Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cool Asians

They're everywhere. But where're the cool ones at?

In this article, ms.stellar takes Hebdige's theory of subculture and applies it in her encounters with Asian migrant individuals in Aotearoa, involved in activist communities or independent non-capitalistic work. She aims to highlight a cacophany of sentiments, shared by but not often discussed amongst activist wimmin circles in Aotearoa. There are no (f)actual names, or places, as she writes in the loose context of personal experience.

Shonen Knife, defunct Japanese all-girl punk rock trio began it all for me.

Notions of cool, manufactured in popular culture, play some bearing on self-determined activist communities. Whether we like it or not, we're influenced by the objects that pervade our senses - in the streets, on the Internet, in the papers and particularly amongst the people we meet. With the increasing occupation of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in our thoughtspace, our notions of what's cool, what's 'in' and 'out' are challenged radically. We become judgmental to the way people write about themselves, what kinds of music & books they read, how articulate or inarticulate their political sensibilities are. Face it - if not for the lure of confident rebellion, playful oppositional practices and the promise of self-empowerment that counterculturisms project, we would not be what we are right now.

Whether it's being acknowledged properly in activist communities or not, is yet to be discovered. What I do know is the premise of any subculture, that Hebdige (1979) writes as 'the meaning of style', is something we can access to make sense of how we think of each other - us, being Asian wimmin amongst the wider multicultural migrant network (which essentially operates as a subculture in various ways) and us, as migrant wimmin participating in social change for Aotearoa.