Sunday, October 31, 2010

Racist Halloween Geishas

Every year. Every single year. I mean c'mon ya'll really? I'm into Halloween- but this trend of yellow facing, black facing, brown facing needs to E.N.D.
Seriously, I cannot wait to dance on graves.

Just yesterday, I was all cheery and in the seasonal spirit with a half and half pumpkin latte, watchin lil babies dressed as full body cupcakes and buzz lightyear stomp around with their sucrose stacked plastic jack-o-lanterns. word. love it.

But then...
and there is always a break.

YUP. Five or Six year old Caucasian girl, with a red kimono, natty black bunned-up puff wig, white makeup face, and two rosy circles on her cheeks. Awwwww...hell naw.

I've gotten used to the 'sexy' white girl geisha. I've called 'em out. Broke it down to 'em. They deny it. Say that they are honoring and admiring the culture. I've gotten into some pretty interesting discussions. BUT REALLY? Lil' girls?

So I did a bit of research...take a look at these images.

How bout the "Madame Butterfly Child Costume"?

There's the "Kimono Kutie Child," or a few years down when no progress is made there's the adult version too...

Another Adult/Child costume comparison

The models wearing the costumes for sale are both White and Asian, bringing up different issues of yellow face. 'Yellowing' the White body vs 'Yellowing' the Yellow body. What are the different societal and psychological consequences?

Moving onto more adult costumes

How Bout some wigs?

Ya'll, seriously though it IS offensive. For one night you might be able to experience the thrill of being 'exotic,' however in reality being Asian isn't something you can take off. It's a lived experience and these caricatures are hurtful to people across the board. Asian female identity becomes limited within this stereotypes, and what does this do for example to a White woman? Is she made to feel less beautiful or special because she is 'normal'? So on halloween one is given a chance to hypersexualize themselves...
I want you to feel sexy too- that's your right. It's also my right to clear things up.
From Gwen Stefani to my beloved Kylie Minogue (pictured at top of post)- we gotta push back and systematically dismantle this problem- starting with tha chil-ren. Educate your lil girls.


Anonymous said...

I agree with this. I am curious to hear your opinion on dressing up as a character from a movie or book or whatever who may be of a different race, though.

Anonymous said...

I think it's really sad you think westerners dressing up as Geisha is racist.

It's no more 'racist' than Japanese girls dressing up in western clothes or as western characters.

No one dressing up as a Geisha is trying to claim to be born Japanese. It's actually quite racist of you to reduce Geisha to nothing more than their ethnicity.

'Race' doesn't even exist. You can have more in common genetically with someone of another 'race' than with someone of your own 'race' Academics doesn't even use the term anymore because it's inaccurate and prefer to use the term ethnicity.

People are much more than the place that they are born. There is absolutely nothing wrong with cultures sharing their culture, traditions, dress or style with one another and it is a positive thing to embrace,celebrate and integrate aspects of other cultures.

To compare this to black face which was always demeaning in nature and never celebratory is incorrect.

I hope you can open your mind a bit and realize what a boring place the world would be if we were only allowed to dress and behave according to our 'race' and not our hearts desire.

Do you realize the Japanese and Chinese both have ballet companies that recreate Russian and other ballets? Is that racist of them to love, dress and perform as ballerinas, something which is traditionally part of caucasian culture and not traditionally 'asian'? No of course not.

You would not tell a Japanese person they cannot dress as a ballerina because they are asian So don't go telling caucasian girls they can't be Geisha. It's stupid. xx