January 8, 2016

"This article originally misidentified the bloggers Tracy of fanserviced-b and Cat Cactus of Snow White and the Asian Pear as 'self-identified feminist academics and scholars.'"

"Neither blogger self-identifies as a feminist, and Cat Cactus is not an academic. The piece also stated that Tracy and Cat Cactus are among women who 'view the elaborate [K-beauty] routine not as vanity but rather as an act of radical feminist self-care.' Both bloggers disavow this view, and neither of them were contacted for the piece."

That's one hell of a correction on a Slate article that was already whacked out on its own terms — "Radical Self-Care/Meet the feminist academics who love K-beauty," by Rebecca Schuman. I was all you've got to be kidding me long before I got to the correction. Just to give you a taste of what Schuman was dishing up raving about some 10-step Korean beauty products:
... K-beauty is... popular with self-identified feminist academics and scholars... Indeed, Stockton University English and digital humanities professor and Web designer Adeline Koh published an entire blog post on the subject.... "I’ve started to view beauty as a form of self-care, instead of a patriarchal trap. One of my deepest inspirations, the writer and activist Audre Lorde, famously declared that “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.'"
Just the phrase "an entire blog post" made me laugh. 
“Self-care, especially for a woman of color, is radical,” [my colleague Dorothy Kim, a professor of medieval literature at Vassar College]  tells me. Korean beauty “is a little breath of relaxing joy and feminist community.”...

Part of why K-beauty in particular seems to have trended in academia is that... [it] can be blended fairly seamlessly with a solitary, writing-intensive profession. More than one scholar I interviewed reported dividing writing or grading goals into mask units. Several plan to incorporate group masking into informal meetings at this weekend’s Modern Languages Association conference (which makes the whole experience sound a tad less odious).

It even intersects with some scholarship—for example, Koh’s current book project, which is “a comparative study of representations of whiteness in different parts of the world.”... For example, “Korean beauty products often sell themselves as ‘whitening,’ which makes people in the U.S. think that they are bleaching their skin....  This makes for some awkward translations, though—such as the Korean brand with a product called White Power Essence....
Boldface mine. Laughter mine.

21 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Korean ladies do great nails. They also seem to have invented pedicures

Sebastian said...

"I’ve started to view beauty as a form of self-care, instead of a patriarchal trap. One of my deepest inspirations, the writer and activist Audre Lorde, famously declared that “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.'" Inching toward honesty about "feminism."

wagz1002 said...

How miserable are these feminists and the beta males that attempt to court them? Quite pathetic.

glenn said...

I smell bucksnort. A big load of bucksnort.

MadisonMan said...

Why not just add to the start of the article: Slate Editors did not read this article before publishing it?

Chris N said...

Can a fella still become a Slate XX member?

Is there a VIP lounge where all the guys n gals can get together?

Fernandinande said...

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.'"

Crazy chicks are sometimes mistaken for witches.

Fernandinande said...

"White Power Essence" got 4.5/5 stars on Amazon, but "Blackhead Power Liquid" got 5/5!

"Galactomyces 95 White Power Essence is recommended for people who want an essence that whitens and renews the skin.(Whitening + Anti-Wrinkle Effect) Free of paraben, ethanol, surfactant, artificial colorant, artificial fragrance, triethanolamine and phthalein."

Michael said...

It's "neither of them was contacted" not were. Slate should run another correction.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

an act of political warfare

My eyes, they burn from the rolling!

Are actual feminists happy to be seen as simply women shouting ME ME ME ME! all the time? I can't imagine they are...but of course these are respected feminists, academics, so attention must be paid.

Anyway, monkeyfishing!

Scott McGlasson said...

OH FFS!

“Self-care, especially for a woman of color, is radical,”

Only because you feel the need to be empowered for something a LOT of other people just take as part of their day, you vacuous, pitiful excuse for a human being.

William said...

Growing up, I can't remember a single nail care establishment anywhere. We were sturdy, self reliant pioneer stock back in those days.. Now in NYC there's one every two or three blocks. I think there's more of them than Starbucks.......I can't remember ever being attracted to a woman because of her fingernails--although maybe there's some subliminal stuff going on. Anyway, it does seem that with minimal care and expense a woman could do her own nails and save enough money to buy a top of the line HD tv. What is it I don't understand about fingernails?

