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February 2010
Tue, Apr. 21st, 2009 01:19 am
Did Beatnik Grifter Play On Loathsome Hipster Negro Fetish?


Thu, Apr. 23rd, 2009 10:34 am (UTC)

Then why doesn't this seem to hold true for black women or hispanic women?

There's less mainstream scrutiny of white dude+black/hispanic woman couples simply because there are fewer of them than of white dude+asian woman couples. White men with asian women are ubiquitous these days and it's only natural that people try and account for the sudden trend. The common explanation is "white guys have weird fantasies about asian women," and while that obviously isn't true for every couple in that demographic, I think you'll agree when I say that our society as a whole has some ugly ideas about asian women.

I get what you're saying about white women couching their own racist beliefs in more PC terms, but I don't think that's as wide spread as you seem to think it is, nor do I think it's present in the Jezebel article. You're right that it depicts Kari Ferrell as a "temptress," but that's because she's a con artist, not because she's asian. It isn't about asian women in general seducing white men with their *~*~mysterious eastern wiles~*~*, it's about one particular woman who made a living charming and seducing half of Brooklyn.

The question the article poses (well, tries to pose) is: did Farrell use stereotypes about Asian women to her advantage? I think it's a valid question, and one that could lead to an interesting discussion (not that that's likely to happen on Jezebel, but...)

I think it's pretty obvious that she did.

You and Momus use her raunchy come-ons as evidence against this, claiming that such behavior flies in the face of the submissive stereotype. It clearly doesn't conform to image of the meek geisha walking three steps behind her man, but everyone knows that that stereotype fell out of fashion long ago. Today asian women are associated less with mail order brides and more with eccentrically attired school girls and the stars of Japan's famously weird porn; cute, quirky, up for anything, and above all, nonthreatening. Ferrell's quirky, horny little notes are forward, but they are by no means intimidating.

But hey, what do I know, right? I'm just bitter that all the azns done took my men :C

ReplyThread Parent
Thu, Apr. 23rd, 2009 11:39 am (UTC)

1) I don't necessarily buy that there are more Asian women with white men than there are hispanics and blacks. Where are your stats? And even if it were true, there are plenty of men who have a "black thing" or a "Latin thing." These would never be called "fetishes," yet any attraction to Asian women is almost universally deemed an "Asian fetish." I think this is an important point, because our attachment of the word "fetish," I think, says something about our conceptions of Asian women. Why is it that, when two men have the same type of fixation, focused on two different ethnicities, one is a "thing" and the other is a "fetish." And the bottom line is that an attraction to Asian women doesn't even have to approach fixation or obsession before it is thought of as a fetish. As we've seen from this whole ordeal, somebody can be labeled an Asian fetishist upon simply being seen dating an Asian woman.

2) The article depicts Kari Ferrell as a particularly adept temptress, because she supposedly used the innate charm of her ethnicity to lure hipsters--who absolutely could not resist her Asianness--into her confidence games. The Jezebel article puts her race right out front. I'm not sure how you can fail to see that.

3) The article defines the stereotype: the meek, childish, passive, subservient Asian woman. And then it asks: Was Ferrell aware of her allure among hipster men, and did she actively use that allure to her advantage? Well, if the allure--the stereotype--would dictate that she should be passive, meek, childish, and subservient, I'm not sure exactly how one could argue that Ferrell knowingly used it in order to con people. First off, by all accounts, she didn't appear meek, passive, or subservient. And moreover, once she got into the bedroom with these guys, she had a big fat tat across the top of her chest. So we can cross childish off the list. Moreover, as people got to know her, she revealed her craziness, and really freaked people out. So we can cross nonthreatening off the list, too.

4) The problem is not whether she did or didn't use her ethnicity to her advantage. The problem is that, at the end of the day, there's no particularly noteworthy evidence that she did, yet Jezebel still saw fit to post an article about it ... an article, which, by the way, would never have gone up, been written, or probably even been thought of, had she been hispanic or black or whatever else. It's interesting how Jezebel laments the fact that we "sexualize" Asian women, and then goes ahead and prints an article sexualizing an Asian woman whose documented actions don't even appear to fit the stereotype that's supposed to have made her particularly alluring to hipster men in the first place.

5) I think it's pretty clear that this Jezebel piece was nothing more than an attempt to twist the story of a screwed up con artist in need of professional help into a passive aggressive jab at white male hipsters. Don't get me wrong ... I'm all about taking jabs at hipsters, fair or unfair. I do it all the time, myself. But it goes wrong when it crosses into pretty blatant racism, and reveals that the racists in question are basically oblivious about it. And again, this is the same type of racism that filled the comments in Jezebel's "Rapelay" article, as well. But it's not just Jezebel. I think that most westerners are typically unaware of the racist they have about East Asia.

ReplyThread Parent