Bebe Taian: Racists and Misogynists for Katy Perry: A Study in 25 Screencaps

November 27, 2013

Racists and Misogynists for Katy Perry: A Study in 25 Screencaps

Katy Perry + Backup Dancers at the AMAs 2013
I'm sure nearly every American knows by now that last week was the American Music Awards, where Katy Perry made a huge spectacle of a show. Huge spectacles are the point of the awards shows- no one debates this! But if you read this conversation you'll find that there are hundreds of costumes and sets she could have chosen besides a racist caricature of geisha and Japanese women on the whole.

If you find yourself spouting racist-apologist excuses, simply stop. All Katy Perry had to do was use Google and read all of one wiki page for ten minutes or less to know better. To assume that she does not have any control over what is done with her image is disingenuous and insulting to her. She has intelligence. She has agency. She is not stupid, weak-minded, or powerless. She chose to use her power, prestige, and agency to perform an Orientalist and sexist show. And now, all she has to do is apologize and educate herself on why this show concept was a bad idea, and then not promote those same attitudes and images in the future. It's really, really easy to do and takes maybe two hours of research on the internet.

So pay close attention. This is a sample of real people's attitudes; the very same people who say they just "appreciate Japanese culture!" and "they love women" and that they're "not sexist or racist". These are people you might call your friends. These are people who might be like you. You can change. You can change yourself, and you sometimes change others. You don't get a cookie or a parade or anything for it, and frankly, don't expect one. The end result is worth more than one's own ego.

As I said in the convo, you can also still like problematic things. I still like Scott Adams, Lexx, and lots of other shows, bands, authors, and people in general. Just admit that sometimes the show/art/person is problematic, and don't give them a pass for that behaviour. And do the same for yourself. And remember: this is how hard it is for women with white privilege to call anyone out on their behaviour. You think it isn’t harder for those who don’t? Jezus Christ...

Convo under cut, since it's image-heavy and triggering. TW: misogyny, racism, sexism, festishisation

1 comment:

  1. I saw a part of this show, I was also chocked by it's weird mix of all the bad cliché about japan and asia.
    Like the dress, an improbable mix between qi pao from shangai and an pseudo kimono... C'mon !!
    Thank you to talk about it !