Friday, February 20, 2015

Why Neo Confederate imagery in Pin Up and Kustom Culture is never ok (and why "being PC" has nothing to do with it)


         
                                 Ticci Rockabilly on ETSY and their "Rebel Pride corset skirt"


"Those who wave the Confederate flag, for example, insist they are merely trying to fondly remember part of their history. Yet if blacks (including, to be sure, more than a few Southerners) broach the subject of their ancestors’ enslavement and its lingering effects on black America today, they are viewed as wallowing in pity. But what, other than wallowing, and most certainly pitiable, can we call those who insist on waving the standard of a defeated government, some one hundred and forty one years after it fell? Really now, let us move on indeed!" 
 -Anti Racist academic Tim WiseRebels Without a Clue, Revisited*: Racism, Neo-Confederacy and the Raising of Historical Ill



Rockabilly is mostly a lost cause in this debate (those in the community pride themselves on identifying with racist Southern imagery even if racism is not implied through music) but Tim Wise is right on; "get over it" when it comes to slavery? How about "get over it" when it comes to celebrating a war of a defeated government based around slavery!?

Modern and vintage Pin Up is supposed to celebrate all forms of beauty and unlike the 1950s when women of color were mostly excluded or seen as racial fetishes in the pinup world, today we have a different consciousness.  So why would anyone hold a community event like a concert or a fashion show, Kustom car show etc and get out the Neo Confederate imagery? To be "anti-PC"? To whom? People of color or those who may find the symbol hurtful need to be intimidated for people in the rockabilly world to feel empowered about themselves? That is what the usage of flag clearly says. But where is the "PC factor"  in people being justifiably disgusted? Political correctness implies "being picky" and "being the thought police."  How is creating a friendly environment for all races at a Kustom event or presenting oneself without hurtful racial imagery being "picky"? 

There are more than a few Pinup models such as Dixie Rebelle who are proudly wearing and posing with TCF and using the Confederacy in their PinUp names. This prototype tends to attract Pin ups whose pathetic lack of creativity is at the forefront of their work via the same old endless poses of metal bubble bathtubs, finger in the mouth/vacuous expression and obligatory Bettie Page copy paste.

                                                    


And then there are some in Pin Up who think racist imagery is "fun to toy with" or "made to be mocked." The hugely popular fetish/pinup model Masuimi Max has posed many times over the years with the Confederate Flag,  the intimation being to her fan base that is "ironic" and "a send up." In short, many in the Kustom world defend the usage of the CF as "geeky" , "goofy" and even "innocent." This transmogrifies magically into the "taken out of context" excuse when goofy is perceived as offensive. There is of course the pallid reasoning that because Masuimi Max et al may self identify as Asian or half Asian and not solely as white that it gives them a free pass to use the Confederate flag. This deserves a more indepth look in a later post but suffice to say that being far East Asian or part in the eyes of white supremacists (in this era at least) is far more palatable than a being Black or part Black. For centuries White supremacy and cultural patriarchy (aka the media) has often allowed Far East Asians with straight hair and pale skin to occupy a chameleon space within it's narrow cultural definitions. This is why Eddie Van Halen and Keanu Reeves who are both technically bi-racial (half dutch/Half Indonesian and Half white/half Pacific islander respectively) rate and are wholly accepted as White, while Mariah Carey and Jessica Alba would be attacked for identifying as White if they chose to despite having the same if not more European ancestry than either man.



                                                                     Masuimi Max



We did a very lengthy search and could find no Black pinups or Kustom Kulture fans who have toyed with the Confederate flag (much less slave imagery) the way that Masuimi Max and Dixie Rebelle have. One possible reason is that the "levity and playfulness" around destructive cultural symbols is unthinkable for women of color or as an excellent 2011 piece on the website Racialicious  stated regarding "innocent" kitsch which "is not open to many women of color, particularly black women. We can be strong women, aggressive women, promiscuous women…we can do Bonet bohemian and Earth Mother, but never carefree and childish. Even black girls are too often viewed as worldly women and not innocents."




                                              Confederate Flag Hag Douche Ted





2 comments:

  1. Hello sorry just want to say you do know Lincoln wanted to free slaves so he can send them all to Africa, keep in mind that native-americans mostly fought for Confederates to free them selfs from slavery, that's why abe's Union army try to instinct all natives! You cold get $5 a head some northern states you can get $25 a head. And don't get me started on Mexican Confederates.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello sorry just want to say you do know Lincoln wanted to free slaves so he can send them all to Africa, keep in mind that native-americans mostly fought for Confederates to free them selfs from slavery, that's why abe's Union army try to instinct all natives! You cold get $5 a head some northern states you can get $25 a head. And don't get me started on Mexican Confederates.

    ReplyDelete