Archive for the ‘youth subculture’ Category


Ganguro (early 1990s- ), which means “face black”, is a fashion youth subculture among Japanese girls where they make their skin brown, their lips and eyeshadow white and their hair orange, yellow, white or silver grey. It reached its height in 2000, but you still see it. Their look is a take-off on black American singers. Some see it as an effect that hip hop has had on Japan.

Ganguro girls like to wear brightly coloured clothes, platform shoes, tight miniskirts, rings, necklaces, bracelets and hoop earrings. Their platform shoes make them 10 to 15 cm taller than most women.

Their hair is often straight as a pin, like Japanese hair is naturally, but some get it done in an afuro or buraku style – that is, Afro or black.

Their skin: the ganguro girls make their skin brown by going to tanning salons and using plenty of brown make-up. Not just their face, but their whole body is brown.

Some of the magazines they read are Kawaii, Popteen, Ego System and especially Egg.

They also have their own slang.

Though they seem to be copying black American women, they often wind up looking more like tanned Californian white women with their light brown skin, long straight light-coloured hair and the blue contact lenses that some wear.

Darker and more extreme offshoots of ganguro are the yamanba, manba and gonguro styles. Romanba is a ganguro that favours pink clothes, pearls and flowers.

The male counterpart is sentaa or centre guy. They also have brown skin and strangely coloured hair.

The ganguro style is completely overstated and runs against Japanese ideas of beauty. For example, while most Japanese women want their skin to be as light as possible, the ganguros make their skin brown, sometimes even dark brown. The more extreme dark-brown yamanba style is named after an ugly old mountain woman from the storybooks.

Many in Japan think they look ugly and feel sorry for them. The Japanese press and television looks down them. So do employers. So some are just ganguro on the weekends. Most give it up in the early 20s.

They are seen as strange looking, carefree and living for the moment, not particularly deep and with nothing to look forward to in life. They are seen as being more interested in hanging out with their friends than in doing well at school or work.

Some see it as acting out against Japanese society, which puts tight limits on how you can express yourself. This is especially true for schoolgirls, who are required to wear uniforms and have straight black hair.

Some say that being a ganguro girl is an escape: from failure at school, lack of love at home, a boring work life or the lack of freedom in daily Japanese life.

From an American point of view they seem like they want the freedom to be themselves.

When asked why they do it, they say because it is cool and sexy.

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Wigger is short for “white nigger”. It is a white person who tries to be black by dressing, talking and acting a certain way. In most cases he is not copying black people he knows, but the kind he sees on television, following hip hop fashions in music, dress and speech. Perhaps the best-known wigger is Ali G, a character played by Sacha Baron Cohen.

Wiggers might seem kind of harmless, but their racist idea of “acting black” helps to spread damaging stereotypes about blacks – blacks as thugs and hoes (the black brute and Jezebel stereotypes).

Most wiggers are white males between 15 and 25, living mainly in America and Britain – with their parents. Like the goths, it is a youth subculture that features dressing a certain way and listening to a certain kind of music – whatever music and dress seems cool and will unsettle their parents most.

Wiggers try to act as if they grew up in some poor and violent black “hood” in the city, instead of the quiet, boring, well-to-do white suburb where most in fact live.

Wiggers get that way not by assimilation – not by living in such a hood and taking on black ways almost without knowing it. Instead they do it by appropriation: copying particular aspects while remaining more or less white.

Whites copying blacks, and a stereotype at that, is nothing new. Just as hip hop has given rise to wiggers, so jazz in the 1940s gave rise to hipsters.

Hipsters had a huge effect on White America: they were seen as cool and many whites copied them. Wiggers will probably not have that kind of effect: too many people seem to look down on them.

Unlike wiggers, hipsters had at least some experience of a living, breathing black world – through the musicians they knew at jazz joints. Wiggers, on the other hand, experience a black world that was made by the music and film industry to entertain white people. Wiggers are not so much copying a black world as a black minstrel show.

It would be like blacks copying the whites they see at rodeo shows: wearing cowboy hats, riding horses, speaking like a Texan and listening to country music – and thinking that is what “being white” is all about. Wiggers make the same sort of mistake about blackness.

Do Michelle Obama or Bill Cosby greet their friends with gang signs and go out of their way to speak bad English? Probably not. Yet they are blacker than any wigger could ever hope to be.

Steve Sailer says that Barack Obama is a wigger:

The brutal truth: Obama is a “wigger”. He’s a remarkably exotic variety of the faux African-American, but a wigger nonetheless. He has no ancestors who were slaves in the U.S. Moreover, his upbringing by his white mother and Indonesian stepfather in Indonesia and by his white grandparents in Hawaii, where mixed-race children are close to the norm, was almost wholly divorced from African-American life – except for what he could see and aspire to on TV.

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