has long been associated with resistance movements across Asia and Australia, from the hand-spun cotton <em>Khadi </em>of Mahatma Gandhi’s freedom struggle to the traditional ankle length robe worn by Tibetans in the ‘White Wednesday Movement’ (Singh <em>et al</em>.; Yangzom). There are many reasons why fashion and activism have been interlinked. Fashion can serve as a form of nonverbal communication (Crane), which can convey activists’ grievances and concerns while symbolising solidarity (Doerr). It can provide an avenue to enact individual agency against repressive, authoritarian regimes (Yangzom; Doerr <em>et al</em>.). Fashion can codify a degree of uniformity within groups and thereby signal social identity (Craik), while also providing a means of building community (Barry and Drak). Fashion, therefore, offers activists the opportunity to develop the three characteristics which unite a social or environmental movement: a shared concern about an issue, a sense of social identity, and connections between individuals and groups.</p> <p>But while these fashion functions map onto movement characteristics, it remains unclear whether activists across the world deliberately include fashion into their protest action repertoires. This uncertainty exists partly because of a research and media focus on large scale, mass protests (Lester and Hutchins), where fashion characteristics are immediately visible and amenable to retrospective interpretation. This focus helps explain the rich volume of research examining the manifestation of fashion in past protests, such as the black, red, and yellow colours worn during the 1988 Aboriginal Long March of Freedom, Justice, and Hope (Maynard Dress; Coghlan), and the pink anti-Trump ‘pussyhats’ (Thompson). However, the protest events used to identify these fashion characteristics are a relatively small proportion of actions used by environmental activists (Dalton <em>et al</em>.; Gulliver <em>et al</em>.), which include not only rallies and marches, but also information evenings, letter writing sessions, and eco-activities such as tree plantings.</p> <p>This article aims to respond to Barnard’s (<em>Looking</em>) call for more empirical work on what contemporary cultural groups visually do with what they wear (see also Gerbaudo and Treré) via a content analysis of 36,676 events promoted on Facebook by 728 Australian environmental groups between 2010 and 2019. The article firstly reports findings from an analysis of this dataset to identify how fashion manifests in environmental activism, building on research demonstrating the role of protest-related nonverbal communications, such as protest signage (Bloomfield and Doolin), images (Kim), and icons, slogans, and logos (Goodnow). The article then considers what activists may seek to achieve through incorporating fashion into their action repertoire, and whether this suggests solidarity with activists seeking to effect environmental change across the wider Asian region.</p> <h1>Fashion Activism</h1> <p>Fashion is created through a particular assemblage of clothes, accessories, and hairstyles (Barry and Drak), which in turn forms a prevailing custom or style of dress (Craik). It is a cultural practice, providing ‘real estate’ (Benda 7) for an individual to express their social roles (Craik) and political identity (Behnke). Some scholars argue that fashion became overtly political during the 1960s and 70s, as social movements politicised appearance (Edwards). This has only increased in relevance with the rise of far right, populist, and authoritarian regimes, whose sub-cultures enact politicised identities through their distinct fashion characteristics (Gaugele and Titton; Gaugele). Fashion can therefore play an important role in protest movements, as “political subjectivities, political authority, political power and discipline are rendered visible, and thereby real, by the way fashion co-establishes them” (Behnke 3).</p> <p>Across the literature scholars have identified two primary avenues by which fashion and activism are connected. The first of these relates to activism targeting the fashion industry. This type of activism is found in both Asia and Australia, and promotes sustainable consumption choices such as buying used goods and transforming existing items (Chung and Yim), as well as highlighting garment worker exploitation within the fashion industry (Khan and Richards). The second avenue is called ‘fashion activism’: the use of fashion to intentionally signal a message seeking to evoke social and/or political change (Thompson). In this conceptualisation, clothing is used to signify a particular message (Crane). An example of this type of fashion activism is the ‘SlutWalk’, a protest where participants deliberately wore outfits described as <em>slutty</em> or <em>revealing</em> as a response to victim-blaming of women who had experienced sexual assault (Thompson). A key element of fashion activism thus appears to be its message intentionality. Clothes are specifically utilised to convey a message, such as a grievance about victim-blaming, which can then be incorporated into design features displayed on t-shirts, pins, and signs both on the runway and in protest events (Titton).</p> <p>However, while this ‘sender/receiver’ model of fashion communication (Barnard, <em>Fashion as</em>) can be compelling for activists, it is complex in practice. A message receiver can never have full knowledge of what message the sender seeks to signify through a particular clothing item, nor can the message sender predict how a receiver will interpret that message. Particular arrangements of clothing only hold communicative power when they are easily interpreted and related to the movement and its message, usually only intelligible to a specific culture or subculture (Goodnow). Even within that subculture it remains problematic to infer a message from a particular style of dress, as demonstrated in examples where dress is used to imply sexual consent; for example, in rape and assault cases (Lennon <em>et al</em>.).</p> <p>Given the challenges of interpreting fashion, do activists appear to use the ‘real estate’ (Benda 7) afforded by it as a protest tool? To investigate this question a pre-existing dataset of 36,676 events was analysed to ascertain if, and how, environmental activism engages with fashion (a detailed methodology is available on the OSF). Across this dataset, event categories, titles, and descriptions were reviewed to collate events connecting environmental activism to fashion. Three categories of events were found and are discussed in the next section: street theatre, sustainable fashion practices, and disruptive protest.</p> <h1>Street Theatre</h1> <p>Street theatre is a form of entertainment which uses public performance to raise awareness of injustices and build support for collective action (Houston and Pulido). It uses costumes as a vehicle for conveying messages about political issues and for making demands visible, and has been utilised by protesters across Australia and Asia (Roces). Many examples of street theatre were found in the dataset. For example, Extinction Rebellion (XR) consistently promoted street theatre events via sub-groups such as the ‘Red Rebels’ – a dedicated team of volunteers specialising in costumed street theatre – as well as by inviting supporters to participate in open street theatre events, such as in the ‘<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/405317520134191/">Halloween Dead Things Disco’</a>.</p> <blockquote> <p>Dressed as spooky skeletons (doot, doot) and ghosts, we'll slide and shimmy down Sydney's streets in a supernatural style, as we bring attention to all the species claimed by the Sixth Mass Extinction.</p> </blockquote> <p>These street theatre events appeared to prioritise spectacle rather than disruption as a means to attract attention to their message. The Cairns and Far North Environment Centre ‘<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1861629737488999/">Climate Action Float’</a>, for example, requested that attendees:</p> <blockquote> <p>Wear blue and gold or dress as your favourite reef animal, solar panel, maybe even the sun itself!? Reef &amp; Solar // Blue &amp; Gold is the guiding theme but we want your creativity take it from there.</p> </blockquote> <p>Most groups used street theatre as one of a range of different actions organised across a period of time. However, <em>Climacts,</em> a performance collective which uses ‘<a href="https://www.facebook.com/climacts">spectacle and satire</a> to communicate the urgency of the climate and biodiversity crisis’ (<em>Climacts</em>), utilised this tactic exclusively. Their Climate Guardians collective used distinctive angel costumes to perform at the Climate Conference of Parties 26, and in various places around Australia (see images on their <a href="https://climacts.org.au/">Website</a>).</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/picture3a.jpg" alt="" width="873" height="580" /></p> <p><em>Fig. </em><em>1</em><em>: Costumed protest against Downer EDI's proposed work on the Adani coalmine; Image by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/takver/34253033096/">John Englart</a> (CC BY-SA 2.0).</em></p> <h1>Sustainable Fashion Practices</h1> <p>The second most common type of event which connected fashion with activism were those promoting sustainable fashion practices. While much research has highlighted the role of activism in raising awareness of problems related to the fashion industry (e.g. Hirscher), groups in the dataset were primarily focussed on organising activities where supporters communally created their own fashion items. The most common of these was the ‘crafternoon’, with over 260 separate crafternoon events identified in the dataset. These events brought activists together to create protest-related kit such as banners, signs, and costumes from recycled or repurposed materials, as demonstrated by Hume Climate Action Now’s ‘<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/437505167011276/">Crafternoon for Climate</a>’ event:</p> <blockquote> <p>Come along on Sunday arvo for a relaxed arvo making posters and banners for upcoming Hume Climate Action Now events… Bring: Paints, textas, cardboard, fabric – whatever you’ve got lying around. Don’t have anything? That’s cool, just bring yourself.</p> </blockquote> <p>Events highlighting fashion industry problems were less frequent and tended to prioritise sharing of information about the fashion industry rather than promoting protests. For example, Transition Town Vincent held a ‘<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/2447541878845838/">Slowing Down Fast Fashion – Transition Town Vincent Movie Night’</a> while the Green Embassy promoted the ‘<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/124644851610330/">Eco Fashion Week’</a>. This event, held in 2017, was described as Australia’s only eco-fashion week, and included runway shows, music, and public talks. Other events also focussed on public talks, such as a Conservation Council of ACT event called ‘<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/549067308758687">Green Drinks Canberra October 2017: Summer Edwards on the fashion industry</a>’ and a panel discussion organised by a group called SEE-Change entitled <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1900832206826062/">‘The Sustainable Wardrobe’</a>.</p> <h1>Disruptive Protest and T-Shirts</h1> <p>Few events in the dataset mentioned elements of fashion outside of street theatre or sustainable fashion practices, with only one organisation explicitly connecting fashion with activism in its event details. This group – Australian Youth Climate Coalition – organised an event called ‘<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/192059427948860/">Activism in Fashion: Tote Bags, T-shirts and Poster Painting!’</a>, which asked:</p> <blockquote> <p>How can we consistently be involved in campaigning while life can be so busy? Can we still be loud and get a message across without saying a word? The iconic 21st century activist "t-shirt and tote-bag" combination is hard to miss these days!</p> </blockquote> <p>Unlike street theatre and sustainable fashion practices, fashion appeared to be a consideration for only a small number of disruptive protests promoted by environmental groups in Australia. XR Brisbane sought to organise a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/212230326351176/">fashion parade</a> during the 2019 Rebellion Week, while XR protesters in Melbourne stripped down to underwear for a march through Melbourne city arcades (see also Turbet). Few common fashion elements appeared consistently on individual activists participating in events, and these were limited to accessories, such as ‘Stop Adani’ earrings, or t-shirts sold for fundraising and promotional purposes. Indeed, t-shirts appeared to be the most promoted clothing item in the dataset, continuing a long tradition of their use in protests (e.g. Maynard, <em>Blankets</em>). Easy to create, suitable for displaying both text and imagery, t-shirts sharing anti-coal messages featured predominantly in the Stop Adani campaign, while yellow t-shirts were a common item in Knitting Nanna’s anti-coal seam gas mining protests.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/picture2a.jpg" alt="" width="873" height="581" /></p> <p><em>Fig. </em><em>2</em><em>: Stop Adani earrings and t-shirts; Image by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/takver/41608095705/">John Englart</a> (CC BY-SA 2.0).</em></p> <h1>The Role of Fashion in Environmental Activism</h1> <p>As these findings demonstrate, fashion appears to be deliberately utilised in environmental activism primarily through street theatre and the promotion of sustainable fashion practices. While fewer examples of fashion in disruptive protest were found and no consistent fashion assemblage was identified, accessories and t-shirts were utilised by many groups.</p> <p>What may activists be seeking to achieve through incorporating fashion via street theatre and sustainable fashion practices? Some scholars have argued that incorporating fashion into protest allows activists to signal political dissent against authoritarian control. For example, Yanzoom noted that by utilising fashion as a means of communication, Tibetan activists were able to embody their political goals despite repression of speech and movement by political powerholders. However, a consistent fashion repertoire across protests in this Australian dataset was not found. The opportunities afforded by protected protest rights in Australia and absence of violent police repression of disruptive protests may be one explanation why distinctive dress such as the masks and black attire of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters did not manifest in the dataset.</p> <p>Other scholars have observed that fashion sub-cultures also developed partly to express anti-establishment politics, such as the punk movement in the 1970s. Radical clothing accessorised by symbols, bright hair colours, body piercings, and heavy-duty books signalled opposition to the dominant political ideology (Craik). However, none of these purposes appeared to play a role in Australian environmental activism either. Instead, it appears that Maynard’s contention that Australian protest fashion barely deviates from everyday dress remains true today. Fashion within the events promoted in this large empirical dataset retained the ‘prevalence of everyday clothing’ (Maynard, <em>Dress</em> 111).