on discussing katy perry's orientalism
November 25, 2013
So. katy perry took a giant Orientalist shit at the ama”s yesterday.
Discussing the appropriation and racism and orientalism behind what she did isn”t what I”m going to do here. because other people are doing it and it is pretty obvious (as well as not really doing race 101 on this blog).
I wanna talk, instead, about things like this:
If you don’t think Katy Perry was racist—let me ask you, what if she had performed in blackface? Perhaps a costume isn’t the same as changing skin color to you, but it is agonizingly close for me
This? No. Just. No. You could have just said it was yellow-face. But.
Do u also know how many ppl defend, for example, billy crystal”s recent oscar performance in Blackface?
Leveraging anti-Blackness to try and make a point about Orientalism is just. Yeah. Anti-Black. And this is not the only article to make this comparison.
Only one of the articles I linked to actually names what is happening here:
And while Perry is too much of a roaring, tiger-eyed champion to go the way of Cio-Cio, the performance last night clearly was meant to use Madama Butterfly’s tired orientalist imagery as an ironic statement on her broken marriage.
The discussion I”ve seen, thus far, on this has invoked ‘anti-Asian”. Which, as strugg has pointed out is dilution of the concept and notion of ant-Blackness, an anti-Black move in and of itself.
Or, as Andrea Smith would say this is to leverage the logic of slavery, to use anti-Blackness as a means to discuss what is, itself, a distinct logic of white supremacy: namely, orientalism.
this is a great example of a recent thought i had about Asians not using a specific body of thought created by and for us to analyze our oppression within a white supremacist system that leverages three types of logics against people.
The right way to talk about perry”s white supremacy and her appropriation is to view it through a lens of Orientalism. to understand how it invokes and mobilizes this logic to enforce:
a stereotype that presents them as servile, passive, and as Perry would have it, “unconditional” worshippers of their men, willing to pay any price and weather any kind of abuse in order to keep him happy. source
creating a situation whereby Asian women are not supposed to worship ‘our” men, but to worship white men. and to do it until our deaths. that we ought to die for this devotion. that our deaths. our dead bodies. are the very symbol of what white men want from us, and by proxy all women.