“As far as the mummy thing, I based it on plastic surgery. Look at someone like Kim Kardashian or Ice-T’s wife, Coco. Those girls aren’t African-American. But it’s actually a representation of our culture wanting to be plastic, and that’s why there’s bandages and it’s mummies. I thought that would really correlate well together… It came from an honest place. If there was any inkling of anything bad, then it wouldn’t be there, because I’m very sensitive to people. … I guess I’ll just stick to baseball and hot dogs, and that’s it. I know that’s a quote that’s gonna come to fuck me in the ass, but can’t you appreciate a culture? I guess, like, everybody has to stay in their lane? I don’t know.”
As a pop star who has had more than a few accusations the racial insensitivity against her, Katy Perry was asked by Rolling Stone to explain herself. Unlike Miley Cyrus, at least Katy doesn’t seem to think she’s being persecuted for no reason. Instead, Katy just seems frustrated that parading around in makeup and a costume to look like someone of a different race isn’t seen as “appreciat[ing] a culture.” Keep reading »
As a kid, I was used to standing out for lots of reasons, like my “Star Wars” obsession or the black eyeliner and vampire chic that made up my high school wardrobe.
I never expected my race to be one of those reasons.
I grew up as an Asian-American among Asian-Americans, so I certainly wasn’t used to being viewed as what we English Lit majors call “the exotic other.” Even when I went to college in St. Louis, it wasn’t that much of a problem. I did go on a date with a guy who went on about his trip to Japan and the extreme “femininity” of its women, but that was about it.
It wasn’t until I moved to the UK that it kicked in: men – and it was always men – shouting “NEE HOW MA” or “KOH-NEE-CHEE-WAAAH” or even “Me love you long time!” as I walked down the street; starting conversations with “Soooo … are you from … China?” before they’d even asked my name; playing up their supposed interest in Asian culture while going on about how “feminine” and beautiful Asian women are. Keep reading »
Sometimes brands are so dopey that you almost feel bad for them for not realizing they were being racist. (Almost.) First Paul Frank were ding-dongs with their Native American tee-pees-and-tomahawks party on Fashion’s Night Out. And now Victoria’s Secret is selling an outfit called “Sexy Little Geisha” featuring an “Oriental” patterned fan and hair sticks with tassles to put in your hair. Keep reading »
A geisha girl and a samurai warrior: these are the stereotypes Mattel used for Japanese Ken and Barbie dolls. Barbie is dressed as a geisha with lotus blossoms in her hair, a gold fan, and some gladiator heels which are badass-looking, but I’m thinking not particularly Japanese. Ken is dressed as a bare-chested samurai warrior with a small ponytail and a long sword. An ex-boyfriend who went to grad school in Japan called the Japanese Ken doll, quote, “pure Fu Manchu stereotype” — minus that nefarious mustache, of course. Surprise, surprise, Mattel has a long history of representing their Japanese Barbies as geishas. Keep reading »