We tossed around many ideas while conceiving the scope and thrust of NonDoc’s editorial character. One of the phrases from our early meetings went something like, “NonDoc: where civics meets absurdity.” Nothing sums up that ethos more than this Tumblr account which posts images of 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump as a kawaii caricature.
Kawaii is a Japanese adjective meaning cute or adorable. Hello Kitty is kawaii, for example. In Japan, there’s a kawaii subculture that revels in all things adorable. Love it or hate it, it certainly does exist.
Brooke Kelty, the creator of the Kawaii Trump Tumblr and this Buzzfeed post that gives the kawaii treatment to other presidential candidates, is an Ardmore native now living in New York City.
She is a multi-hyphenate figure online, from her solo sonic pursuits or as one half of electronic duo Birdflower to her bathtub-based video blogs on YouTube. That eccentricity has landed her work in an art show all the way across the pond.
But why kawaii Trump?
“I thought it would be fun to take a few of the presidential candidates and make them up with makeup and colorful hair,” she said via Facebook chat today. “I made sure to put a more feminine touch in Trump’s edit. The aesthetics I put on him are how I wish his public appearance was: more feminine, softer and fun.”
Kelty uses an app called Youcam Makeup to edit images of the political figures. As to her personal politics, she said the government as a whole could definitely use a woman’s touch.
“The aesthetic of ‘the politician’ is pretty professional and bland. Typically masculine,” she said. “These edits show politicians in a playful, feminine way. Even though they’re outlandish, for me it makes them more relate-able.”
Agreed. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with a pastel-goth Ben Carson?
Politics can be quite boring, and politicians can be quite drab, wearing the same business costumes in every photo, TV appearance and public speech.
In an age where an arsenal of apps can live in your pocket and can be shared with a few taps on a screen, anything that gets people engaged about the political world is a positive.
For those of you still unsure what to be for Halloween 2015: You’re welcome.