</p> <p>The lack of a clearly discernible single protest fashion style within the dataset may be related to the shortcomings of the sender/receiver model of fashion communication. As Barnard <em>(Fashion Statements</em>) argued, fashion is not always used as a vehicle for conveying messages, but also as a platform for constructing and reproducing identity. Indeed, a multiplicity of researchers have noted how fashion acts as a signal of what social groups individuals belong to (see Roach-Higgins and Eicher). Activist groups have a variety of goals, which not only include promoting environmental change but also mobilising more people to join their cause (Gulliver <em>et al</em>., <em>Understanding</em>). Stereotyping can hinder achievement of these goals. It has been demonstrated, for example, that individuals who hold negative stereotypes of ‘typical’ activists are less likely to want to associate with them, and less likely to adopt their behaviours (Bashir <em>et al</em>.). Accordingly, some activist groups have been shown to actively promote dress associated with other identity groups, specifically to challenge cultural constructions of environmental activist stereotypes (see also Roces). For example, Bloomfield and Doolins’s study of the NZ anti-GE group MAdGE (Mothers against Genetic Engineering in Food and the Environment) demonstrated how visual protest artifacts conveyed the protesters’ social identity as mothers and customers rather than environmental activists, claiming an alternative cultural mandate for challenging the authority of science (see also Einwohner <em>et al</em>.).</p> <p>The data suggest that Australian activists are seeking to avoid this stereotype as well. The absence of a consistent fashion promoted within the dataset may reflect awareness of problematic stereotypes that activists may be then deliberately seeking to avoid. Maynard (<em>Dress</em>), for example, has noted how the everyday dress of Australian protesters serves to deflect stereotypical labelling of participants. This strategy is also mirrored by the changing nature of groups within the Australian environmental movement. The event database demonstrates that an increasing number of environmental groups are emerging with names highlighting non-stereotypical environmental identities: groups such as ‘Engineers Declare’ and ‘Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action’.</p> <p>Beyond these identity processes, the frequent use of costumed street theatre protest suggests that activists recognise the value of using fashion as a vehicle for communicating messages, despite the challenges of interpretation described above. Much of the language used to promote street theatre in the Facebook event listings suggests that these costumes were deliberately designed to signify a particular meaning, with individuals encouraged to dress up to be ‘a vehicle for myth and symbol’ (Lavender 11). It may be that costumes are also utilised in protest due to their suitability as an image event, convenient for dissemination by mass media seeking colourful and engaging imagery (Delicath and Deluca; Doerr). Furthermore, costumes, as with text or colours presented on t-shirts, may offer activists an avenue to clearly convey a visual message which is more resistant to stereotyping. This is especially relevant given that fashion can be re-interpreted and misinterpreted by audiences, as well as reframed and reinterpreted by the media (Maynard, <em>Dress</em>).</p> <p>While the prevalence of costumed performance and infrequent mentions of fashion in the dataset may be explained by stereotype avoidance and messaging clarity, sustainable fashion practices were more straightforward in intent. Groups used multiple approaches to educate audiences about sustainable fashion, whether through fostering sustainable fashion practices or raising awareness of fashion industry problems. In this regard, fashion in protest in Australia closely resembles Asian sustainable fashion activism (see e.g. Chon <em>et al</em>. regarding the Singaporean context). In particular, the large number of ‘crafternoons’ suggests their importance as sites of activism and community building. Craftivism – acts such as quilting banners, yarn bombing, and cross stitching feminist slogans – are used by many groups to draw attention to social, political and environmental issues (McGovern and Barnes). This type of ‘creative activism’ (Filippello) has been used to challenge aesthetic and political norms across a variety of contested socio-political landscapes. These activities not only develop activism skills, but also foster community (Barry and Drak). For environmental groups, these community building events can play a critical role in sustaining and supporting ongoing environmental activism (Gulliver <em>et al</em>., <em>Understanding</em>) as well as demonstrating solidarity with workers across Asia experiencing labour injustices linked to the fashion industry (Chung and Yim).</p> <h1>Conclusion</h1> <p>Studies examining protest fashion demonstrate that clothing provides a canvas for sharing protest messages and identities in both Asia and Australia (Benda; Yangzom; Craik). However, despite the fashion’s utility as communication tool for social and environmental movements, empirical studies of how fashion is used by activists in these contexts remain rare. This analysis demonstrates that Australian environmental activists use fashion in their action repertoire primarily through costumed street theatre performances and promoting sustainable fashion practices. By doing so they may be seeking to use fashion as a means of conveying messages, while avoiding stereotypes that can demobilise supporters and reduce support for their cause. Furthermore, sustainable fashion activism offers opportunities for activists to achieve multiple goals: to subvert the fast fashion industry, to provide participation avenues for new activists, to help build activist communities, and to express solidarity with those experiencing fast fashion-related labour injustices. These findings suggest that the use of fashion in protest actions can move beyond identity messaging to also enact sustainable practices while co-opting and resisting hegemonic ideas of consumerism. By integrating fashion into the vibrant and diverse actions promoted by environmental movements across Australia and Asia, activists can construct and perform identities while fostering the community bonds and networks from which movements demanding environmental change derive their strength.</p> <h2><strong>Ethics Approval Statement</strong></h2> <p>This study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the University of Queensland (2018000963).</p> <h2><strong>Data Availability</strong></h2> <p>A detailed methodology explaining how the dataset was constructed and analysed is available on the Open Science Framework: &lt;<a href="https://osf.io/sq5dz/?view_only=9bc0d3945caa443084361f10b6720589">https://osf.io/sq5dz/?view_only=9bc0d3945caa443084361f10b6720589</a>&gt;.</p> <h2>References</h2> <p>Barnard, Malcolm. “Fashion as Communication Revisited.” <em>Popular Communication</em> 18.4 (2020): 259–271.</p> <p>———. “Fashion Statements: Communication and Culture.” <em>Fashion Statements</em>. 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Nowhere is this clearer than in Indonesian historical re-enactment. Although Indonesia has seen a rise in historical re-enactment groups for the last couple of years, the absence of scholarly research on the topic reflects how Indonesian historical re-enactment is still an understudied mode of cultural remembering in the nation. Yet in their uses of costume and media, these groups construct a complex form of remembering where local interests and national aspirations play a key role.</p> <p>Based on principal fieldwork carried out over a period of seven months in 2017 and 2018, the central case study here is the remembrance of the <em>Serangan Umum 1 Maret 1949</em> (“General Offensive of 1 March 1949”, hereafter: Serangan Umum) by the Yogyakarta-based re-enactor group Komunitas Djokjakarta 1945. On the basis of participant observation, semi-structured in-depth interviews, and discourse analysis, this article critically analyses the re-enactors, their performances in public spaces, and the representations of their performances on social media.</p> <p>The one-hour interviews were conducted in Indonesian or English, whichever the respondents preferred. The re-enactors (six male, five female) were between eighteen and thirty-four years old. Most recently completed levels of education ranged from a high school diploma to a university’s Master’s degree. Amongst them were university students, a high school student, an elementary school teacher, an entrepreneur, an artist, a photographer, and a manager. With a special emphasis on claimed authentic clothing and attributes, they present their ‘image’ through two main media: <em>teatrikals</em> (public street performances) and the use of the social medium Instagram.</p> <p>The performance of memory, or “doing memory”, is related to agency (Plate and Smelik 2-3; 15). Even though such doing-acts are at times habitual, cultural memory can be understood as the product of collective agency (Bal vii). This is indeed prevalent in historical re-enactment communities where the collective constructs a version of the past. More important still are the role of narratives herein as “narrative memories, even of unimportant events, differ from routine or habitual memories in that they are affectively colored, surrounded by an emotional aura that, precisely, makes them memorable” (Bal viii). The collective act of Indonesian historical re-enactment becomes a memorable form of cultural recall that is consciously performed and constructed as a narrative memory.</p> <p>The body in historical re-enactment functions as a vehicle for meaning-making (Agnew, Lamb, and Tomann 7). As the body becomes the medium upon and through which memory is performed, the individual historical re-enactor becomes a producer and consumer of cultural memory. Subsequently, historical re-enactment communities can be seen as user communities that actively participate in content creation. As such, the role of the consumer, user, producer, and creator is inextricably interwoven through the performance (Bruns). This is performatively demonstrated by Indonesian re-enactment groups through both costume and media.</p> <p>This article answers how <em>teatrikals</em> and Instagram, as different forms of mediation, shape performative memories of the Indonesian War of Independence. Drawing from media, re-enactment, and cultural memory studies the article lays bare how embodied and mediated memories are created by combining local and national identity formation through a drive for authenticity in clothing and story. I argue that there is no clear divide between embodiment and mediation of the past, as both are folded into each other for the re-enactors.</p> <h1><strong>Komunitas Djokjakarta 1945 </strong></h1> <p>Komunitas Djokjakarta 1945 (hereafter: Komunitas D45) is a historical re-enactment community, comprised of approximately sixty-five core members of whom practically all are male, although its composition varies. They re-enact the history of Indonesia and in particular the Javanese city of Yogyakarta, focussing on the violent era from 1943 until 1949. The community is modelled after the Brigade X, which was once led by lieutenant colonel Suharto, later the second president of Indonesia. In their re-enactments, they try to be as authentic as possible towards their clothing and attributes of that specific period in time. The combination of Yogyakarta as décor of significant historical events during the war; the subsequent widely circulating representations of these events in popular culture; the city’s role as cultural node for the performing arts within the country; and the commemorations in the city itself (Ahimsa-Putra 165) add to the significance of Komunitas D45’s representations of the past. This significance also lies in a paradox: although the reasons above give Yogyakarta gravitas when it comes to representing the war, community members are adamant that the city is undervalued in national commemorations of it.</p> <p>Komunitas D45’s main annual re-enactment is that of the Serangan Umum, which was partly re-enacted during the re-enactments I studied in 2017 and 2018. This specific battle is significant as it is seen as a crucial moment during the Indonesian War of Independence. The Serangan Umum was an offensive in the early morning of the first of March 1949 in which Indonesian fighters attacked Dutch-occupied Yogyakarta. The Indonesian fighters were able to take hold of Yogyakarta for six hours, before retreating and with that returning control back to the Dutch.</p> <p>With their practices, Komunitas D45 is a memory community which is based on the establishment of an experiential site during their performances. A historical re-enactment consisting of re-enactors, fireworks, sound effects, and an engaged audience can be considered an experiential site where prosthetic memory emerges, meaning artificial memories (as opposed to memories based on lived experiences) that are sensuous and based on the experience of mass-mediated representations (Landsberg 20). Costume is a means to mediate the past and it is one of the key elements for the re-enactors of Komunitas D45.</p> <h1><strong>The <em>teatrikal</em> of the Serangan Umum 1 Maret 1949 </strong></h1> <p> “That, that’s an A1 gun. From England,” one re-enactor explained as he showed me a gun. “This is a Sten Gun, Mk. II,” he continued, “that one is usually used by regular soldiers. This one is usually used by someone that portrays lieutenant colonel Suharto.” The relationship between re-enactors and their possessions are “deeply contextualized in the knowledge and use of these objects, embedded in the sense of themselves as creative individuals.” (Hall in Gapps 397). This is on the one hand demonstrated by the re-enactors' historical knowledge of the costumes worn and weapons used, and on the other hand by their ability to build lifelike imitations of these attributes.</p> <p>To make sure that the battles look as authentic as possible, the re-enactors of Komunitas D45 make use of various props and attributes. Some of the actors use sachets of fake blood, made by mixing honey and food colouring or condensed milk, to recreate being shot. During the re-enactments, they bite the sachets and let the fake-blood run down their faces and clothes, imitating being wounded. The military costumes they wear are based on historical books and photos. Some weapons are bought, others are self-made imitations from wood and metal, which cost about a month or two to create.