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Jonah Ven 李明恩
Here’s a hot take on every non-Asian person’s hot take of Marie Kondo’s show: her books and show have been promoted in the US in the same vein as minimalism, HOWEVER, that is NOT what she’s trying to get people to do at all. /1
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
Now, I haven’t used the KonMari method for myself, and I’m not Japanese, but I feel as though my Asian family already tends to operate sort of on the same principles she uses in her book and on her show, which is examining WHY you have stuff. /2
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
The point of the KonMari method isn’t just to throw away a bunch of things and tidy things up as a byproduct. It’s an intentional process of going through your belongings and getting rid of things that don’t serve you or that you got just because. /3
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
In that sense, it’s similar to minimalism in the sense that it challenges the typical Western norm of consumerism and “more is better,” but it is NOT THE SAME as minimalism, because the ultimate goal is not the sheer number reduction of items. /4
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
I’ve been seeing a lot of memes or people talking about how her show is pointless or how she’s not really *doing* anything for the people she works with, but I think that’s because a lot of non-Asian people aren’t understanding the point of what she’s doing. /5
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
Yes, it feels cheesy and a little awkward when she introduces herself to the house and tells people to thank the items they’re getting rid of for how they’ve served them, but that’s part of the core of her KonMari method, not just throwing stuff away. /6
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
This is also why she teaches people how to store items more efficiently in the little interludes of the show, because if people want to keep more things, then she shows them how to make space for them effectively and in an aesthetically pleasing way. /7
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
I know that for a lot of people the sight of clutter and mess can be stress or anxiety provoking as it is for me, and those parts of the show are meant to address how our use of space affects our headspace, trying to create more spatial tranquility. /8
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
So, AGAIN, I’m going to overemphasize that the point of the show is NOT just throwing things away and she is NOT trying to help people become minimalists. If those are your critiques, then you are missing the point of what she’s doing. /9
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
In a sense, she’s promoting a sense of awareness and mindfulness of the things that we own and what they contribute to our mental space and also WHY we own them. Consumerism teaches you to just buy things if it’s a good deal, and she challenges that with her process. /10
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
That’s why she’s always talking about keeping things that spark joy. If you bought that TV or that shirt or whatever just because it was on sale and “a steal,” but it doesn’t really contribute to your life or “spark joy,” those are the things she says to get rid of. /11
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
And so AGAIN, this is not the same thing as minimalism, which shares many aspects with what she does, but ultimately is centered around reducing the NUMBER of possessions you have as much as possible. The KonMari method IS NOT ABOUT NUMBERS. /12
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
In addition to this, I’ve found that all the hot takes and critiques of Marie Kondo and her show have been kind of infuriating and really annoying, because it shows how much people don’t understand or don’t care to understand Asian cultures as much as other non-white ones. /13
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
Like, I’m not going to deny that Asian people do occupy a place of privilege in the way race works in the US, but people have been labeling Marie Kondo similarly to the next white lady who thinks she discovered avocados and quinoa, which is a form of whitewashing Asians. /14
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
I fully understand that Asians don’t experience the same degree of oppression or discrimination as Black or Latinx people in the US, but that doesn’t mean that components of our culture and our people should be treated as fads, etc. /15
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
And what’s kind of annoying is that I’ve seen a lot of PoC and people who are typically pretty racially/culturally sensitive participating in this as well, which is pretty disheartening, because it all stems from a profound misunderstanding of what she’s trying to do. /16
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
And that misunderstanding flows out of the fact that her process is informed by both Asian culture at large as well as Japanese culture. I’m not Japanese, but in many Asian cultures, it’s not common to have the overindulgence and excess we have here bc SPACE CONSTRAINTS. /17
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
Maybe you’ve seen YouTube videos about micro apartment tours in South Korea or Japan, and that aspect of culture, an enormous population density and lack of space, plays into Marie’s process and philosophy for her books and show. AGAIN NOT MINIMALISM. /18
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
So, honestly, I would think twice before continuing to create memes or belittle her or her show and books, even in a joking manner, because as progressives, we wouldn’t tolerate that if it were happening with any other foreign culture that was more “mainstream.” /19
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Jonah Ven 李明恩 Jan 13
Replying to @jonah_ven
Tl;dr: Marie Kondo and her books/show are NOT ABOUT MINIMALISM. Memes and criticisms of it are lowkey inherently racist due to ignorance of Asian, specifically Japanese culture and influences. We need to do better if we’re going to claim racial/etc. progressivism. 20/20
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