Avril Lavigne's new music video for her new single "Hello Kitty" is offensive on absolutely every level. It takes Gwen Stefani's objectifying and appropriative Harajuku Girls shtick, adds a generous dash of Skrillex and also a Chad Kroeger co-writing credit. It looks like what would happen if someone scraped off the diseased underbelly of American pop culture from 2004-2010 and sprinkled it generously over a festering pile of garbage.
The worst part is that we've already extensively gone over the fact that using some cheap, exoticized image of Japan — complete with a silent troupe of Japanese backup dancers — is not acceptable. Remember when Margaret Cho called Gwen Stefani's act a "minstrel show" in 2005? "Hello Kitty" isn't just offensive: it's unoriginally offensive. As MiHi Ahn put it nine years ago, Avril Lavigne — like Gwen Stefani before her — has "swallowed a subversive youth culture in Japan and barfed up another image of submissive giggling Asian women." (Avril's unspeaking posse is less giggling and more submissive; they spend the majority of the music video shadowing her expressionlessly as she giggles and bounces and eats sushi in a cupcake skirt. Sooooo kawaii!!!!) So, yeah, Avril really can't say she didn't know better.
The video is also sonically appalling and visually humiliating. As I said, offensive on absolutely every level. The one spot of brightness to result from this dark, dark creation is that it's yielded some incredibly stunning YouTube comments. At the Jezebel offices, our proclamations of disgust were quickly replaced by us just copying and pasting these mutterings from the Internet's collective id.
Here, a sampling that we thought summed up the whole debacle best:
"i want to send a formal apology to everyone in japan"
"Those dancers look like they want to curl into a ball and die. Can't say I blame them."
"CRINGES A FUCKING LOT"
"avril is one year from being 30 and already married but she still culturally appropriates she needs to know when to stop which should have been a long time ago smh"
"ill pray for you"
Pray for Avril.