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11 Dec

From Kim to Hot Cheeto Girls: white persons are

Kim and Khloe have gone blonde and lost their BBLs, while white girls on Tiktok are announcing their retirement from being ‘Ghetto Hot Cheeto Girls’ – but this is solely an old dynamic presented in a latest way

To be white, or to not be white? That’s the query. Because the 2010s, conversations about cultural appropriation have dominated online spaces, from reminders in regards to the importance of non-offensive Halloween costumes to articles in regards to the Kardashians wearing cornrows and the problematic way through which people, particularly white people, dress at Coachella. For years, white people have consistently used the cultures of individuals of color as costumes for play.

Cultural appropriation is, after all, still on going. From Gucci selling a scarf called ‘Indy Full Turban’ in 2019, the fast fashion brand Zara appropriating the aesthetics of indigenous Mexican communities last 12 months and the notorious culture vulture Gwen Stefani wearing locs in a 2022 music video with Sean Paul. Nevertheless, is it just me, or has something shifted for white people?

This shift can firstly be seen in Biz Sherbert’s reporting on how Catholicism has change into alt-fashion’s newest saviour. Sherbert suggests that young persons are newly drawn to Catholicism (a faith with a major white supremacy problem) because cultural appropriation is “officially cancelled”. Secondly, the Kardashians, specifically Kim and Khloe, have supposedly removed their BBLs and gone bleach blonde after years of taking advantage of and appropriating Black women’s beauty, bodies and culture. The Kardashian-Jenner klan is understood for his or her blackfishing and dramatic beauty and body changes. Most notably, they recurringly sport African hairstyles, despite continuous online callouts. From Fulani braids, Bantu knots and afros. You name it, and so they’ve probably done it. Lastly, and definitely not least, white girls on Tiktok have been announcing their retirement from being “Ghetto Hot Cheeto Girls”.

In these videos, girls start by showing the viewer what they give the impression of being like now. Many are actually bleach blonde with straight hair; some show pictures of themselves from graduation or fancy holidays. Irrespective of where they’re within the clips, these girls try to show one thing: that they’re in higher positions in life now than after they were of their “ghetto girl” phase. In the following few clips, you see these same girls, barely younger, in braids, big hoops, and acrylic nails. Sometimes they’re rapping within the videos, protruding their tongues and middle fingers. One particular Tiktok user revealed that she used to wear durags (on her bone-straight hair) while waving around bundles of money ($18 to be exact) on social media. 

The term “Hot Cheeto Girl” got here into popularity through Adam Ray’s viral TikToks, where he would play a personality called ‘Rosa’. Ray, who’s Latinx, created a personality that many individuals loved on the web. Ray himself stated that he even created the Rosa character because he knew girls like that and had them in his family. He was and is so in love together with her and believes her essence is in him. Black and Chicanx cultures heavily influence the ‘hot cheeto girl’ aesthetic, and essentially Ray’s homage to his culture became something incredibly ugly online. While Ray was honouring the Rosas of the world, those outside of Black and Latinx cultures attempted to make a mockery of her and poorly caricatured her.

The ‘Ghetto Hot Cheeto Girls’ trend is harking back to the Miley Cyrus identity crisis of 2013-2015. Before then, Miley was desperately attempting to move away from being seen solely as Hannah Montana/Miley Stewart – a personality so beloved for her girl round the corner persona and superstardom. Whether she liked it or not, she was seen as a job model for young girls from a really young age. She released “Can’t Be Tamed” in 2010 to maneuver away from this idealisation. It caused controversy but not enough, so she looked for something that unquestionably conveyed insurrection within the eyes of whiteness: blackness. That is where we enter her Bangerz era. During this era, Cyrus wore dreadlocks, cornrows and gold grills. For her song “We Can’t Stop”, Cyrus told her songwriters, Timothy and Theron Thomas, “I would like urban, I would like something that just feels Black.” Once she achieved what she wanted (distance from Hannah and Miley Stewart), she returned to whiteness. She traded her grills and cornrows for pink dresses, puppet shows and pigtails.

@adamrayokay POV: Rosa thinks everyone likes her cause she caught them looking ???????? #fyp #viral #foryou ♬ original sound – ADAMRAY

In spite of everything of this, it will possibly be obscure why we’re seeing white people flock back to whiteness. After years of takedowns, why now? Surprisingly enough, the reply lies in the precise reason white people engaged on this behaviour in the primary place, and American Studies scholar, George Lipsitz calls it the ‘Possessive Investment in Whiteness’. In his book of the identical name, Lipsitz notes that “white persons are encouraged to take a position in whiteness, through public policy and personal prejudice work, and remain true to an identity that gives them with resources, power and opportunity.” A technique through which white people possessively put money into whiteness is thru Ministrelsy. Ministrelsy, which was first established in america in 1843, is when a white performer would dress up in blackface, dance, sing and or perform comic routines based on stereotyped depictions of Black people. Ministrelsy aimed to mock Blackness and reinforce the racial and social hierarchy in America. One of these performance is arguably one in all the primary types of cultural appropriation, highlighting that white society’s adoption of the Black experience is just not a latest phenomenon but a historical trend.

When individuals partake in cultural appropriation, they take part in the deculturalisation of racial aesthetic expression. Professor of Law John M Kang explains, “the ideology of white aesthetics insists that cultural expressions by people of color are simply a fashion statement within the capitalist marketplace because white people can express themselves in that exotic ethnic manner too.” The actions of the Kardashians, ‘Hot Cheeto Girls’ and anyone else who participates within the act of ministry diminish the unique cultural expression of individuals of color, particularly Black people. This can be a clear example of the possessive investment in whiteness, as each ministry and the deculturalisation of racial aesthetic expression have each negatively impacted public policy for Black people.

When white people become bored with twiddling with otherness, after they’ve squeezed as much capital out of it as they’ll, have used it to cultivate their bad girl images and have rebelled against their mum and pa enough, they return to whiteness. They do that since it’s easy and easy and since they’ll. Their investment in whiteness takes a latest form, nevertheless it’s the very same philosophy they’ve all the time consciously and unconsciously invested in.

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