So I've been seeing this women's Halloween costume making its rounds on the internet lately and rightfully so. This is possibly one of, if not the most, offensive Halloween costume I've ever seen. It feels to me like a combination of the Levy article, "Raunch Culture" and the Mohanty piece, "Under Western Eyes". We're combining hyper-sexualization with our incredibly narrow view of the Chinese Woman/"Other". This costume is ripe with fetishization and horrible projections of Chinese woman and really, just women in general. The back has a slit across the shoulders that reads "Take Me Out", each breast has "Enjoy" written on it, and the crotch-area has "Thank You" plastered in gigantic generic "Asian" font on it. Her purse is a Take Out Box and to top it all off, it's worn by a very obviously white woman. Oh, and she's wearing a Fortune Cookie for a hat. The style of dress is trying to be either a qipao or...something, but really just throws together elements the West sees as "Asian". The high collar with the red threaded closures are indicative of this. Not only is this buying in to Levy's proposed "Raunch Culture", but it's also perpetuating this fetishization by Westerners of the mysterious, "exotic" Chinese Woman and her culture, fashion, and food, which speaks to Mohanty's piece on the West's tendency to "Other" supposed "Third World Women" and to apply Western ideas and presuppositions when discussing their lives and cultures. There's very little to be left to the imagination, the dress ends mid-thigh with inches-long slits on each side, and there is a "breast window" and a similar one on the back by the shoulder-area. Stripper chic is always prominent during Halloween, but this is just too much for me to handle. I believe it fits the frame of this quote from Levy's piece, "This is our establishment, these are our role models, this is high fashion and low culture, this is athletics and politics, this is television and publishing and pop music and medicine and -goo news!- being part of it makes you a strong, powerful woman. Because we have determined that all powerful women must be overtly and publicly sexual, and because the only sign of sexuality we seem to recognize is a direct allusion to red-light entertainment, we have laced the sleazy energy an aesthetic of a topless club or Penthouse shoot throughout our entire culture." (pg. 26)
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Recently, the cartoon Adventure TIme came in to a bit of controversy. The show is out there. Like, Ren & Stimpy levels of toeing the "not for kids" line. The episode in question is on called "What Was Missing" and chronicles the adventure Finn, Jake, Marceline, and the Bubblegum Princess go on to retrieve their stolen items from this really mean dude called Door Lord. When the four of them approach the Door Lord's door and realize they have to sing a song "from a genuine band". Marceline breaks out in to a song that clearly indicates some kind of past relationship between her and Bubblegum Princess. This reminded me of Gerhard's "Carrie Bradshaw's Queer Post-Feminism" piece. Her definition of queerness, "...narratives, images, and plot structures that can be read as queer, whether or not the characters, actors or writers involved identified themselves as queer" (pg. 75). Gerhard took a primarily hetero-read show and examined it closely and made some compelling points showcasing some questionably queer moments in the show. For this though, instead of finding and applying a queer lens to a reading of a generally un-queer show, this was unmistakable and quite overt. The queer overtone isn't in-your-face, but there's really no way of denying it and it's made very clear upon a quick examination the lyrics in conjunction with the on-screen animated reactions between Marceline and Princess Bubblegum. The lyrics can be found here.The clip's controversy was expertly outlined in Bitch Media and here recently. I posted the entire episode and just a clip of the song in case one of the two gets taken down.
Honestly? I'm not huge with the whole fandom "shipping" thing that goes around but damn, if there's going to be allusions to a positive female-female queer relationship in a show that kids watch? I will, as fandom people would say, "Go down with that ship."
Saturday, October 1, 2011
While trying to look for useful multi-media materials for another classes' facilitation project, I found this video of Joan Scott doing an interview for UC Berkeley. Scott speaks of some really interesting theories and the way being a historian has changed over the years. This video speaks to the Allison, hooks, and Davis writings on the importance of intersectionality, which bell hooks in her opening sentence of Where We Stand states, "Nowadays it is fashionable to talk about race or gender: the uncool subject is class" (pg. vii), as a way of noting how even when discourse tries to be inclusive, it often still falls short somewhere. I really enjoyed a lot of the ways Scott points out the erasure of other systematic forms of oppression get left out when trying to discuss certain, singular issues. She goes in to bigger, more specific discussions when she begins talking about her book about the banning of the veil in France. I think that her rant (for lack of a better word) towards the 36 minute mark is especially great in the context of those three readings because she is discussing how being female, Muslim, and poor are major factors in how this debate over the veil being banned is discussed.