</p> <p>Just like other re-enactors they “go to extraordinary lengths to acquire and animate the look and feel of history” (Gapps 397). Stephen Gapps addresses this need for authenticity as ‘the Holy Grail’ for re-enactors although he mentions that they “understand that it [authenticity] is elusive – worth striving for, but never really attainable” (397). While authenticity indeed seems to be the ‘holy grail’ for Indonesian re-enactors, what authenticity looks like and how it is performed differs. In the case of Komunitas D45, authenticity is firstly constructed in terms of costume and attributes, although the desire to be authentic also resonates in the construction of historical veracity of the narrative and in costumes as a pedagogical tool to create embodied memories.</p> <p>This interplay between narrative and costume is needed at the risk of objects remaining inanimate (Samuel 384). Objects, Raphael Samuel writes, must be “restored to their original habitat, or some lifelike replica of it, if they are to be intelligible in their period setting” (Samuel 384). This is precisely what re-enactors do with costume and props, resulting in the re-enactment of events “in such a way as to convey the lived experience of the past.” (Samuel 384). Yet these re-enactors have not lived experiences of the war, and hence prosthetically embody memories of the past.</p> <p>The desire for authenticity structurally returned in the interviews I conducted with the community members. Thus, the whole performance is produced with the community’s underlying desire to be as authentic as possible with the main focus on their costumes and attributes. This is common for historical re-enactors as they are able to “describe their clothing and equipment in great detail, for the authentic object is deeply bound up with the way history might feel” (Gapps 398). Stephen Gapps goes even further by suggesting that “like historians, reenactors not only tell stories but also cite evidence: the footnote to the historian is the authentic (recreated) costume to the reenactor” (398). The costume is a means to construct a memory narrative, to perform a memory, for re-enactors. Costume is thus a mnemonic device and the central argument has to do with ‘the image’. </p> <p>An analysis of the community presents conflicting statements on the exact role of authenticity. There is not a clear course for it as it reveals a jumping nature. There are multiple authenticities and veracity is only one of its intentions. During the re-enactments, costume and prop are the things that enable claims about authenticity. In the photographs on social media, the affordances show something different. What appears to be more important than historiography or studying an authentic past, for instance, is the so-called ‘image’ of historical re-enactment. This has an equivocal and concomitant meaning in that it means image as a resemblance of the past; image as an impression to others; and image as visual reproduction. Image, thus, crosses boundaries between re-enactment and photographic representation.</p> <p>It is through conventions of authenticity that re-enactors comprehend, translate, and appreciate one another’s creativity. Through a desire for authenticity, the past is made concrete and perceptible. Yet, interestingly this ‘authenticity’ does not only refer to the re-enactment itself, but extends to the photographs they publish and circulate via their Instagram account, or what the re-enactor Mas Nicholas (M, 18, high school student) called “the image later”. When I interviewed Mas Nicholas, I asked him whether a uniform or gun could be part of the <em>teatrikal</em> when it does not resemble those from that historical period. “Don’t do it. Don’t do it.”, he answered, “It will <em>merusak citra nanti</em> (“ruin the image later”)”.</p> <h1><strong>Authenticity and Authority over the Past </strong></h1> <p>The drive for authenticity also plays a role in selecting “one or more best pictures” for their personal social media. During the <em>teatrikal</em>, many photographs are taken and they present a careful selection publicly via their Instagram account. When modern items such as mobile phones are spotted, the re-enactors deem the photographs as “<em>foto bocor</em>” (“leaky photos”), because the present seeps in. Similarly, in previous <em>teatrikals</em>, smiling passerby and pens forgotten in pockets of costumes have made the photo “<em>bocor</em>” (“leak”) or “<em>mengurangi nilai keindahan foto</em>” (“reduce the value of the beauty of the photo)”.</p> <p>Besides the importance of re-enactment and costume in their photos, their Instagram page also constructs a discourse of authenticity by using Instagram’s affordances and through the content of the photographs. Social media affordances can be seen as the perceived range of possible actions linked to the features of a social media platform (Bucher and Helmond 3). On the basis of such an understanding, three patterns can be discerned with which a discourse of historical accuracy is constructed, which invokes historical veracity.</p> <p>The first pattern is constructed through the use of a filter, making photos black and white. This is a common technique in popular culture to simulate the look of historical photographs. It is also used in the second pattern that evokes authenticity: the re-enactment of historical photographs. Again, the Instagram filter is used to create a sense of authenticity, but memory is also actively embodied by positioning themselves similarly to the people on the original photo as well as copying the dress of the original photographed people.</p> <p>The last pattern that can be recognised is the portrayal of the community’s ostensible secondary activities. These range from visiting independence museums to clean weapons in the collections and taking detailed pictures of them; cleaning of monuments dedicated to the Indonesian War of Independence in fear of neglect; performing <em>teatrikals</em> at schools to educate the public; and conversing with the Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Air Force signifying military approval. All whilst dressed in historical costume.</p> <p>This shows that there is no clear distinction between how the <em>teatrikals</em> are staged in costume and the activities beyond it. The images of these activities function as an additional argument for a claim to truth. It displays a further engagement with history and shows their relation with authoritative persons and institutions, constructing them too as authoritative. The image constructed on Instagram is one of diligent volunteers, thorough researchers, and good patriots. In all, this validates the re-enactors and their re-enactments. Costumes are thus continuously used in the discursive image of historical re-enactment.</p> <p>In their use of Instagram’s affordances and the careful selection of photos, media is used to perform a specific memory that combines local and national identity formation. A key aspect of this mediated culture of remembrance is how it is grounded in the concrete location that is Yogyakarta. The Indonesian historical re-enactments by Komunitas D45 are an example of such regional remembrance, producing local memory from the region of Yogyakarta. The secondary activities in particular underscore the politics of remembrance. It is a feeling, explicitly communicated by several community members, that the role of Yogyakarta in national history is underplayed when it comes to the Indonesian War of Independence. In particular, the idea that the Serangan Umum was not only an important battle for the city of Yogyakarta, but for the whole nation, as Indonesia put itself on the world map due to the battle. Authenticity and authority over the past is combined here into one event.</p> <h1><strong>The ‘Image’ of Indonesian Historical Re-Enactment </strong></h1> <p>I have tried to illustrate how Indonesian historical re-enactment forms performative memories through costume and media. Komunitas D45 constructs an idea of authenticity through the look and feel of their costumes. Moreover, in the way in which they position themselves through media, authenticity is constructed by black and white imagery, re-enactments of historical photographs, and their secondary activities. With this authenticity, Komunitas D45 creates a discourse of historical accuracy. But how do embodied memories and mediated memories come together?</p> <p>There is no clear divide between embodiment and mediated memories as they are folded into each other for the re-enactors. Embodiment and mediated memory are two parts of the same coin. That coin being a mnemonic image-event. Re-enactment (costume) together with how it is subsequently presented (media) can be considered as what Karin Strassler has called an “image-event”, that is, “a political process set in motion when a specific image or set of images erupts onto and intervenes in a social field, becoming a focal point of discursive and affective engagement across diverse publics” (9-10). The circulating depictions of the Serangan Umum, both through costume and media, constitute an unfolding mnemonic image-event that negotiates with democratic ideals from Indonesia’s Reformasi movement such as “openness, accountability, authenticity, the free circulation of information, and popular participation” (9). In short, Komunitas D45 deals with the complex question of how to remember the Indonesian War of Independence.</p> <p>Strassler’s emphasis on the political in image-events, “in which images become the material ground of generative struggles to bring a collectivity into view and give shape to its future”, not only relates to the past, but also the present (10). Both the local Yogyakartan and national Indonesian past during the Indonesian War of Independence are remembered simultaneously through the historical re-enactments. Authenticity in clothing and in the constructed online narrative is used as a tool for authority over the image of historical re-enactment in its threefold meaning: the likeness of the past they re-enact; how others perceive their re-enactment; and how they circulate the re-enactment to others. Thus, while Indonesian historical re-enactment searches authenticity in the past, it performs prosthetic memories for the future.</p> <h2><strong>Acknowledgements </strong></h2> <p>The research for this article was funded by a ‘PhD in the Humanities’ grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO).</p> <h2><strong>References </strong></h2> <p>Agnew, Vanessa, Jonathan Lamb, and Juliane Tomann (eds.). <em>The Routledge Handbook of Reenactment Studies: Key Terms in the Field</em>. London: Routledge, 2019.</p> <p>Ahimsa-Putra, Heddy Shri. “Remembering, Misremembering and Forgetting: The Struggle over Serangan Oemoem 1 Maret 1949 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.” <em>Contestations of Memory in Southeast Asia</em>. Eds. Roxana Waterson and Kwok Kian-Woon. Singapore: NUS P, 2012. 156-182.</p> <p>Arps, Arnoud. “An Animated Revolution: The Remembrance of the 1945 Battle of Surabaya in Indonesian Animated Film.” <em>Southeast Asian Media Studies</em> 2.1 (2020): 101-117.</p> <p>Bal, Mieke. “Introduction.” <em>Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present</em>. Eds. Mieke Bal, Jonathan Crewe, and Leo Spitzer. Hanover: University Press of New England, 1999. viii-xvii.</p> <p>Bruns, Axel. <em>Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage</em>. New York: Peter Lang, 2008.</p> <p>Bucher, Taina, and Anne Helmond. “The Affordances of Social Media Platforms.” <em>The SAGE Handbook of Social Media</em>. Eds. Jean Burgess, Thomas Poell, and Alice Marwick. London: SAGE, 2018. 1-41.</p> <p>Gapps, Stephen. “Mobile Monuments: A View of Historical Reenactment and Authenticity from Inside the Costume Cupboard of History.” <em>Rethinking History</em> 13.3 (2009): 395-409.</p> <p>Irawanto, Budi. “Spectacularity of Nationalism: War, Propaganda and Military in Indonesian Cinema during the New Order Era.” <em>Southeast Asia on Screen: From Independence to Financial Crisis (1945-1998)</em>. Eds. Gaik Cheng Khoo, Thomas Barker, and Mary J. Ainslie. Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP, 2020. 111-130.</p> <p>Landsberg, Alison. <em>Prosthetic Memory. The Transformation of American Remembrance in the Age of Mass Culture</em>. New York: Columbia UP, 2004.</p> <p>Plate, Liedeke, and Anneke Smelik (eds.). <em>Performing Memory in Art and Popular Culture</em>. New York: Routledge, 2013.</p> <p>Samuel, Raphael. <em>Theatres of Memory: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture</em>. London: Verso, 1994.</p> <p>Strassler, Karen. <em>Demanding Images: Democracy, Mediation, and the Image-Event in Indonesia</em>. Durham: Duke UP, 2020.</p> <p>Zurbuchen, Mary. “Historical Memory in Contemporary Indonesia.” <em>Beginning to Remember: The Past in the Indonesian Present</em>. Singapore: NUS P, 2005. 3-37.</p> Arnoud Arps Copyright (c) 2022 Arnoud Arps http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2924 Wed, 05 Oct 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Kawaii Affective Assemblages https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2926 <h1>Introduction</h1> <p>The sensational appearance of<em> kawaii </em>fashion in Tokyo’s Harajuku neighbourhood—full of freedom, fun, and frills— has captivated hearts and imaginations worldwide. A key motivational concept for this group is “<em>kawaii</em>” which is commonly translated as “cute” and can also be used to describe things that are “beautiful”, “funny”, “pretty”, “wonderful”, “great”, “interesting”, and “kind” (Yamane 228; Yomota 73; Dale 320). Representations in media such as the styling of Harajuku street model and J-pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, directed by Sebastian Masuda, have helped bring this fashion to a wider audience. Of this vibrant community, decora fashion is perhaps best known, with its image well documented in in street-fashion magazines such as Shoichi Aoki<em>’s FRUiTS </em>(1997–2017), Websites such as <em>Tokyo Fashion</em> (2000–present), and in magazines like <em>KERA</em> (1998–2017). In particular, decora fashion captures the “do-it-yourself” approach for which Harajuku is best known (Yagi 17).</p> <p>In this essay we draw on New Materialism to explore the ways in which decora fashion practitioners form <em>kawaii</em> affective assemblages with the objects they collect and transform into fashion items. We were motivated to pursue this research to build on other qualitative studies that aimed to include the voices of practitioners in accounts of their lifestyles (e.g. Nguyen; Monden; Younker) and respond to claims that <em>kawaii</em> fashion is a form of infantile regression. We—an Australian sociologist and <em>kawaii</em> fashion practitioner, a Japanese decora fashion practitioner and Harajuku street model, and a Japanese former owner of a tearoom in Harajuku—have used an action-led participatory research method to pool our expertise. In this essay we draw on both a New Materialist analysis of our own fashion practices, a 10-year longitudinal study of Harajuku (2012–2022), as well as interviews with twelve decora fashion practitioners in 2020.</p> <h1><strong>What Is Decora Fashion?