Birkel said...

Amateur webzine Slate...

Is the theme today self-mockery?

pdug said...

"Self-care, especially for a woman of color, is radical"

How do you get to that point?

Laura said...

Academic mindset: Visiting professor at a sizeable Midwestern university argues that unless one is born of color one cannot understand the experience those who are.

Undergraduate mindset: Wonders why for that proposition the inverse is not also true, and likewise the purpose of reading the selected authors and completing the class. Keeps that potentially contentious thought to herself out of the respect she was taught to show educators. Later she receives a perfect grade for dressing herself in gray and performing a Carolyn Rodgers poem on loneliness.

Academic mindset: Professor in different department of same university laments that the students of color must endure the racism of having to book a single hair care provider in the large city.

Graduate student mindset: Wonders if the situation might actually promote community within the subgroup and also why the lack has not prompted the rise of entrepreneurs to alleviate the inconvenience and take advantage of the obvious business opportunity. She begins to raise her hand to speak, but then knowing a long-fought pink flush is creeping into her cheeks lowers it, as she remembers that she has been taught she is without tenure, and by appearance, allegedly colorless and devoid of meaningful culture.

Diversity lives.

Mrs Whatsit said...

I spent some time in South Korea 35 or 40 years ago and -- then, at least -- it was a racist society beyond anything we'd have tolerated here at that time, even in Alabama. After centuries of invasions and imperialism, the Koreans I met were deeply and unapologetically skeptical and disdainful of most ethnic groups from elsewhere, including people of Japanese or Chinese descent. As for black people, American GIs had left behind many illegitimate children of mixed race, who were highly visible because most of them seemed to be street beggars - skinny street kids with Asian eye structure but kinky afros, or straight shiny Asian black hair with African skin tone. According to my Korean hosts, the reason that these kids had to beg in the streets was that they'd been disowned from their birth families for their race, probably along with their mothers. There was apparently no social safety net for them - no orphan facilities, no schools where they'd be admitted, no future beyond begging and no apparent social concern for them on anyone's behalf.

At that time, every Korean I met seemed to admire white Americans and seek contact to practice their English and learn more about America so they could pick up and adopt American cultural attributes. I haven't been back, and I'm sure many things are very different now - this was when the country was still undeveloped, before its economic engine really started up in the 1980s and 1990s. However, remembering those street kids, I have no difficulty believing that the name "White Power Essence" on a Korean skin care product means exactly what it says.

Defenseman Emeritus said...

What I didn’t realize until recently, however, is that K-beauty is also popular with self-identified feminist academics and scholars, several of whom told me that they view the elaborate routine not as vanity but rather as an act of radical feminist self-care.

Radical feminist self-care or blatant, egregious cultural appropriation? Silly me, it's only cultural appropriation when people we don't like do it.

Mary Beth said...

I'm too lazy for the 10-step routine, but I do love sheet masks. For the masks, at least, the ones that are for skin whitening are meant to even out skin tone, not make you look whiter.

Johanna Lapp said...

I wash my face every morning. That's about it.

The real beauty myth is that men drive women to slather on this garish goop and wear these preposterous garments.

Deirdre Saoirse Moen said...

The "White Power Essence" product was renamed to "Whitening Power Essence" shortly after social media brought the American connotations to the manufacturer's attention. "White" or "Whitening" in Korean skin care simply means a product that helps address hyperpigmentation, generally from sun or acne damage. As an example, using a Vitamin C serum has lessened my freckles. Whitening products don't change the underlying base skin tone, though.

That said, there apparently is discrimination against darker-skinned Koreans going on in Korea, which I find disheartening.

Deirdre Saoirse Moen said...

The "White Power Essence" product was renamed to "Whitening Power Essence" shortly after social media brought the American connotations to the manufacturer's attention. "White" or "Whitening" in Korean skin care simply means a product that helps address hyperpigmentation, generally from sun or acne damage. As an example, using a Vitamin C serum has lessened my freckles. Whitening products don't change the underlying base skin tone, though.

That said, there apparently is discrimination against darker-skinned Koreans going on in Korea, which I find disheartening.