we are young and stupid and raised by wolves
(this is not real life. these are not pictures of me. I am 20-something years old and a woman and passionate about politics and fanfiction and, as far as you are concerned, I only exist online.)
Dreadfully unsurprised. :/
Erm… rant ahead. It got longer than I had expected.
Along with the fetish crap, I found some people saying, “Why I no Asian?!!” (right next to “Being white sucks sometimes) in a completely unironic way. Apparently, if that person were born Asian, she (he’d?) feel less weird about enjoying K-pop. And maybe she’d have an easier time
stalkingmeeting those idols she loves.
Plus, I prefer the look of hapa (specifically Asian-mixed) and Asian guys. I just… do. Now I feel squicky about it because of what I actually saw in the Asian tag. I know it’s an irrational reaction, but there it is!
A good portion of the tag is dedicated to Asian (okay, let’s shoot straight here—Japanese, Korean, and Chinese) women in various states of undress.
Darker Asians aren’t Asians, I suppose, even though Asia encompasses, oh, I don’t know, India, Indonesia, and the Phillippines, to name a few. You just know that when people say they wish they were Asian, they’re talking about being Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. They think if they were born Asian, they’d be totally grateful every day for being born a certain way. Oh, and they’d be super gorgeous, too, because (East) Asians are genetically predisposed to hotness.
Yeah, that’s really disgusting. I’m wincing with secondhand embarrassment. And I’m not going to claim I know what that’s like, and I’m not saying these things are equal, but it reminds me a little of how annoyed I feel when I’m reminded about the fetishization of lesbians. Hell no I’m never making out with my girlfriend in public because some guy asks us to, to “prove” it or whatever. And I’m not sure if I’ll ever see a depiction of girl-on-girl action in a movie without wondering how they’re playing it up for the males in the audience. One reason I really like Brokeback Mountain - from what I recall of it, anyway, nothing was romanticized about it.
But there’s just nothing more depressing to me (at least, for my sexuality) than when I see portrayals of lesbians for merely the fetish. Like, ugh, this was something special to me and now you’re ruining it, and I don’t know how to make it authentic to me again.
the late Christopher Hitchens
3M (Command, Scotchbrand tape),
Amway, (says it has been misrepresented)
Anheuser Busch Inbev (Select55),
Art Instruction Schools,
Bank of America (Cash Rewards),
Brother International (Ptouch),
Church & Dwight (Oxi Clean, Arm & Hammer),
Conagra (Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes),
Corinthian Colleges (Everst411),
Cumberland Packing (Sweet’N Low), (says it has been misrepresented)
Diamond Foods (Kettlebrand Chips),
Estee Lauder (Clinique),
ET Browe (Palmer’s Cocoa butter),
General Motors (Chevy Runs Deep),
Green Mountain Coffee,
Guthy Renker (Proactiv),
Home Depot, (says it has been misrepresented)
Honda North America,
JP Morgan Chase (Chase Sapphire),
Kayak.com, Kellogg (Special K),
Koa Brands (John Frieda),
Leapfrog Enterprise (Leapster Explorer),
Lowe’s (admits to cancelling ads) ***
Mars (Dove Chocolate),
News Corp (We bought a zoo movie),
Pernod Ricard (Kahlua),
Pfizer (Centrum vitamin),
Procter & Gamble (Align Probiotic, Crest, Febreze, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Pur, Tide),
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse,
SC Johnson (Drano, Glade, Scrubbing Bubbles),
Signet (Kay Jewelers),
Vtech (Mobi Go, V Reader),
It’s interesting that I’ve seen this same list on websites with the opposite stance, who list these companies as ones to support.
This is beyond embarrassing, and yet so unsurprising.
I wanted my first-year film students to understand what happens to a story when actual human beings inhabit your characters, and the way they can inspire storytelling. And I wanted to teach them how to look at headshots and what you might be able to tell from a headshot. So for the past few years I’ve done a small experiment with them.Some troubling shit always occurs.
It works like this: I bring in my giant file of head shots, which include actors of all races, sizes, shapes, ages, and experience levels. Each student picks a head shot from the stack and gets a few minutes to sit with the person’s face and then make up a little story about them.
Namely, for white men, they have no trouble coming up with an entire history, job, role, genre, time, place, and costume. They will often identify him without prompting as “the main character.” The only exception? “He would play the gay guy.” For white women, they mostly do not come up with a job (even though it was specifically asked for), and they will identify her by her relationships. “She would play the mom/wife/love interest/best friend.” I’ve heard “She would play the slut” or “She would play the hot girl.” A lot more than once.
For nonwhite men, it can be equally depressing. “He’s in a buddy cop movie, but he’s not the main guy, he’s the partner.” “He’d play a terrorist.” “He’d play a drug dealer.” “A thug.” “A hustler.” “Homeless guy.” One Asian actor was promoted to “villain.”
For nonwhite women (grab onto something sturdy, like a big glass of strong liquor), sometimes they are “lucky” enough to be classified as the girlfriend/love interest/mom, but I have also heard things like “Well, she’d be in a romantic comedy, but as the friend, you know?” “Maid.” “Prostitute.” “Drug addict.”
I should point out that the responses are similar whether the group is all or mostly-white or extremely racially mixed, and all the groups I’ve tried this with have been about equally balanced between men and women, though individual responses vary. Women do a little better with women, and people of color do a little better with people of color, but female students sometimes forget to come up with a job for female actors and black male students sometimes tell the class that their black male actor wouldn’t be the main guy.
Once the students have made their pitches, we interrogate their opinions. “You seem really sure that he’s not the main character – why? What made you automatically say that?” “You said she was a mom. Was she born a mom, or did she maybe do something else with her life before her magic womb opened up and gave her an identity? Who is she as a person?” In the case of the “thug“, it turns out that the student was just reading off his film resume. This brilliant African American actor who regularly brings houses down doing Shakespeare on the stage and more than once made me weep at the beauty and subtlety of his performances, had a list of film credits that just said “Thug #4.” “Gang member.” “Muscle.” Because that’s the film work he can get. Because it puts food on his table.
So, the first time I did this exercise, I didn’t know that it would turn into a lesson on racism, sexism, and every other kind of -ism. I thought it was just about casting. But now I know that casting is never just about casting, and this day is a real teachable opportunity. Because if we do this right, we get to the really awkward silence, where the (now mortified) students try to sink into their chairs. Because, hey, most of them are proud Obama voters! They have been raised by feminist moms! They don’t want to be or see themselves as being racist or sexist. But their own racism and sexism is running amok in the room, and it’s awkward.
This for every time someone criticizes how characters of color and female characters of color especially are treated in text and by subsequent fandoms. It’s never “just a television/movie/book”. It’s never been ”just”.