Treasure Hunt

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's the Most Horrible Time of the Year (Women & Media Blog Post #4)

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)

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