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Posts Tagged ‘racism’

Content note: contains images of a racist and sexualized costumes.

Spirit Halloween always gets a mention on my Feminist Halloween series in the costume fail category because of their racist, sexist costumes. This year, when Spirit Halloween asked Zooey Roy, an Indigenous woman in Saskatoon, to leave after complaining about the Indigeneous-inspired (read: racist and appropriative) costumes the store stocks. Chris Kortright and the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism decided to take action by taping warning labels on the costumes:

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Image: Spirit Halloween adult costume with a low-cut beaded leather dress with fringe and a headband with three feathers and beading: “Reservation Royalty.” The package has a warning label on it (see below for text). Image via Facebook

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…in which our heroine rides into the desert and we learn about the need for intersectional feminism.

Featured image from here.

In addition to spoilers for Book 1, 2, and 3, we’ll be discussing issues related to racism (including white feminism and the idea of white saviors) and with partner misogyny.

tumblr_inline_ni1cuzzZMY1t8rophWhat’s the Beyond Binaries Book Club?

Long version here.

Our focus is on books (and media) about characters with sexualities, gender identities, or gender expressions that aren’t simply male/female or gay/straight. That is, characters who are bi/pansexual/queer-identified, or whose gender expression or identity is not strongly fixed to the gender binary (may include agender, transgender, gender-nonconforming, gendervariant, genderfluid, intersex [as identity], non-binary, genderqueer, et al.). We tend to read speculative fiction novels (as opposed to non-fiction, including autobiographies), but other genre fiction, graphic novels, comics, and short stories may be on our list.

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man

Newly knighted, Alanna of Trebond seeks adventure in the vast desert of Tortall. Captured by fierce desert dwellers, she is forced to prove herself in a duel to the death—either she will be killed or she will be inducted into the tribe. Although she triumphs, dire challenges lie ahead. As her mysterious fate would have it, Alanna soon becomes the tribe’s first female shaman—despite the desert dwellers’ grave fear of the foreign woman warrior. [Editor’s note: even the back of the book is racist oh boy] Alanna must fight to change the ancient tribal customs of the desert tribes—for their sake and for the sake of all Tortall. [Ed. NOOOOOPE let Kara and Kourrem do it stop it Alanna]

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Regarding the education system and social “common knowledge” that leads to ignorance and erasure, check out this post on the causes and effects of the ANA commercial from the perspective of a writer who doesn’t fit neatly into the “gaijin-san” stereotypes. Reblogged with permission and my gratitude.

Lucky Hill

This is a very long post. To summarize for the TL;DR crowd, what I’m getting at is that the stereotype of “Gaijin-san” doesn’t exist in a vacuum, that there is a host of racial problems in Japan and that’s part of what makes Gaijin-san so aggravating.

Recently I found out about All Nippon Airways’ unfortunate decision to air an ad featuring a man in Japan’s ubiquitous “Gaijin-san” costume: a large nose and a blond wig. Honestly it left me stupefied because 1. the nose used was extremely large even by Gaijin-san costume standards, and 2. I had come to believe that the Gaijin-san costume was fading out of use. I remember seeing it in the variety shop InCube, being sold with Halloween costumes in 2009, but never again after that year in that store. I’d always check for it because the first time I saw it I was blown away…

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In this gender reader, doing some catching up from October (when I did a spooky gender reader instead): harassment of non-Japanese women in Japan; bottoming out a whopping #105 in the Gender Gap Index; the problem with all the patronizing “sexless” Japan journalism; and Social Justice Wario.

Frequency of sex vs fertility rate via Yuki Aota.

Frequency of sex vs fertility rate via Yuki Aota.

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Halloween! Let’s celebrate my favorite holiday with a (mostly positive) gender reader!

Source: wikimedia commons.

Source: Wikipedia.

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I got a great comment from Maya on “Video: ‘White Japanese People – 白人系日本人'” about how mixed-race people living in Japan are also often treated as “foreigners,” and I wanted to share some recent links on that subject.

Image via The Diplomat.

Image via The Diplomat.

