Object Lessons: Can You Buy Love? Edition

Can you appropriate your own culture? As a mixed-race person I feel this ALL. THE. TIME. It’s weird being in a place where I don’t feel like I can express either side of my ethnic heritage without “faking” it. At the same time, I’m not sure I entirely fit into American culture either.

Revanche thinks this guy’s ongoing gig– pretending to be the father of a young lady at the behest of her mother— is kind of horrifying. And I completely agree! Also, if you’re supposed to be stealthily pretending to be another person, why have your face and real name published in a major publication?

Clearly, this explicit pay-money-for-emotional-labor thing is not just a quirk of Japanese culture though. See, e.g. this American lifestyle hacker, who is offering $10k for someone to set him up with a long-term girlfriend.

Racked did a special series on free swag in the beauty and fashion industry. It has really made me rethink how much vlog/blog-based marketing has manipulated my fashion tastes over the years (here’s looking at you Everlane).

This quote from Sheryl Sandberg in her When to Jump interview has given me a lot to chew over: “One of the most important times I see people not jump when they should is about changing either industries or functions. […] There are so many times I’ve seen people not make that jump because they’re afraid they’re– and I’m doing this in air quotes, you can’t see me but— ‘move backward.’ […] If you can financially afford it, and you’re going to work the next, I don’t know, thirty years… who cares about going down?”

I tend toward simple basics for most of my wardrobe but I am crushing hardcore on this phoenix print dress from Relax Baby Be Cool (sold at Bomb Petite).

Me explaining my creative ideas to friends:


4 thoughts on “Object Lessons: Can You Buy Love? Edition

  1. I’m sort of mixed race (back a couple generations) but mostly being the first generation American is the divide we face – are you American or are you Asian first? Are you American *enough* or are you Asian *enough* to belong to either (nope)? It’s really weird.


    1. Oy, I feel this to a lesser degree and I’m second gen. It’s impossible to explain to my American-born mother, who passes as white and doesn’t understand (or maybe ignores?) the fear of being outright rejected by your country.


  2. I saw that Racked feature and it was interesting! In my mind, I sort of classify the bigger online magazine type publications (Racked, Refinery29, etc.) as being more like print magazines than, say, personal blogs, so I wasn’t too surprised that they got so much free stuff, and don’t think of them in the same way I do about individual influencers/one-person blogs. I was actually more surprised at how little of the stuff they ended up featuring (which I imagine is typical with samples and gifts sent to large publications), so I wonder a little bit about the economics of that kind of PR for companies.

    I’ll probably write an entry based in part on the Racked feature soon, but focused more on what I think sponsorships and swag and personal blogs. In the end, I’m not sure that sponsored posts/fashion blogs affect my consumption that much. I think the right post or blogger’s recommendation can push me to include something on my wishlist and possibly buy it, but it’s rare (and a random google ad or facebook ad could easily do the same thing). If the post in question is a detailed product review, then I don’t mind so much, and I probably made my own educated decision about it.

    I had a phase a while back where I was really grouchy about the fact that most bloggers didn’t disclose the implications of clicking their rewardstyle links (that they get a commission on my entire purchase from those sites for a period of 30-60 days, even when I was generally not buying the specific products they linked), I only learned about how that worked elsewhere, and well, blocked all rewardstyle cookies through my browser because I disliked that business model so much.


    1. I was actually surprised how Racked “only” got 96k in swag a year. Haha.

      The PR perspective article when they talk about distributing swag to influencers is what really got me thinking about blogs. Like, I always knew marketing was a part of it, but it really hammered home how many small, independent and amazing designers we miss just because they don’t have tens of millions in funding and can’t send out samples to blogs/Insta (which, to a degree, are successful because they exist in what feels like a smaller more intimate community). And also how much we broadcast these iffy brands just because their incentive programs make them lucrative for first adopters.


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