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Friday, August 31, 2012

Gal Power

The first time I heard of Gal(s) was this afternoon, and the media that brought it to my attention offered a YouTube video of a Gal group from the near past called Yamamba.

I played about 30 seconds of it and was shocked - as these women were doing everything in their power, it seemed to me, to make themselves look stupidly unattractive.

But then I went to the actual news report - this one coming from BBC News, and I read and saw more of what the Gals were about.

There was even a short video (beware - Japanese Pop music is present) showing an attractive young mom doing her make-up and altering her fashion to become a Gal. See the BBC article and video HERE.

You know what? She looked great.

It leads me think just how sad it must be for women in Japan that simple act of applying make-up and some hip fashion sense is a reason for the media to stand up and take notice.

Some background.

Gal would be pronounced gyaru... which is a Katakana-Japanese way of saying 'girl'... just trust me.. is is the way the language works in Japan...

Apparently back in the mid1990s, some young women got it into their head that need not have to look like the typical Japanese female stereotype... no matter how much I enjoy that stereotype, I was always quite vocal in expression my wish that one day my students would be able to simple be... be themselves... and dress the way they want to dress... and be who they want to be... taking the better aspects of western civilization, while still hoping they maintain honor, dignity and respect.

The Look:

Gals  - regardless of the era, have over the past 20 years looked, acted and spoken in a manner that spits in the face of Japanese sensibilities. That's kewl.

We've had them too in the West. Flappers, Dames, Hippies, Valley Girls, Goths, (Grunge chicks are the same - to me - as Hippies, only there seems to be a whole lot less 'save the Earth' with the Grungie ones).

But... in Japan... the look revolves around young women wearing short skirts, massive heels and having big eyes. I have no idea what is wrong with this look.

Until you actually see how one crew, the Yamamda went a tad extreme.Ugh.

If you were to look at Gal power in the mid-90s, you might have though that these women are stupid, because they look ridiculous.

But, despite creating a look that seems extreme when set beside the prim and boring Japanese woman stereotype, Gals had guts. They had guts to stand up and say - "look at me". How wonderful is that? It's awesome.

Personally - that's how I feel, even though I don't like the look they created for themselves... but now in 2012, with the Gal movement still marching along, I saw these women and was impressed.

Although no where near as 'out there' as the Gals from the 1990s, the 21st century Gals - who look completely normal to me - are still considered 'out there' by Japan.

But at least the advertising community is realizing that there is a sub-movement of Gals who are married... young women with disposable income who want to look as hot as they did when they were young and single.

Known as Gal Mamas, they look and seem to think pretty normally - by Western standards... at least if you look at the photo below. I have no idea what she sounds like, but if dressing up, having some make-up on and feeling and looking pretty is a crime, then Gal Mamas are guilty.

Awazu Haruna(surname first) is a Gal mama - who looks pretty and fashionable.
Gal Mamas, like the Gals, like nice things. Show-offy type stuff. Look at the photo at the very top of this blog... I'm guessing that those may actually be Pa Gals... half girls is the definition, although they look a whole lotta hot stuff to me... girls who don't go all out crazy like the Gals... like in the Yamamba video above.

For any of you westernized women out there, Gals like fashion. They like shoes. They like bling. Probably very similar to you. Except Gals also want their eyes to look bigger... a bit more western... it's almost like they want to look less Japanese.

I can understand the need to stand out, but some Gals are - heavens to Betsy - daring to change their eye color with contact lenses. Big whoop. The whole female species does stuff like that all the time. Perfume to mask the pheromones. Eye shadow, mascara, false eyelashes, color nails, hair coloring... and if you want to go further, pierced ears, tattoos... all ways women (and men) change their appearance to either fit in, or to stand-out.

Brian help us all. Women who want to be individuals and with the disposable income to pull it off.

I mean... is there anything wrong with that?

The average woman in Japan tends to have clothes which are boring in my opinion. Yes, some have better fashion sense than others, but it seems as though as soon as they get married or hit the age of 30, they all dress more staid:

At least the shoes are nice...
According to Dentsu, the largest advertising agency in Japan, about 12 per cent of all women aged 18-34 are Gals.

I know that even the Japanese women I dated - despite the bondage sex or the wild animal sex, with them wearing some pretty hot lingerie for me - when they were at work, I really had to work hard to get hard... if you know what I mean. They dressed down. On purpose. So as not to stand out.

Japan has a famous saying: The nail that stands up - gets hammered down. It's why when I see some weird Japanese fashion or women dressing up in a way that's not traditional, I stand up (at attention) and applaud their balls. No... I should rephrase that... not 'balls'. Ugh. Rather, I applaud their courage for being an individual. Not a Japanese Gal... but a woman.

Having said that, apparently Gals do talk in a manner I don't really find all that attractive. But ya gotta start somewhere.   

Andrew Joseph

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