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I touched on this in my post about cultural appropriation and Japan studies, but one of the reasons I got irritated in Japan with the constant “where are you from?” questions, was less for myself (I’m not from there) and more because it’s a burden that the children of my friends and coworkers raised exclusively in Japan have to bear (who may not “appear” to be “Japanese” at first glance, particularly if they’re multiracial). Addendum: I realize this post probably comes as flippant and ignoring the greater issues of being non-white and Japanese or multiracial and Japanese in Japan, especially given that time has passed since I originally wrote it and more people are now discussing this topic in relation to Ariana Miyamoto, Miss Japan 2015. In addition to her story, I’d like to also share some more recent articles on this: this article on “passing” and multiracial erasure in the US, and this one on the film Hafu: Mixed Race in Japan. And to note that, while there are negative stereotypes about white and white-appearing people, that white-appearing people often are associating with “benevolent” stereotypes, which, while problematic, are not nearly as damaging and dangerous as the negative stereotypes about Black people and people of Korean, Filipino, and Chinese descent (regardless of nationality) are.

Including stereotypes like this, from Toshiba's line of bread makers. Because white folks love bread, have big noses, and speak in katakana! Image via Japan Trends.

Including stereotypes like this, from Toshiba’s line of bread makers. Because white folks love bread, have huge noses, and speak in katakana! Image via Japan Trends.

Kanadajin3’s “White Japanese People – 白人系日本人” is video with commentary from several white people raised in Japan and the challenges they face as racial Others.   (more…)

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Seattle is home to all sorts of interesting “niche” museums, and while I haven’t had a chance to see them all yet, I wanted to share with you my photos of the permanent exhibitions of the The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. Located in Seattle’s International District, the museum is the only pan-Asian museum in the US, and serves as both a look at the history of Asian immigration to the Pacific Northwest as well as a space to explore contemporary American identity politics.

The permanent exhibitions include biographical information on Wing Luke, who was born in China and immigrated to the US when he was 10. A WWII veteran, he was the first Asian-American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest. He served on the Seattle city council until his death in a plane crash in 1965.

Wing Luke's biography.

Wing Luke’s biography.

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Laura Kina "Gosei" oil on canvas, 30x45 in., 2012 on view in Under My Skin. Via Laura Kina's blog.

Laura Kina “Gosei” oil on canvas, 30×45 in., 2012 on view in Under My Skin. Via Laura Kina’s blog.

As a fellow Japanese-Studies scholar, I feel I ought to comment on Maggie Thorpe’s “You don’t have to be mixed-race to have a mixed identity” in The Seattle Globalist. Although the article begins as a review of the Under My Skin exhibition at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle, Thorpe, a white grad student at University of Washington, uses the themes of the exhibition to discuss her personal identification with Japanese culture:

I became infatuated with Japanese culture when I was 8. Growing up in the southwest, I was like many white American youth, feeling “vanilla” and “boring” because I did not have a culture that was easily definable. So I found something else that appealed to me. These days, my co-worker announces frequently that I am the most Japanese at the Japanese restaurant I work at. The restaurant owned by a Japanese man, and staffed by mostly Japanese-American workers. When a Japanese pop song comes on the radio that I admit I don’t recognize, or there’s a reference to an anime I don’t know, I’m teased for not living up to my Japanese-obsessed reputation.

The article is problematic, to say the least, (more…)

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An update on the petition for Cibu to stop using Orientalist names for their products from (the one and only) Bitch Media:

Image via Bitch Magazine.

Image via Bitch Magazine.

Wash that Racism Out of Your Hair! After Protest, Cibu Brand Promises to Nix Racist Hair Product Marketing.

Using racial stereotypes for laughs in marketing is nothing new. Even these days, many people don’t seem to notice the casual racism of some marketing campaigns—especially when their culture isn’t the one being used as a punchline.

Case in point: Cibu International’s line of hair products with names like “Miso Knotty Detangler” and “Geishalicious Shampoo.” Many of Cibu’s product names lump together food and martial arts references from different Asian cultures. But the worst are those that play on creepy, fetishizing stereotypes about Asian women, such as “Miso Knotty Detangler” and “Geishalicious Shampoo.” In one image originally posted on Cibu’s Facebook page, a naked Asian woman is pictured on her knees, hands behind her back, eyes downcast with the words “Seduced by Geishalicious” written underneath.

Read more on Bitch.

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