</strong></h1> <p>Decora is an abbreviation of “decoration”, which reflects the key aesthetic commitment of the group to adorn their bodies with layers of objects, accessories, and stickers. Decora fashion uses bright clothing from thrift stores, layers of handmade and store-bought accessories, and chunky platform shoes or sneakers. Practitioners enjoy crafting accessories from old toys, kandi and perler beads, weaving, braiding, crocheting novelty yarn and ribbon, and designing and printing their own textiles. In addition to this act of making, decora practitioners also incorporate purchases from specialty brands like 6%DOKI DOKI, Nile Perch, ACDC Rag, YOSUKE USA, and minacute. According to our interviewees, whom we consulted in 2020, excess is key; as Momo told us: “if it’s too plain, it’s not decora”. Decora uses clashing, vibrant, electric colours, and a wild variety of <em>kawaii</em> versions of monsters, characters, and food which appear as motifs on their clothing (Groom 193; Yagi 17). Clashing textures and items—such as a sweat jackets, gauzy tutus, and plastic toy tiaras—are also a key concept (Koga 81). Colour is extended to practitioners’ hair through colourful hair dyes, and the application of stickers, bandaids, and jewels across their cheeks and nose (Rose, Kurebayashi and Saionji).</p> <p>These principles are illustrated in fig. 1, a street snap from 2015 of our co-author, Kurebayashi. Working with the contrasting primary colours across her hair, clothes, and accessories, she incorporates both her own handmade garments and found accessories to form a balanced outfit. Her 90s Lisa Frank cat purse, made from a psychedelic vibrant pink faux fur, acts as a salient point to draw in our eyes to a cacophony of colour throughout her ensemble. The purse is a prized item that was a rare thrift find on Mercari, an online Japanese auction Website. Her sweater dress is handmade, with a textile print she designed herself. The stickers on the print feature smiley faces, rainbows, ducks, and candy—all cheap and cheerful offerings from a discount store. Through intense layering and repetition, Kurebayashi has created a collage that is reminiscent of the clips and bracelets that decorate her hair and wrists. This collage also represents the colour, fun, and whimsy that she immerses herself in everyday. Her platform shoes are by Buffalo London, another rare find for her collection. Her hair braids are handmade by Midoroya, an online artist, which she incorporates to create variety in the textures in her outfit from head to toe. Peeking beneath her sweater is a short colourful tutu that floats and bounces with each step. Together the items converge and sing, visually loud and popping against the urban landscape.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/2926-other-9160-1-4-20220814.png" alt="" width="905" height="1280" /></p> <p><em>Fig. 1: Kurebayashi’s street snap in a decora fashion outfit of her own styling and making, 2015.</em></p> <p>Given the street-level nature of decora fashion, stories of its origins draw on oral histories of practitioners, alongside writings from designers and stores that cater to this group (Ash). Its emergence was relatively organic in the early 1990s, with groups enjoying mixing and combining found objects and mis-matching clothing items. Initially, decorative styles documented in street photography used a dark colour palette with layers of handmade accessories, clips, and decorations, and a Visual-kei influence. Designers such as Sebastian Masuda, who entered the scene in 1995, also played a key role by introducing accessories and clothes inspired by vintage American toys, Showa era (1926-1989) packaging, and American West Club dance culture (Sekikawa and Kumagi 22–23). </p> <p>Pop idols such as Tomoe Shinohara and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu are also key figures that have contributed to the pop aesthetic of decora. While decora was already practiced prior to the release of Shinohara’s 1995 single <em>Chaimu, </em>her styling resonated with practitioners and motivated them to pursue a more “pop” aesthetic with an emphasis on bright colours, round shapes, and handmade colourful accessories. Shinohara herself encouraged fans to take on a rebelliously playful outlook and presentation of self (Nakao 15–16; Kondō). This history resonates with the more recent pop idol Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s costuming and set design, which was directed by Sebastian Masuda. Kyary’s <em>kawaii</em> fashion preceded her career, as she regularly participated in the Harajuku scene and agreed to street snaps. While the costuming and set design for her music videos, such as <em>Pon Pon Pon</em>, resonate with the Harajuku aesthetic, her playful persona diverges. Her performance uses humour, absurdity, and imperfection to convey cuteness and provide entertainment (Iseri 158), but practitioners in Harajuku do not try to replicate this performance; Shinohara and Kyary’s stage persona promotes ‘immaturity’ and ‘imperfection’ as part of their youthful teenage rebellion (Iseri 159), while <em>kawaii </em>fashion practitioners prefer not to be seen in this light.</p> <p>When considering the toys, stickers, and accessories incorporated into decora fashion, and the performances of Shinohara and Kyary, it is understandable that some outsiders may interpret the fashion as a desire to return to childhood. Some studies of <em>kawaii</em> fashion more broadly have interpreted the wearing of clothing like this as a resistance to adulthood and infantile regression (e.g. Kinsella 221–222; Winge; Lunning). These studies suggest that practitioners desire to remain immature in order to “undermin[e] current ideologies of gender and power” (Hasegawa 140). In particular, Kinsella in her 1995 chapter “Cuties in Japan” asserts that fashion like this is an attempt to act “vulnerable in order to emphasize … immaturity and inability to carry out social responsibilities” (241), and suggests that this regression is “self-mutilation [which denies] the existence of a wealth of insights, feelings and humour that maturity brings with it” (235). This view has spread widely in writing about <em>kawaii</em> fashion. For example, Steele, Mears, Kawamura, and Narumi observe that “prolonging childhood is compelling” and is an attractive component of Harajuku culture (48).</p> <p>While we recognise that this literature uses the concept of “childishness” to acknowledge the rebellious nature of Harajuku fashion, our participants would like to discourage this interpretation of their practice. Participants highlighted their commitment to studies, paying bills, caring for family members, and other markers they felt indicated maturity and responsibility. They also found this belief that they wanted to deny themselves adult “insights, feelings and humour” deeply offensive as it disregards their lived experience and practice. From a sociological perspective, this infantilising interpretation is concerning as it reproduces Orientalist framings of Japanese women who enjoy <em>kawaii</em> culture as dependent and submissive, rather than savvy consumers (Bow 66–73; Kalnay 95). Furthermore, this commentary on youth cultures globally, which points to an infantilisation of adulthood (Hayward 230), has also been interrogated by scholars as an oversimplistic reading that doesn’t recognise the rich experiences of adults who engage in these spaces while meeting milestones and responsibilities (Woodman and Wyn; Hodkinson and Bennett; Bennett). Through our lived experience and work with the decora fashion community, we offer in this essay an alternative account of what <em>kawaii</em> means to these practitioners.</p> <p>We believe that agency, energy, and vibrancy is central to the practice of decora fashion. Rather than intending to be immature, practitioners are looking for vibrant ways to exist as adults (Rose). A New Materialist lens offers a framework with which we can consider this experience. For example, our informant Momota, in rejecting the view that her fashion was about returning to childhood, explained that decora fashion was “rejuvenating” because it gave them “energy and power”. Elizabeth Groscz in her essay on freedom in New Materialism encourages us to consider new ways of living, not as an expression of “freedom <em>from</em>” social norms, but rather “freedom <em>to</em>” new ways of being, as an expression of a “capacity for action” (140). In other words, rather than seeking freedom from adult responsibilities and regressing into a state where one is unable to care for oneself, decora fashion is a celebration of what practitioners are “capable of doing” (Groscz 140–141) by finding pleasure in collecting and making. Through encounters with <em>kawaii</em> objects, and the act of creating through these materials, decora fashion practitioners’ agential capacities are increased through experiences of elation, excitement and pleasure.</p> <h1><strong>Colourful Treasures, Fluttering Hearts: The Pleasures of Collecting <em>Kawaii</em> Matter</strong></h1> <p>Christine Yano describes <em>kawaii</em> as having the potential to “transform the mundane material world into one occupied everywhere by the sensate and the sociable” (“Reach Out”, 23). We believe that this conceptualisation of <em>kawaii</em> has strong links to New Materialist theory. New Materialism highlights the ways in which human subjects are “are unstable and emergent knowing, sensing, embodied, affective assemblages of matter, thought, and language, part of and inseparable from more-than human worlds” (Lupton). Matter in this context is a social actor in its own right, energising and compelling practitioners to incorporate it into their everyday lives. For example, <em>kawaii</em> matter can move us to be more playful, creative, and caring (Aiwaza and Ohno; Nishimura; Yano, <em>Pink Globalization</em>), or help us relax and feel calm when experiencing high levels of stress (Stevens; Allison; Yano, “Reach Out”). Studies in the behavioral sciences have shown how <em>kawaii</em> objects pique our interest, make us feel happy and excited, and through sharing our excitement for <em>kawaii</em> things become kinder and more thoughtful towards each other (Nittono; Ihara and Nittono; Kanai and Nittono).</p> <p>Decora fashion practitioners are sensitive to this sensate and sociable aspect of <em>kawaii</em>; specific things redolent with “thing-power” (Bennett) shine and twinkle amongst the cultural landscape and compel practitioners to gather them up and create unique outfits. Decora fashion relies on an ongoing hunt for objects to upcycle into fashion accessories, thrifting second-hand goods in vintage stores, dollar stores, and craft shops such as DAISO, Omocha Spiral, and ACDC Rag. Practitioners select plastic goods with smooth forms and shapes, and soft, breathable, and light clothing, all with highly saturated colours. Balancing the contrast of colours, practitioners create a rainbow of matter from which they assemble their outfits. The concept of the rainbow is significant to practitioners as the synergy of contrasting colours expresses its own <em>kawaii</em> vitality. Our interviewee, Kanepi, also explained that “price too can be <em>kawaii</em>” (see also Yano, <em>Pink Globalization</em> 71); affordable products such as capsule toys and accessories allow practitioners to amass large collections of glistening and twinkling objects. Rare items are also prized, such as vintage toys and goods imported from America, resonating with their own “uniqueness”, and providing a point of difference to the Japanese <em>kawaii</em> cultural landscape.</p> <p>In addition to the key principles of colour, rarity, and affordability, there is also a personalised aspect to decora fashion. Amongst the mundane racks of clothing, toys, and stationary, specific matter twinkles at practitioners like treasures, triggering a moment of thrilling encounter. Our interviewee Pajorina described this moment as having a “fateful energy to it”. All practitioners described this experience as “<em>tokimeki” </em>(literally, a fluttering heart beat), which is used to refer to an experience of excitement in anticipation of something, or the elating feeling of infatuation (Occhi). Our interviewees sought to differentiate this experience of <em>kawaii</em> from feelings of care towards animals or children through writing systems. While the kanji for “<em>kawaii</em>” was used to refer to children and small animals, the majority of participants wrote “<em>kawaii</em>” using other writing systems (katakana and romaji) to express the vivid and energetic qualities of their fashion.</p> <p>We found each practitioner had a <em>tokimeki </em>response to certain items that informed their collecting work. While some items fit a more mainstream interpretation of <em>kawaii</em>, such as characters like Hello Kitty, ribbons, and glitter, other practitioners were drawn to non-typical forms they believed were <em>kawaii</em>, such as frogs, snails, aliens, and monsters. As our interviewee Harukyu described: “I think people’s sense of <em>kawaii</em> comes from different sensibilities and perspectives. It’s a matter of feelings. If you think it is <em>kawaii</em>, then it is”. Guided by individual experiences of objects on the shop shelves, practitioners select things that resonate with their own inner beliefs, interests, and fantasies of what <em>kawaii</em> is. In this regard, <em>kawaii</em> matter is not “structured” or “fixed” but rather “emergent through relations” that unfold between the practitioner and the items that catch their eye in a given moment (Thorpe 12). This offers not only an affirming experience through the act of creating, but a playful outlet as well. By choosing unconventional <em>kawaii</em> motifs to include in their collection, and using more standard <em>kawaii</em> beads, jewels, and ribbons to enhance the objects’ cuteness, decora fashion practitioners are transforming, warping, and shifting <em>kawaii</em> aesthetic boundaries in new and experimental ways (Iseri 148; Miller 24–25). As such, this act of collecting is a joyous and elating experience of gathering and accumulating.