vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
Vass ([personal profile] vass) wrote in [personal profile] azurelunatic 2019-02-07 06:37 am (UTC)

I'm so sorry your father treated you like that. That sounds terrifying and miserable.

And yeah. I had Thoughts about KonMari after reading her book the first time she went viral with an Anglophone audience, back in 2015. (Here, with a good discussion with [personal profile] shehasathree in comments.)

Back then some of what I noticed was that she seemed very, very unaware/uninterested in the more severe end of decluttering/tidying where it interacts with disasters, poverty, bereavement, trauma, mental illness, neurodivergence, or chronic illness. A lot of her advice clashed really badly with some or all of those situations, especially her focus on doing it all in one go without resting, and putting the stuff on your bed while you sort it.

The other thing I noticed was that she was a self-taught professional organiser who's been laser-focused on home organisation since childhood but who hadn't examined any of the prior work done by other experts in the field and was hence basing her teaching on her own life experience plus what she'd learned since she set up her shingle. And her own life experience was that of a single person who in her adult life to date had never shared a house with another person or even had a pet, and her only work outside this industry was a live-in job as a Shinto shrine-attendant. So she had no direct idea what it's like to share a house with another adult, much less a spouse, much less have kids or pets, much less be disabled, and had never worked a conventional job either.

I've heard she's gotten gentler over time. I hope that's true. And I did hear that she's had a a kid since she wrote that book, so that might have given her some needed perspective. I also did read some culturally informed criticism about how both her way of giving advice and the substance of what she's saying get misread in the West because of different contexts on both sides, and can believe that feeds into my reaction to her (and also who knows what the translator did to her tone?) But yeah, this time around I've been strongly avoiding her show.

I'm... unhappy about how racialised the pro and anti arguments about her have gotten, and the kind of gobsmackingly racist things Ellen DeGeneres and Barbara Ehrenreich and Katha Pollitt, among others, have done or said about her. Mostly because racism is unacceptable, of course, but also because it makes it so much harder to either to evaluate her as a decluttering/home organisation expert compared to others in the industry, or for people with trauma like yours or other issues like I mentioned above to discuss the complexities of decluttering or the emotional impact of decluttering fads in general on us, which are discussions worth having!

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