I guess Gwen Stefani is Asian now. A real time example of what not to do.
Just when you think people have a pretty firm grasp on what is and isn't problematic, enter every 90s kid's favorite hollaback girl bringing the 90s/early 00s unseasoned and unchecked cultural appropriation back into the spotlight. Gwen, what are you doing?
Friend. Girl. Honey. No. Just, no.
In case you're out of the loop, which I'm not sure how you could be at this point since her face and comments are plastered across these internet streets. But in case you are, Gwen Stefani, the woman who made teenage girls feel seen with the No Doubt anthem "Just a Girl" went on an interview and told actual Asian women that she was Japanese.
Obviously, we aren't here to criticize mistakes and leave no room for growth, but this isn't the first time she's said this. She's actually doubling down on the same claim from a previous interview. Someone get me a calculator because the math isn't mathing.
If Gwen Stefani has an Italian-American dad and an Irish-American mom, how does that equal Japanese? These are not adoptive parents. They're her biological parents and somehow she has been Japanese, Latina and Indian in her years on this earth. Girl...ma'am...are you OK?
Evidently, when Gwen was a girl still naively identifying as white, her father traveled to Japan frequently and told her about all of the fascinating culture. Eventually she got the chance to visit Japan herself and thus became Japanese through osmosis. It's how we all choose our ethnic identities, right?
I'm not going to lie, I was blasting No Doubt the other day, living out all of my teen angst on my way to drop my actual teenagers off at school. But I suddenly have the urge to throw out my non existent CDs. Aggressively deleting songs off of my iPhone just doesn't give the same satisfaction.
In all seriousness, this is obviously a problem. Asian people have essentially been living in fear of being physically assaulted or murdered on the street for the last few years thanks to conspiracy theories about the origins of Covid. A wealthy white woman taking on an ethnic identity that isn't hers because she loves the culture as if it's a fuzzy new sweater at Nordstrom's is gross.
The craziest thing about this whole situation, outside of the fact that she wants to poorly appropriate something while ignoring the struggles of that community, is the fact that she's made up of two very rich cultures. Italians and Irish people are not some boring flavorless identities that have no cultural roots. Their culture is rich, vibrant and colorful. Why steal someone else's?
Stefani has the resources to not only research her culture but to have a direct connection with it through travel and likely her family. I fear if she's not held accountable and the internet moves on in a few days without any financial repercussions, not only will she continue this nonsense, but she will teach her children this, and other white people who don't fully understand cultural appropriation will learn nothing.
The education is out there. Learn better. Do better. Explore your cultural roots.