</p> <h1><strong>Making, Meaning, and Memory: Creating <em>Kawaii</em> Assemblages</strong></h1> <p>Once <em>kawaii </em>items are amassed through the process of collecting, their cuteness is intensified through hand-making items and assembling outfits. One of our interviewees, Momo, explained to us that this expressive act was key to the personalisation of their clothes as it allows them to “put together the things you like” and “incorporate your own feelings”. For example, the bracelets in fig. 2 are an assemblage made by our co-author Kurebayashi, using precious items she has collected for 10 years. Each charm has its own meaning in its aesthetics, memories it evokes, and the places in which it was found. Three yellow rubber duck charms bob along strands of twinkling pink and blue bubble-like beads. These ducks, found in a bead shop wholesaler while travelling in Hong Kong, evoke for Kurebayashi an experience of a bubble bath, where one can relax and luxuriate in self care. Their contrast with the pink and blue—forming the trifecta of primary colours—enhances the vibrant intensity of the bracelet. A large blue bear charm, contrasting in scale and colour, swings at her wrist, its round forms evoking Lorenz’s <em>Kindchenschema</em>. This bear charm is another rare find from America, a crowning jewel in Kurebayashi’s collection. It represents Kurebayashi’s interest in fun and colourful animals as characters, and as potential <em>kawaii</em> friends. Its translucent plastic form catches the light as it glistens. To balance the colour scheme of her creation, Kurebayashi added a large strawberry charm, found for just 50 yen in a discount store in Japan. Together these objects resonate with key decora principles: personal significance, rarity, affordability, and bright contrasting colours. While the bear and duck reference childhood toys, they do not signify to Kurebayashi a desire to return to childhood. Rather, their rounded forms evoke a playful outlook on life informed by self care and creativity (Ngai 841; Rose). Through bringing the collection of items together in making these bracelets, the accessories form an entanglement of <em>kawaii</em> matter that carries both aesthetic and personal meaning, charged with memories, traces of past travels, and a shining shimmering vitality of colour and light.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/2926-other-9161-1-4-20220814.png" alt="" width="1478" height="1108" /></p> <p><em>Fig. 2: Handmade decora fashion bracelet by Kurebayashi, 2022. </em></p> <p>The creation of decora outfits is the final act of expression and freedom. In this moment, decora fashion practitioners experience elation as they gleefully mix and match items from their collection to create their fashion style. This entanglement of practitioner and <em>kawaii</em> matter evokes what Gorscz would describe as “free acts … generated through the encounter of life with matter” (151). If we return to fig. 1, we can see how Kurebayashi and her fashion mutually energise each other as an expression of colourful freedom. While the objects themselves are found through encounters and given new life by Kurebayashi as fashion items, they also provide Kurebayashi with tools of expression that “expand the variety of activities” afforded to adults (Gorscz 154). She feels elated, full of feeling, insight, and humour in these clothes, celebrating all the things she loves that are bright, colourful, and fun.</p> <h1><strong>Conclusion</strong></h1> <p>In this essay, we have used New Materialist theory to illustrate some of the ways in which <em>kawaii</em> matter energises decora fashion practitioners, as an expression of what Gorscz would describe as “capacity for action” and a “freedom towards” new modes of expression. Practitioners are sensitive to <em>kawaii</em>’s affective potential, motivating them to search for and collect items that elate and excite them, triggering moments of thrilling encounters amongst the mundanity of the stores they search through. Through the act of making and assembling these items, practitioners form an entanglement of matter charged with their feelings towards and memories of their collections. Like shining rainbows in the streets, they shimmer with <em>kawaii</em> life, vibrancy, and vitality.</p> <h2><strong>Acknowledgements</strong></h2> <p>This article was produced with the support of a Vitalities Lab Scholarship, UNSW Sydney, a National Library of Australia Asia Studies scholarship, as well as in-kind support from the University of Tokyo and the Japan Foundation Sydney. We also thank Deborah Lupton, Melanie White, Vera Mackie, Joshua Paul Dale, Masafumi Monden, Sharon Elkind, Emerald King, Jason Karlin, Elicia O’Reily, Gwyn McLelland, Erica Kanesaka, Sophia Saite, Lucy Fraser, Caroline Lennette, and Alisa Freedman for their kind input and support in helping bring this community project to life. Finally, we thank our decora fashion practitioners, our bright shining stars, who in the face of such unkind treatment from outsiders continue to create and dream of a more colourful world. We would not be here without your expertise.</p> <h2><strong>References</strong></h2> <p>Aizawa, Marie, and Minoru, Ohno. “<em>Kawaii Bunka no Haikei</em> [The Background of <em>Kawaii</em> Culture].” <em>Shōkei gakuin daigaku kiyō</em> <em>[Shōkei Gakuin University </em><em>Bulletin]</em> 59 (2010): 23–34.</p> <p>Allison, Anne. “Cuteness as Japan’s Millennial Product.” <em>Pikachu's Global </em><em>Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon. </em>Ed. Joseph Tobin. 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Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, 2006.</p> <p>Younker, Therese. “Japanese Lolita: Dreaming, Despairing, Defying.” <em>Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs</em>, 11.1 (2012): 97–110.</p> Megan Catherine Rose, Haruka Kurebayashi, Rei Saionji Copyright (c) 2022 Megan Catherine Rose, Haruka Kurebayashi, Rei Saionji http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2926 Mon, 10 Oct 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Beyond Needle and Thread https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2927 <h1><strong>Introduction</strong></h1> <p>In the elite space of Haute Couture, fashion is presented through a theatrical array of dynamics—the engagement of specific bodies performing for select audiences in highly curated spaces. Each element is both very precise in its objectives and carefully selected for impact. In this way, the production of Haute Couture makes itself accessible to only a few select members of society. Globally, there are only an estimated 4,000 direct consumers of Haute Couture (Hendrik). Given this limited market, the work of elite couturiers relies on other forms of artistic media, namely film, photography, and increasingly, museum spaces, to reach broader audiences who are then enabled to participate in the fashion ‘space’ via a process of visual consumption.</p> <p>For these audiences, Haute Couture is less about material consumption than it is about the aspirational consumption and contestation of notions of identity. This article uses qualitative textual analysis and draws on semiotic theory to explore symbolism and values in Haute Couture. Semiotics, an approach popularised by the work of Roland Barthes, examines signifiers as elements of the construction of metalanguage and myth. Barthes recognised a broad understanding of language that extended beyond oral and written forms. He acknowledged that a photograph or artefact may also constitute “a kind of speech” (111). Similarly, fashion can be seen as both an important signifier and mode of communication. </p> <p>The model of fashion as communication is one extensively explored within culture studies (e.g. Hall; Lurie). Much of the discussion of semiotics in this literature is predicated on sender/receiver models. These models conceive of fashion as the mechanism through which individual senders communicate to another individual or to collective (and largely passive) audiences (Barnard). Yet, fashion is not a unidirectional form of communication. It can be seen as a dialogical and discursive space of encounter and contestation.</p> <p>To understand the role of Haute Couture as a contested space of identity and socio-political discourse, this article examines the work of Chinese couturier Guo Pei. An artisan such as Guo Pei places the results of needle and thread into spaces of the theatrical, the spectacular, and, significantly, the powerfully socio-political. Guo Pei’s contributions to Haute Couture are extravagant, fantastical productions that also serve as spaces of socio-cultural information exchange and debate. Guo Pei’s creations bring together political history, memory, and fantasy. Here we explore the socio-cultural and political semiotics that emerge when the humble stitch is dramatically amplified onto the Haute Couture runway. We argue that Guo Pei’s work speaks not only to a cultural imaginary but also to the contested nature of gender and socio-political authority in contemporary China.</p> <h1><strong>The Politicisation of Fashion in China</strong></h1> <p>The majority of literature regarding Chinese fashion in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has focussed on the use of fashion to communicate socio-political messages (Finnane). This is most clearly seen in analyses of the connections between dress and egalitarian ideals during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. As Zhang (952-952) notes, revolutionary fashion emphasised simplicity, frugality, and homogenisation. It rejected style choices that reflected both traditional Chinese and Western fashions. In Mao’s China, fashion was utilised by the state and adopted by the populace as a means of reinforcing the regime’s ideological orientations. For example, the ubiquitous Mao suit, worn by both men and women during the Cultural Revolution “was intended not merely as a unisex garment but a means to deemphasise gender altogether” (Feng 79).</p> <p>The Maoist regime’s intention to create a type of social equality through sartorial homogenisation was clear. Reflecting on the ways in which fashion both responded to and shaped women’s positionality, Mao stated, “women are regarded as criminals to begin with, and tall buns and long skirts are the instruments of torture applied to them by men. There is also their facial makeup, which is the brand of the criminal, the jewellery on their hands, which constitutes shackles and their pierced ears and bound feet which represent corporal punishment” (Mao cited in Finnane 23). Mao’s suit—the homogenising militaristic uniform adopted by many citizens—may have been intended as a mechanism for promoting equality, freeing women from the bonds of gendered oppression and all citizens from visual markers of class. Nonetheless, in practice Maoist fashion and policing of appearance during the Cultural Revolution enforced a politics of amnesia and perversely may have “entailed feminizing the undesirable, by conflating woman, bourgeoisie, and colour while also insisting on a type of gender equality that the belted Mao jacket belied” (Chen 161).</p> <p>In work on cultural transformations in the post-Maoist period, Braester argues that since the late 1980s Chinese cultural products—here taken to include artefacts such as Haute Couture—have similarly been defined by the politics of memory and identity. Evocation of historically important symbols and motifs may serve to impose a form of narrative continuity, connecting the present to the past. Yet, as Braester notes, such strategies may belie stability: “to contemplate memory and forgetting is tantamount to acknowledging the temporal and spatial instability of the post-industrial, globalizing world” (435). In this way, cultural products are not only sites of cultural continuity, but also of contestation.</p> <h1><strong>Imperial Dreams of Feminine Power</strong></h1> <p>The work of Chinese couturier Guo Pei showcases traditional Chinese embroidery techniques alongside more typically Western fashion design practices as a means of demonstrating not only Haute Couturier craftsmanship but also celebrating Chinese imperial culture through nostalgic fantasies in her contemporary designs. Born in Beijing, in 1967, at the beginning of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Guo Pei studied fashion at the Beijing Second Light Industry School before working in private and state-owned fashion houses. She eventually moved to establish her own fashion design studio and was recognised as “the designer of choice for high society and the political elite” in China (Yoong 19). Her work was catapulted into Western consciousness when her cape, titled <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CP2UOZJtWMK/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link"><em>‘Yellow Empress’</em></a> was <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CPkD1LNNiFo/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link">donned by Rihanna</a> for the 2015 Met Gala. The design was a response to an era in which the colour yellow was forbidden to all but the emperor. In the same year, Guo Pei was named an invited member of La Federation de la Haute Couture, becoming the first and only Chinese-born and trained couturier to receive the honour. Recognition of her work at political and socio-economic levels earned her an award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Economy and Cultural Diplomacy’ by the Asian Couture Federation in 2019.</p> <p>While Maoist fashion influences pursued a vision of gender equality through the ‘unsexing’ of fashion, Guo Pei’s work presents a very different reading of female adornment. One example is her exquisite <a href="https://guo-pei.squarespace.com/1002-nights/mafh24rusbyynch4k2w0gd8g9fymaw"><em>Snow Queen</em></a> dress, which draws on imperial motifs in its design. An ensemble of silk, gold embroidery, and Swarovski crystals weighing 50 kilograms, the <em>Snow Queen</em> “characterises Guo Pei’s ideal woman who is noble, resilient and can bear the weight of responsibility” (Yoong 140). In its initial appearance on the Haute Couture runway, the dress was worn by 78-year-old American model, <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CS8Lw-FnWGw/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link">Carmen Dell’Orefice</a>, signalling the equation of age with strength and beauty. Rather than being a site of torture or corporal punishment, as suggested by Mao, the <em>Snow Queen</em> dress positions imagined traditional imperial fashion as a space for celebration and empowerment of the feminine form. The choice of model reinforces this message, while simultaneously contesting global narratives that conflate women’s beauty and physical ability with youthfulness.</p> <p>In this way, fashion can be understood as an intersectional space. On the one hand, Guo Pei's work reinvigorates a particular nostalgic vision of Chinese imperial culture and in doing so pushes back against the socio-political ‘non-fashion’ and uniformity of Maoist dress codes. Yet, on the other hand, positioning her work in the very elite space of Haute Couture serves to reinstate social stratification and class boundaries through the creation of economically inaccessible artefacts: a process that in turn involves the reification and museumification of fashion as material culture. Ideals of femininity, identity, individuality, and the expressions of either creating or dismantling power, are anchored within cultural, social, and temporal landscapes.</p> <p>Benedict Anderson argues that the museumising imagination is “profoundly political” (123). Like sacred texts and maps, fashion as material ephemera evokes and reinforces a sense of continuity and connection to history. Yet, the belonging engendered through engagement with material and imagined pasts is imprecise in its orientation. As much as it is about maintaining threads to an historical past, it is simultaneously an appeal to present possibilities.