Everything That Upset the Internet This Week
What is the web-o-sphere angry about this week? From yet another instance of cultural appropriation at the hands of a Kardashian to eyebrow-raising words from the Dalai Lama, here’s everything you need to know:
Kim Kardashian Announces New Innerwear Line Called Kimono
THE STORY: Earlier this week Kim Kardashian revealed her new line of shapewear—sorry, “solutionwear”—for different sizes and skin tones, perplexingly named Kimono. It was reported soon after that Kardashian had applied for a trademark of the word “kimono” (as well as “Kimono Body,” “Kimono World,” and “Kimono Intimates.”) In a matter of hours, Twitter was flooded with outraged posts protesting the line, hashtagged #KimOhNo.
Nice underwear, but as a Japanese woman who loves to wear our traditional dress,👘 kimono, I find the naming of your products baffling (since it has no resemblance to kimono), if not outright culturally offensive, especially if it’s merely a word play on your name. Pls reconsider
— Yuko Kato (@yukokato1701) June 26, 2019
#Kimono became the principal item of dress for all classes and sexes in Japan from the 16th c. and is still a symbol of Japanese culture. Discover real kimono here at the V&A: https://t.co/uq0TnFHdLh#KimOhNo pic.twitter.com/xfb4UnFbiv
— V&A (@V_and_A) June 26, 2019
The year is 2039. A child is asked what a kimono is. They reply with "Kim Kardashian's shapewear range."
And there begins the gradual erasure & dilution of the kimono's rich cultural history for future generations. One of many reasons why trademarking it is NOT OKAY #KimOhNo
— Sayuri Standing (@sayeliz) June 27, 2019
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE RAGE: Considering kimonos are an ancient, traditional Japanese garment dating back to 794 AD, Kardashian attempting to co-op the term for herself is in pretty poor taste. Particularly for those who wear the kimono or for whom the garment is an integral part of their culture and lifestyle, it’s easy to see why they would blanch at its 21st-century association with a line of Spanx-line innerwear. It’s also impossible to address this issue without pausing to consider Kardashian’s previous history of cultural appropriation, or the fact that she doesn’t seem to have learned anything from her past mistakes. In a statement to The New York Times, Kardashian says that the name was meant to be “a nod to the beauty and detail that goes into a garment,” which means she’s actually comparing her body-smoothing underwear to a rich, ornate symbol of cultural and sartorial heritage. She also said that she has no plans “to design or release any garments that would in any way resemble or dishonour the traditional garment,” which just goes to show that she doesn’t seem to realize that merely naming the line after the kimono, and attempting to erase Japanese context from the term in the pursuit of wordplay, is disrespectful in itself.
Air Canada has a bad week of customer relations
THE STORY: Earlier this week, the friend of an Air Canada passenger, Tiffani Adams, took to Facebook to relay Adams’ horrifying ordeal waking up in a pitch-black airplane with not a single person on board. Her friend had fallen asleep on her flight from Quebec City to Toronto and confoundingly, not a single person—not a co-passenger nor a crew member nor a flight attendant—had woken her up when it was time to deplane. A few days later, another passenger tweeted about how her sister had been verbally abused by a racist co-passenger, while airline staff stood by and took no action.
You love your passengers so much you lock one of them on a plane alone for hours after it landed. A while ago you added baggage fees, now do we have to pay to get off the plane?
— John Smith (@johnsmith101978) June 24, 2019
— NGOMDUM Marcel (@NGOMDUM) June 24, 2019
— Sanj Srikanthan (@SanjSrikanthan) June 25, 2019
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE RAGE: It’s sadly not uncommon to hear about racist incidents aboard airplanes these days, which more often that not, result not in the abusive person being removed from the aircraft but the person they were abusing. In this case, Air Canada allegedly offered an upgrade to the young British citizen who was called “a 9/11 bloodsucker” by a Canadian woman, which is a good move on their part. But considering their fine print says that if a passenger is “being abusive, offensive, threatening, intimidating, violent or disorderly,” employees do have the right to “refuse to allow the passenger to board,” the incident is really something they need to investigate further to see just how it was handled by their staff, and how similar incidents should be handled going forward. When it comes to the incident with Adams, well, there isn’t much of a precedent for that one, so the chances of them getting away without an explanation for the bizarre occurrence are pretty slim, and Air Canada passengers do have the right to hold them accountable until they do.
Dalai Lama says any female successors must be attractive
THE STORY: In an interview with the BBC, the 14th Dalai Lama was asked about a comment he’d made previously about what he expects of a potential female successor: “She must be attractive, otherwise it’s not much use.” Given the opportunity to clarify what he meant by that statement and why it might be considered offensive, he instead doubled down: “People prefer not to see a dead face.” When pressed on it by journalist Rajini Vaidyanathan, who said, “A lot of women would say that’s objectifying women. And it’s about who you are inside, isn’t it?” he responded, “Yes I think both. Real beauty is inner beauty. It’s true. But we human beings… I think appeal is also important.”
Having to cancel the Dalai Lama is about as 2019 as it gets https://t.co/VHUPNRJSdF
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) June 28, 2019
The Dalai Lama said a female successor would have to be hot. We are so far past seven in the seals of the apocalypse department https://t.co/h3EL5CXtwk
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) June 28, 2019
“Oh, ALL men are trash?? What about the Dalai Lama??” https://t.co/PUZ9ekQyPz
— Amir Talai (@AmirTalai) June 28, 2019
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE RAGE:
The Dalai Lama is supposed to be the most spiritually and morally enlightened amongst us, and the fact that he can—in the same interview—criticize Donald Trump for having “no moral principle” and then say unattractive women aren’t of “much use” is peak 2019 irony. If he held the same view for male Dalai Lamas—that attractiveness was a prerequisite—well, it would still be weird, but we do talk ad nauseam about politicians needing to be “charismatic” or “likable” so perhaps it would’ve been easier to let slide. But specifying that that was strictly a requirement for potential female successors, well, that exposes a sexist and patriarchal mindset we had blindly believed the Dalai Lama was well above.