</p> <p>In his broader analysis, Anderson explores the notion of parallelity, the potentiality not to recreate some geographically or temporally removed place, but to open a space of “living lives parallel …] along the same trajectory” (131). Guo Pei’s creations appeal to a similar museumising imagination. At once, her work evokes both a particular imagined past of imperial grandeur, against instability of the politically shifting present, and appeals to new possibilities of gendered emancipation within that imagined space. </p> <h1><strong>Contesting and Complicating East-West Dualism</strong></h1> <p>The design process frequently involves borrowing, reinterpretation, and renewal of ideas. The erasure of certain cultural and political aspects of social continuity through the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and the socio-political changes thereafter, have created fertile ground for an artist like Guo Pei. Her palimpsest reaches back through time, picks up those cultural threads of extravagance, and projects them wholesale into the spaces of fashion in the present moment.</p> <p>Cognisance of design intentionality and historical and contemporary fashion discourses influence the various interpretations of fashion semiotics. However, there are also audience-created meanings within the various modes of performance and consumption. Where Kaiser and Green assert that “the process of fashion is inevitably linked to making and sustaining as well as resisting and dismantling power” (1), we can also observe that sartorial semiotics can have different meanings at different times. In the documentary, <em>Yellow Is Forbidden</em>, Guo Pei reflects on shifting semiotics in fashion. Speaking with a client, she remarks that “dragons and phoenixes used to represent the Chinese emperor—now they represent the spirit of the Chinese” (Brettkelly). Once a symbol of sacred, individual power, these iconic signifiers now communicate collective national identity.</p> <p>Both playing with and reimagining not only the grandeur of China’s imperial past, but also the particular role of the feminine form and female power therein, Guo Pei’s corpus evokes and complicates such contestations of power. On the one hand, her work serves to contest homogenising narratives of identity and femininity within China. Equally important, however, are the ways in which this work, which is possible both through and in spite of a Euro-American centric system of patronage within the fashion industry, complicates notions of East-West dualism. </p> <p>For Guo Pei, drawing on broadly accessible visual signifiers of Chinese heritage and culture has been critical in bringing attention to her endeavours. Her work draws significantly from her cultural heritage in terms of colour selections and traditional Chinese embroidery techniques. Symbols and motifs peculiar to Chinese culture are <a href="http://www.guopei.cn/En/article/id/130">abundant</a>: lotus flowers, dragons, phoenixes, auspicious numbers, and favourable Chinese language characters such as buttons in the shape of ‘double happiness’ (囍) are often present in her designs. Likewise, her techniques pay homage to traditional craft work, including Peranakan beading. </p> <p>The parallelity conjured by these choices is deliberate. In staging Guo Pei’s work for museum exhibitions at museums such as the <a href="https://www.nhb.gov.sg/acm/whats-on/exhibitions/guo-pei">Asian Civilizations Museum</a>, her designs are often showcased beside the historical artefacts that inspired them (Fu). On her <a href="http://www.guopei.cn/">Chinese website</a>, Guo Pei, highlights the historical connections between her designs and traditional Chinese embroidery craft through a sub-section of the “Spirit” header, entitled simply, “Inheritance”. These influences and expressions of Chinese culture are, in Guo Pei's own words her “design language” (Brettkelly).</p> <p>However, Guo Pei has also expressed an ambivalence about her positioning as a Chinese designer. She has maintained that she does not want “to be labelled as a Chinese storyteller ... and thinks about a global audience” (Yoong). In her expression of this desire to both derive power through design choices and historically situated practices and symbols, and simultaneously move beyond nationally bounded identity frameworks, Guo Pei positions herself in a space ‘betwixt and between.’ This is not only a space of encounter between East and West, but also a space that calls into question the limits and possibilities of semiotic expression.</p> <h1><strong>Authenticity and Legitimacy</strong></h1> <p>Global audiences of fashion rely on social devices of diffusion other than the runway: photography, film, museums, and galleries. Unique to Haute Couture, however, is the way in which such processes are often abstracted, decontextualised and pushed to the extremities of theatrical opulence. De Perthuis argues that to remove context “greatly reduce[s] the social, political, psychological and semiotic meanings” of fashion (151). When iconic motifs are utilised, the western gaze risks falling back on essentialising reification of identity. To this extent, for non-Chinese audiences Guo Pei’s works may serve not so much to problemitise historical and contemporary feminine identities and inheritances, so much as project an essentialisation of Chinese femininity.</p> <p>The double-bind created through Guo Pei’s simultaneous appeal to and resistance of archetypical notions of Chinese identity and femininity complicates the semiotic currency of her work. Moreover, Guo Pei’s work highlights tensions concerning understandings of Chinese culture between those in China and the diaspora. In her process of accessing reference material, Guo Pei has necessarily been driven to travel internationally, due to her concerns about a lack of access to material artefacts within China. She has sought out remnants of her ancestral culture in both the Chinese diaspora as well as material culture designed for export (Yoong; Brettkelly).</p> <p>This borrowing of Chinese design as depicted outside of China proper, alongside the use of western influences and patronage in Guo’s work has resulted in her work being dismissed by critics as “superficial … export ware, reimported” (Thurman). The insinuation that her work is derivative is tinged with denigration. Such critiques question not only the authenticity of the motifs and techniques utilised in Guo Pei’s designs, but also the legitimacy of the narratives of both feminine and Chinese identity communicated therein.</p> <p>Questions of cultural ‘authenticity’ serve to deny how culture, both tangible and intangible, is mutable over time and space. In his work on tourism, Taylor suggests that wherever “the production of authenticity is dependent on some act of (re)production, it is conventionally the past which is seen to hold the model of the original” (9). In this way, legitimacy of semiotic communication in works that evoke a temporally distant past is often seen to be adjudicated through notions of fidelity to the past. This authenticity of the ‘traditional’ associates ‘tradition’ with ‘truth’ and ‘authenticity.’ It is itself a form of mythmaking.</p> <p>As Guo Pei’s work is at once quintessentially Chinese and, through its audiences and capitalist modes of circulation, fundamentally Western, it challenges notions of authenticity and legitimacy both within the fashion world and in broader social discourses. Speaking about similar processes in literary fiction, Colavincenzo notes that works that attempt to “take on the myth of historical discourse and practice … expose the ways in which this discourse is constructed and how it fails to meet the various claims it makes for itself” (143). Rather than reinforcing imagined ‘truths’, appeals to an historical imagination such as that deployed by Guo Pei reveal its contingency.</p> <h1><strong>Conclusion</strong></h1> <p>In <em>Fashion in Altermodern China</em>, Feng suggests that we can “understand the sartorial as situating a set of visible codes and structures of meaning” (1). More than a reductionistic process of sender/receiver communication, fashion is profoundly embedded with intersectional dialogues. It is not the precision of signifiers, but their instability, fluidity, and mutability that is revealing.</p> <p>Guo Pei’s work offers narratives at the junction of Chinese and foreign, original and derivative, mythical and historical that have an unsettled nature. This ineffable tension between construction and deconstruction draws in both fashion creators and audiences. Whether encountering fashion on the runway, in museum cabinets, or on magazine pages, all renditions rely on its audience to engage with processes of imagination, fantasy, and memory as the first step of comprehending the semiotic languages of cloth.<strong> </strong></p> <h2><strong>References</strong></h2> <p>Anderson, Benedict. <em>Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism</em>. Rev. ed. London: Verso, 2016.</p> <p>Barnard, Malcolm. "Fashion as Communication Revisited."<em> Fashion Theory</em>. Routledge, 2020. 247-258.</p> <p>Barthes, Roland. <em>Mythologies</em>. London: J. Cape, 1972.</p> <p>Braester, Yomi. "The Post-Maoist Politics of Memory." <em>A Companion to Modern Chinese Literature</em>. Ed. Yingjin Zhang. London: John Wiley and Sons. 434-51.</p> <p>Brettkelly, Pietra (dir.). <em>Yellow Is Forbidden</em>. Madman Entertainment, 2019.</p> <p>Chen, Tina Mai. "Dressing for the Party: Clothing, Citizenship, and Gender-Formation in Mao's China." <em>Fashion Theory</em> 5.2 (2001): 143-71.</p> <p>Colavincenzo, Marc. "Trading Fact for Magic—Mythologizing History in Postmodern Historical Fiction." <em>Trading Magic for Fact, Fact for Magic</em>. Ed. Marc Colavincenzo. Brill, 2003. 85-106.</p> <p>De Perthuis, Karen. "The Utopian 'No Place' of the Fashion Photograph." <em>Fashion, Performance and Performativity: The Complex Spaces of Fashion</em>. Eds. Andrea Kollnitz and Marco Pecorari. London: Bloomsbury, 2022. 145-60.</p> <p>Feng, Jie. <em>Fashion in Altermodern China. Dress Cultures</em>. Eds. Reina Lewis and Elizabeth Wilson. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022.</p> <p>Finnane, Antonia. <em>Changing Clothes in China: Fashion, History, Nation</em>. New York: Columbia UP, 2008.</p> <p>Fu, Courtney R. "Guo Pei: Chinese Art and Couture."<em> Fashion Theory </em>25.1 (2021): 127-140.</p> <p>Hall, Stuart. "Encoding – Decoding." <em>Crime and Media</em>. Ed. Chris Greer. London: Routledge, 2019.</p> <p>Hendrik, Joris. "The History of Haute Couture in Numbers." <em>Vogue</em> (France), 2021.</p> <p>Kaiser, Susan B., and Denise N. Green. <em>Fashion and Cultural Studies</em>. London: Bloomsbury, 2021.</p> <p>Lurie, Alison. <em>The Language of Clothes.</em> London: Bloomsbury, 1992.</p> <p>Taylor, John P. "Authenticity and Sincerity in Tourism." <em>Annals of Tourism Research</em> 28.1 (2001): 7-26.</p> <p>Thurman, Judith. "The Empire's New Clothes – China’s Rich Have Their First Homegrown Haute Couturier." <em>The New Yorker</em>, 2016.</p> <p>Yoong, Jackie. "Guo Pei: Chinese Art and Couture." Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum, 2019.</p> <p>Zhang, Weiwei. "Politicizing Fashion: Inconspicuous Consumption and Anti-Intellectualism during the Cultural Revolution in China."<em> Journal of Consumer Culture </em>21.4 (2021): 950-966.</p> Amber Patterson-Ooi, Natalie Araujo Copyright (c) 2022 Amber Patterson-Ooi, Natalie Araujo http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2927 Wed, 05 Oct 2022 00:00:00 +0000 A Brief Discussion of Asian Women in Leadership https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2925 <p>As never before, women are rightfully in positions of political power, and into the maelstrom of mass media challenges to their fashions and their right to govern. Fraught narratives surround the clothing of women in leadership in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, and Indonesia. There is an enduring relationship between women and dress which needs to be examined in regard to how clothing choices inform and articulate the ways in which women remain represented as either suitable or not for public office, how they may be lauded or damned when they are in power.</p> <p>In <em>Women and Power: The Politics of Dress</em> it is argued by several authors that political dress for women in the Asia-Pacific expresses a complex set of political and cultural legacies as it impacts their style of government and appearance. Cultural legacies are, in some cases, determined by choice or rejection of ethnic clothing of the past. When Myanmar leader Aung San Sui-Kyi chose to wear versions of her native costume, she offered the physical appearance of her commitment to government by the people, rather than the military (124). She was deposed from office and imprisoned after a military coup in 2021, and Myanmar currently remains under military rule. Interesting examples of ‘native costume’ in politics include: the former ‘first lady’ of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, and her use of the classic Filipina ‘butterfly dress’ (122), and former Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam’s adoption of the ancient Chinese ‘qipao’ or ‘cheong sam’ (129). Other legacies include the very strict set of attire worn by brides entering the Japanese royal family, and further honorifics as exemplified by the wedding clothes of Princess-by-marriage Masako and her subsequent rise to Empress of Japan (63-72).</p> <p>Contrary to country- and cultural-specific clothing for much of Asia, political dress for women includes the overwhelming impact of western culture on garments through mass media, such as television and films, and more recently, the socials. (130).</p> <p>Theories regarding political attire of non-Western women in leadership risk the notion of ‘stereotyping’ through the Western view of the ‘exoticism’ of women through ‘Oriental costuming’ (121). As noted above, there is a legitimate option for Asian women to select their garments to express both cultural traditions alongside their employment of Westernised or popular fashion, or even haute couture. For instance, more Avant Garde designer clothing was important to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and others (128).</p> <p>Further, clothing worn by women in politics offers the opportunity to express not only the political aspirations of their country and its role in global negotiations. Women politicians' use of distinctive country-based designers in India, Pakistan, Japan, Indonesia, and China (PRC) when on the global stage has been defined as ‘sartorial diplomacy’ (13). Promoting the fashion of one’s native country has also been defined as ‘soft power’ (13). Likewise, the use of ‘native’ or country-centric costume has offered women in leadership to mix a national form of identify politics as befits their nation’s goals (13). Finally, meeting nationalistic goals within the bounds of a culturally-based sense of women’s proper roles in society, i.e. placing family and children first can be challenging, if not impossible, with their own wishes to display their own identity through the adoption of contemporary fashion.</p> <p>Finally, how women leaders dress is subject to critical commentary through mass media and the socials, where appearance takes on a disproportionate level of importance (16). Women who rise to political prominence will need to continue to ‘call out’ inappropriate commentary on their attire that undermines their authority to govern their countries as men have done without question.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://journal.media-culture.org.au/public/site/images/elking/9781789384611-118655-800x600.jpg" alt="" width="418" height="600" /></p> <h2>Excerpted from the following: </h2> <p>Denise N. Rall (ed.). <em>Fashion, Women and Power: The Politics of Dress</em>. Bristol: Intellect / Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2022.</p> <h2>Author Biography</h2> <p>Denise N. Rall, Adjunct Fellow – Research [pending]<strong>, </strong>in<strong> </strong>Humanities &amp; Social Sciences<strong>, </strong>Southern Cross University, Lismore NSW, was awarded her PhD in 2007. Since 2008, Denise relocated her academic and artistic interests to fashion and textiles through a critical lens to view the sociology of clothing and its role in society. Latest book: Fashion, Women &amp; Power: The Politics of Dress published in 2022.</p> Denise N. Rall Copyright (c) 2022 Denise N. Rall http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2925 Wed, 05 Oct 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Fashion, Thresholds, and Borders https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2934 <h1>Introduction</h1> <p>Since at least the work of van Gennep in the early 1900s, anthropologists have recognised that borders and thresholds are crucial in understanding human behavior and culture. But particularly in the past few decades, the study of borders has moved from the margins of social inquiry to the centre. At the same time, fashion (Entwistle), including clothing and skin (Bille), have emerged as crucial to understanding the human condition. In this article, we draw on and expand this literature on borders and fashion to demonstrate that the way Indonesians fashion and display their body reflects larger changes in attitudes about morality and gender. And in this, borders and thresholds are crucial. In order to make this argument, we consider three case studies from Indonesia. First, we discuss the requirement that policewomen submit to a virginity test, which takes the form of a hymen inspection. Then, we look at the successful campaign by policewomen to be able to wear the Islamic veil. Finally, we consider reports of Makassar policewomen who attempt to turn young people into exemplary citizens and traffic 'ambassadors' by using downtown crosswalks as a catwalk. In each of these three cases, fashioned borders and thresholds play prominent roles in determining the expression of morality, particularly in relation to gender roles.</p> <h1>Fashion, Thresholds, and Borders</h1> <p>There was once a time when social scientists tended to view clothes and other forms of adornment as "frivolous" or trivial (Entwistle 14; 18). Over the past few decades, however, fashion has emerged as a serious study within the social sciences. Writers have, for example, demonstrated how fashion is closely tied up with identity and capitalism (King and Winarnita). And although fashion used to be envisaged as emerging from London, New York, Paris, Milan, and other Western locations, scholars are increasingly recognising the importance of Asia in fashion studies. Whether the <em>haute couture </em>and cosplay in Tokyo or 'traditional' weaving of materials in Indonesia, studying fashion and clothes provides crucial insight into the cultures and societies of Asia (King and Winarnita).</p> <p>To contribute to this burgeoning area of research in Asian fashion, we draw on the anthropological classics, in particular, the concept of threshold. Every time we walk through a doorway, gate, or cross a line, we cross a threshold. But what classic anthropology shows us is that crossing certain thresholds changes our social status. This changing particularly occurs in the context of ritual. For example, walking onto a stage, a person becomes a performer or actor. Traditionally a groom carries his bride through the door, symbolising the transition to husband and wife (Douglas 115). In this article, we apply this idea that crossing thresholds is associated with transitioning social statuses (Douglas; Turner; van Gennep). To do this, we first establish a connection between national and personal borders. We argue that skin and clothes have a cultural function in addition to their practical functions. Typically, skin is imagined as a kind of social border and clothes provide a buffer zone. But to make this case, we first need to elaborate how we understand national borders.</p> <p>In the traditional kingdoms of Southeast Asia, borders were largely imperceptible or non-existent. Power was thought to radiate out from the ruler, through the capital, and into the surrounding areas. As it emanated from this 'exemplary centre', power was thought to weaken (Geertz 222-229). Rather than an area of land, a kingdom was thought to be a group of people (Tambiah 516). In this context, borders were irrelevant. But as in other parts of the world, in the era of nations, the situation has entirely changed in modern Indonesia.</p> <p>In a simple sense, our current global legal system is created out of international borders. These borders are, first and foremost, imagined lines that separate the area belonging to one nation-state from another. Borders are for the most part simply drawn on maps, explained by reference to latitude, longitude, and other features of the landscape. But, obviously, borders exist outside the imagination and on maps. They have significance in international law, in separating one jurisdiction from another. Usually, national borders can only be legally crossed with appropriate documentation and legal status. In extreme cases, crossing another nation's border can be a cause for war; but the difficulty in determining borders in practice means both sides may debate over whether a border was actually crossed. Where this possibility exists, sometimes the imagined lines are marked on the actual earth by fences, walls, etc.</p> <p>To protect borders, buffer zones are sometimes created. The most famous buffer zone is the Demilitarized Zone or DMZ, which runs along North Korea's border with South Korea. As no peace treaty has been signed between these two nations, they are technically still at war. Hostility is intense, but armed conflict has, for the most part, ceased. The buffer helps both sides maintain this cessation by enabling them to distinguish between an unintentional infringement and a genuine invasion. All this practical significance of borders and buffer zones is obvious. But borders become even more fascinating when we look beyond their 'practical' significance.</p> <p>Borders have ritual as well as practical importance. Like the flag, the nation's borders have meaning. They also have moral implications. Borders have become an issue of almost fanatical or zealous significance. The 2015 footage of a female Hungarian reporter physically attacking asylum seekers who crossed the border into her nation indicates that she was not just upset with their legal status; presumably she does not physically attack people breaking other laws (<em>BBC News</em>). Similarly the border vigilantes, volunteers who 'protect' the southern borders of the USA against what they see as drug cartels, apparently take no action against white-collar criminals in the cities of the USA. For the Hungarian reporter and the border vigilantes, the border is a threshold to be protected at all costs and those who cross it without proper documentation and process are more than just law breakers; they are moral transgressors, possibly even equivalent to filth.</p> <p>So much for border crossing. What about the borders themselves? As mentioned, fences, walls, and other markers are built to make the imagined line tangible. But some borders go well beyond that. Borders are also adorned or fashioned. For instance, the border between North and South Korea serves as a site where national sovereignty and legitimacy are emphasised, defended, and contested. It is at this buffer zone that these two nations look at each other and showcase to the other what is ideally contained within their own respective national borders. But it is not just national states which have buffer zones and borders with deep significance in the modern period; our own clothes and skin possess a similar moral significance.</p> <p>Why are clothes so important? Of course, like national borders, clothes have practical and functional use. Clothes keep us warm, dry, and protected from the sun and other elements. In addition to this practical use, clothes are heavily imbued with significance. Clothes are a way to fashion the body. They define our various identities including gender, class, etc. Clothes also signify morality and modesty (Leach 152). But where does this morality regarding clothing come from? Clothing is a site where state, religious, and familial control is played out.</p> <p>Just like the DMZ, our bodies are aestheticised with adornments, accoutrements, and decorations, and they are imbued with strong symbolic significance in attempts to reveal what constitutes the enclosed. Just like the DMZ, our clothing or lack thereof is considered constitutive of the nation. Because clothes play a role akin to geo-political borders, clothes are our DMZ; they mark us as good citizens. Whether we wear gang colours or a cross on our necklace, they can show us as belonging to something powerful, protective, and worth belonging to. They also show others that they do not belong.</p> <p>In relation to this, perhaps it is necessary to mention one cultural aspect of clothing. This is the importance, in the modern Indonesian nation, of appearing <em>rapih</em>. <em>Rapih</em> typically means clean, tidy, and well-groomed. The ripped and dirty jeans, old T-shirts, unshaven, unkempt hair, which has, at times, been mainstream fashion in other parts of the world, is typically viewed negatively in Indonesia, where wearing 'appropriate' clothing has been tied up with the nationalist project. For instance, as a primary school student in Indonesia, Winarnita was taught <em>Pendidikan Moral Pancasila </em>(Pancasila Moral Education). Named after the Pancasila, the guiding principles of the Indonesian nation, this class is also known as "PMP". It provided instruction in how to be a good national citizen. Crucially, this included deportment. The importance of being well dressed and <em>rapih </em>was stressed. In sum, like national borders, clothes are much more than their practical significance and practical use.</p> <p>This analysis can be extended by looking at skin. The practical significance of skin cannot be overstated; it is crucial to survival. But that does not preclude the possibility that humans—being the prolifically creative and meaning-making animals that we are—can make skin meaningful. Everyday racism, for instance, is primarily enabled by people making skin colour meaningful. And although skin is not optional, we fashion it into borders that define who we are, such as through tattoos, by piercing, accessorising, and through various forms of body modification (from body building to genital modification).</p> <p>Thresholds are also important in understanding skin. In a modern Indonesian context, when a penis crosses a woman's hymen her ritual status changes; she is no longer a virgin maiden (<em>gadis</em>) or virgin (<em>perawan</em>). If we apply the analogy of borders to the hymen, we could think of it as a checkpoint or border crossing. At a national border crossing, only people with correct credentials (for instance, passport holders with visas) can legally cross and only at certain times (not on public holidays or only from 9-5). At a hymen, only people with the correct status, namely one's husband, can morally cross. The checkpoint is a crucial reminder of the nation state and citizen scheme. The hymen is a crucial reminder of heteronormative standards.</p> <p>Crucial to understanding Indonesian notions of skin is the idea of <em>aurat </em>(Bennett 2007; Parker 2008). This term refers to parts of the body that should be covered. Or it could be said that <em>aurat</em> refers to 'intimate parts' of the body, if we understand that different parts of the body are considered intimate in Indonesian cultures. Indonesians tend to describe the <em>aurat</em> as those body parts that arouse feelings of sexual attraction or embarrassment in others. The concept tends to have Arabic and Islamic associations in Indonesia. Accordingly, for many Muslims, it means that women, once they appear sexually mature, should cover their hair, neck, and cleavage, and other areas that might arouse sexual attraction. These need to be covered when they leave their house, when they are viewed by people outside of the immediate nuclear family (<em>muhrim</em>). For men, it means they should be covered from their stomach to their knees. However, different Islamic scholars and preachers give different interpretations about what the <em>aurat</em> includes, with some opining that the entire female body with the exception of hands and face needs to be covered. That said, the general disposition or habitus of using clothes to cover is also found among non-Muslims in Indonesia. Accordingly, Catholics, Protestants, and Hindus also tend to cover their legs and cleavage, and so on, more than would commonly be found in Western countries. Having outlined the literature and cultural context, we now turn to our case studies.</p> <h1>The Veil and Indonesian Policewomen</h1> <p>Our first case study focusses on Indonesian police. Aside from a practical significance in law enforcement, police also have symbolic importance. There is an ideal that police should set and enforce standards for exemplary behaviour. Despite this, the Indonesia police have an image problem, being seen as highly corrupt (Davies, Stone, &amp; Buttle). This is where policewomen fit in. The female constabulary are thought to be capable of morally improving the police force and the nation. Additionally, Indonesian policewomen are believed to be needed in situations of family violence, for instance, and to bring a sensitive and humane approach.</p> <p>The moral significance of Indonesia's policewomen shows clearly through issues of their clothing, in particular, the veil. In 2005, it became illegal for Indonesian policewomen to wear the veil on duty. Various reasons were given for this ban. These included that police should present a secular image, showcasing a modern and progressive nation. But this was one border contest where policewomen were able to successfully fight back; in 2013, they won the right to wear the veil on duty. The arguments espoused by both sides during this debate were reflective of geo-political border disputes, and protagonists deployed words such as "sovereignty", "human rights", and "religious autonomy". But in the end it was the policewomen's narrative that best convinced the government that they had a right to wear the veil on duty. Possibly this is because by 2013 many politicians and policymakers wanted to present Indonesia as a pious nation and having policewomen able to express their religion – and the veil being imbued with sentiments of honesty and dedication – fitted in with this larger national image. In contrast, policewomen have been unsuccessful in efforts to ban so called virginity testing (discussed below).</p> <h1><strong>Indonesian Policewomen Need to Be Attractive</strong></h1> <p>But veils are not the only bodily border that can be packed around language used to describe a DMZ. Policewomen's physical appearance, and specifically facial appearance and make-up, are discussed in similar terms. As such another border that policewomen must present in a particular (i.e. beautiful) way is their appearance. As part of the selection process, women police candidates must be judged by a mostly male panel as being pretty. They have to be a certain height and weight, and bust measurements are taken. The image of the policewoman is tall, slim, and beautiful, with a veil or with regulation cut and coiffed hair. Recognising the 'importance' of beauty for policewomen, they are given a monthly allowance precisely to buy make-up. Such is the status of policewomen that entry is highly competitive. And those who make the cut accrue many benefits. One of these benefits can be celebrity status, and it is not unusual for some policewomen to have over 100,000 Instagram followers. This celebrity status has led one police official to publicly state that women should not join the police force thinking it is a shortcut to celebrity status (Davies). So just like a nation trying to present its best self, Indonesia is imagined in the image of its policewomen. Policewomen feel pride in being selected for this position even when feeling vexed about these barriers to getting selected (Davies). Another barrier to selection is discussed in the next case study.</p> <h1>Virginity Testing of Policewomen</h1> <p>Our second case study relates to the necessity that female police recruits be virgins. Since 1965, policewomen recruits have been required to undergo internal examinations to ensure that their hymen is supposedly intact. Glossed as 'virginity' tests this procedure involves a two-finger examination by a health professional. Protests against the practice have been voiced by Human Rights Watch and others (Human Rights Watch). Pledges have also been made that the practice will be removed. But to date the procedure is still performed, although there are currently moves to have it banned within the armed forces. Hymens are more of a skin border than a clothing border such as that formed by uniforms or veils, but they operate in similar ways. The ‘feelable’ hymen marks an unmarried woman as moral. New women police recruits must be unmarried and therefore virgins. Actually, the hymen is not a taut skin border, but rather a loose connection of overlapping tissue and in this sense a hymen is not something one can lose. But the hymen is used as a proxy to determine a woman’s value. Hymen border control gives one a moral edge. A hymen supposedly measures a woman’s ability to protect herself, like any fortified geo-political border. Protecting one’s own borders gives the suggestion that one is able to protect others. A policewoman who can protect her bodily borders can protect those of others.</p> <p>Outsiders may wonder what being attractive, modest, but not too modest has to do with police work. And some (but by no means all) Indonesian policewomen wondered the same thing too. Indeed, some policewomen Davies interviewed in the 2010s were against this practice, but many staunchly supported it. They had successfully passed this rite of passage and therefore felt a common bond with other new recruits who had also gone through this procedure. Typically rites of passage, and especially the accompanying humiliation and abuse, engender a strong sense of solidarity among those who have passed through them. The virginity test seems to have operated in a similar way.</p> <h1>Policewomen and the 'Citayam' Street Fashion</h1> <p>Our third case study is an analysis of a short and otherwise unremarkable TV news report about policewomen parading across a crosswalk in a remote regional city. To understand why, we need to turn to "Citayam Fashion Week", a youth social movement which has developed around a road crossing in downtown Jakarta. Social movements like this are difficult to pin down, but it seems that a central aspect has been young fashionistas using a zebra crossing on a busy Jakarta street as an impromptu catwalk to strut across, be seen, and photographed. These youths are referred to in one article as "Jakarta's budget fashionistas" (Saraswati). The movement is understood in social media and traditional media sources as expressing 'street fashion'. Social media has been central to this movement. The youths have posted photos and videos of themselves crossing the road on social media. Some of these young fashionistas posted interviews with each other on TikTok. Some of the interviews went viral in June 2022 (Saraswati).</p> <p>So where does the name "Citayam Fashion Week" come from? Citayam is an outer area of Jakarta, which is a long way from from the wealthy central district where the young fashionistas congregate. But "Citayam" does not mean that the youths are all thought to come from that area. Instead the idea is that they could be from any poorer outer areas around the capital and have bussed or trained into town. The crosswalk they strut across is near the transport hub next to a central train station. The English-language "Fashion Week" is a tongue-in-cheek label mocking the haute couture fashion weeks around the world – events which, due to a wealth and class gap, are closed off to these teens. Strutting on the crosswalk is not limited to a single 'week' but it is an ongoing activity. The movement has spread to other parts of Indonesia, with youth parading across cross walks in other urban centres.</p> <p>Citayam Fashion Week became one of the major Indonesian public issues of 2022. Reaction was mixed. Some pointed to the unique street style and attitude, act, and language of the young fashionistas, some of whom became minor celebrities. The "Citayam Fashion Week" idea was also picked up by mainstream media, attracting celebrities, models, content creators, politicians and other people in the public eye. Some government voices also welcomed the social movement as promoting tourism and the creative industry. Others voiced disapproval at the youth. Their clothes were disparaged as 'tacky', reflecting deep divides in class and income in modern Jakarta. Some officials noted that they are a nuisance because they create traffic jams and loitering. Criticism also had a moral angle, in particular with commentators focused on male teens wearing feminine attire (Saraswati). Social scientists such as Oki Rahadianto (Souisa &amp; Salim) and Saraswati see this as an expression of youth agency. These authors particularly highlight the class origins of the Citayam fashionistas being mostly from poorer outer suburbs. Their fashion displays are seen to be a way of reclaiming space for the youth in the urban landscape. Furthermore, the youths are expressing their own and unique version of youth culture.</p> <p>We can use the idea of threshold to provide unique insight into this phenomenon in the simple sense that the crosswalk connects one side of the road to the other. But the youth use it for something far more significant than this simple practical purpose. What is perceived to be happening is that some of the youth, who after all are in the process of transitioning from childhood to adulthood, use the crosswalk to publicly express their transition to non-normative gender and sexual identities; indeed, some of them have also transitioned to become mini celebrities in the process. Images of 'Citayam' portray young males adorned in makeup and clothes that are not identifiably masculine. They appear to be crossing gender boundaries. Other images show the distinct street fashion of these youth of exposed skin through crop tops (short tops) that show the belly, clothes with cut-out sections on various parts of the body, and ripped jeans. In a way, these youth are transgressing the taboo against exposing too much skin in public. </p> <p>One video is particularly interesting in light of the approach we are taking in this article as it comes from Makassar, the capital of one of Indonesia's outlying regions. "The Citayam Fashion Week phenomenon spreads to Makassar; young people become traffic (<em>lalu lintas</em>) ambassadors" (<em>Kompas TV</em>) is a news report about policewomen getting involved with young people using a crosswalk to parade their fashion. At first glance the Citayam Fashion Week portrayed in Makassar, a small city in an outlying province, is tiny compared to the scale of the movement in Jakarta. The news report shows half a dozen young males in feminine clothing and makeup. Aside from several cars in the background, there is no observable traffic that the process seems to interrupt. The news report portrays several Indonesian policewomen, all veiled, assisting and accompanying the young fashionistas. The reporter explains that the policewomen go 'hand in hand' (<em>menggandeng</em>) with the fashionistas. The police attempt to harness the creative energy of the youth and turn them into traffic ambassadors (<em>duta lalu lintas</em>). Perhaps it is going too far to state, but the term for traffic here, <em>lalu lintas</em> ("<em>lalu</em>" means to pass by or pass through, and "<em>lintas</em>" means "to cross"), implies that the police are assisting them in crossing thresholds. In any case, from the perspective we have adopted in this chapter, Citayam Fashion Week can be analysed in terms of thresholds as a literal road crossing turned into a place where youth can cross over gender norms and class barriers. The policewomen, with their soft, feminine abilities, attempt to transform them into exemplary citizens.</p> <h1>Discussion: Morality, Skin, and Borders</h1> <p> In this article, we have actually passed over two apparent contradictions in Indonesian society. In the early 2000s, Indonesian policewomen recruits were required to prove their modesty by passing a virginity test in which their hymen was inspected. Yet, at the same time they needed to be attractive. And, moreover, they were not allowed to wear the Muslim veil. They had to be modest and protect themselves from male lust but also good-looking and visible to others.</p> <p>The other contradiction relates to a single crosswalk or zebra crossing in downtown Jakarta, Indonesia's capital city, in 2022. Instead of using this zebra crossing simply as a place to cross the road, some youths turned it to their own ends as an impromptu 'catwalk' and posted images of their fashion on Instagram. A kind of social movement has emerged whereby Indonesian youth are fashioning their identity that contravenes gender expectations. In an inconsequential news report on the Citayam Fashion Week in Makassar, policewomen were portrayed as co-opting and redirecting the movement into an instructional opportunity in orderly road crossing. The youths could thereby transformed into good citizens.</p> <p>Although the two phenomena – attractive modest police virgins and a crosswalk that became a catwalk – might seem distinct, underlying the paradoxes are similar issues which can be teased out by analysing them in terms of morality, gender, and clothing in relation to borders, buffer zones, and thresholds.</p> <p>Veils, hymens, clothes, make-up are all politically positioned as borders worth fighting for, as necessary borders. While some border disputes can be won (such as policewomen winning the right to veil on duty, or disrupting traffic by parading one's gender-bending fashion), others are either not challenged or unsuccessfully challenged (such as ending virginity tests).</p> <p>These borders of moral encounter enable and provoke various responses: the ban on veiling for Indonesian policewomen was something to challenge as it undermined women’s moral position and stopped their expression of piety – things their nation wanted them to be able to do. But fighting to stop virginity testing was not permissible because even suggesting a contestation implies immorality. Only the immoral could want to get rid of virginity tests. The Citayam Fashion Week presented potentially immoral youths who corrupt national values, but with the help of policewomen, literally and figuratively holding their hand, they could be transformed into worthwhile citizens. National values were at stake in clothing and skin.</p> <h1>Conclusion</h1> <p>Borders and buffer zone are crucial to a nation's image of itself; whether in the geographical shape of one's country, or in clothes and skin. Douglas suggests that the human experience of boundaries can symbolise society. If she is correct, Indonesian nationalist ideas about clothing, skin, and even hymens shape how Indonesians understand their own nation.</p> <p>Through the three case studies we argued firstly for the importance of analysing the fashioning of the body not only as a form of border maintenance, but as truly at the centre of understanding national morality in Indonesia. Secondly, the national border may also be a way to remake the individual. People see themselves in the 'shape' of their country. As Bille stated "like skin, borders are a protective integument as well as a surface of inscription. Like the body, the nation is skin deep" (71).</p> <p>Thresholds are just as they imply. Passing through a threshold, we cross over one side of the border. We can potentially occupy an in-between status in, for instance, demilitarised zones. Or we can continue on to the other side. To go over a threshold such as becoming a policewoman, a teenager, a fashionista, and a mini celebrity, a good citizen can be constituted through re-fashioning the body. Fashioning one's body can be done through adorning skin with makeup or clothes, covering or revealing the skin, including particular parts of the body deemed sacred, such as the <em>aurat</em>, or by maintaining a special type of skin such as the hymen. The skin that is re-fashioned thus becomes a site of border contention that we argue define not only personal but national identity.</p> <h2>Acknowledgment </h2> <p>This article was first presented by Sharyn Graham Davies as a plenary address on 24 November 2021 as part of the Women in Asia conference.</p> <h2>References</h2> <p><em>BBC News</em>. 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"The Galactic Polity: The Structure of Traditional Kingdoms in Southeast Asia." <em>The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences</em> 293 (1977): 69-97.</p> <p>Turner, Victore W. "Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Period in <em>Rites de Passage</em>." In William Armand Lessa and Evon Zartman Vogt (eds.), <em>Reader in Comparative Religion: An Anthropological Approach</em>. London: Harper Collins, 1979 [1964]. 234-243.</p> <p>Van Gennep, Arnold. <em>The Rites of Passage</em>. London: Routledge 2004.</p> Monika Winarnita, Sharyn Graham Davies, Nicholas Herriman Copyright (c) 2022 Monika Winarnita, Sharyn Graham Davies, Nicholas Herriman http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2934 Fri, 07 Oct 2022 00:00:00 +0000