Have yellow fever? Get your fix here!

10 04 2009

I saw this on Racialicious and I am utterly disgusted. There is a Cute Asian Girls Iphone App (Their website says that they are no longer distributing this application because it’s offended a lot of people. GOOD! Because we don’t need any more of this racist, sexist shit floating around!). But what was this app? (Bold emphasis mine).

Cute Asian Girls. Need I say more?

Cute Asian Girls gives you HUNDREDs of photos of the most beautiful asian girls you have ever seen. Whether you’re looking for asian girls with weapons, or girls in maid uniforms, or even just the casual girl in a summer dress, we have them all! Our photo collection is growing by the day and will continue growing by the truckload. Every day will introduce new photos for your viewing pleasure.

Download as many asian girl photos as your heart desires for free after you buy the app. Use them as your wallpaper, send them to friends, or set them as your contact’s photos.

This is nothing more than sexploitation of Asian women. Having pictures of Asian women dressed up as school girls, maids, etc. instantly available for “your viewing pleasure” commodifies Asian women and further normalizes the eroticization and fetishization of Asian women (a.k.a “yellow fever”).

Eroticizing and fetishizing an entire racial group is racist and dehumanizing. It is a form of colonization and it obscures the reality and the daily lives of members of that group. It is based on stereotypes of the group – in the case of Asian women, they are stereotyped as obedient, demure, docile and submissive. Therefore people who fetishize Asian women, or any other racial group, do so because they buy into and therefore perpetuate racial stereotypes.


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3 responses

10 04 2009
angryblkfeminist

Wow, I hate how they put on the website that it’s only because other people were offended by it, rather that they realized how wrong it was. I would definitely be interested in reading a follow up about this application since they say they’re going to write a blog post concerning it.

17 04 2009
Jason

“Eroticizing and fetishizing an entire racial group is racist and dehumanizing.”
Mm, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you.

Personally, I don’t feel that saying “I find black/asian/indian/white/other people attractive” any more offensive than saying “I find blondes/brunettes/red-heads attractive” or “I like blue/green/brown/grey eyes”. Or, perhaps a bit closer to the point, commenting on the physical build you prefer.
Let’s say I preferred slender, delicately-build women, dark eyes, dark straight hair, and tan skin, as individual characteristics. Hence- Asian women. There’s also the “mysterious” connotations of the Asian cultures.

Now, I don’t like any sort of “fetishism” over any particular race; and the fact that so many people are turning into fanboys and fangirls over Asian cultures (most particularly the Japanese culture) really does bother me. I have a friend who buys into it- less the racial side of it, and more the cultural side of it- and it bugs me. I don’t get how he can’t see how sensationalised Japanese culture is, or that he’s so influenced by the stereotypes.
And I’m not even going to get started on how much it bugs me to actually look at a person of any race, and make ANY sort of assumptions BASED on the race. That is racism, pure and simple.

So. Whilst I don’t think saying you find one race any more- or less- attractive than another is in any way offensive, I do think the sensationalism of Asian women over any other race is rediculous. Personally, I find women (and men, to be fair) of most, if not all, races to be potentially attractive, and would enjoy seeing all people appreciated for their beauty regardless of gender or race.

As to your main (I think?) issue here- the objectionification of women- well, I don’t think wanting a picture of an attractive person on your mobile phone- or as your desktop background, or whatever- is in any way bad. My desktop background has a gorgeous painting of a male fantasy warrior (which is about in line with my overall fantasy-based interests) and it’s a lot more interesting than, say, a background depicting anything not-living.
And since there’s probably a multitude of apps with cute fluffy little bunnies (which, coincedentially, I’m all for, although I’d rather have a picture of my OWN rabbits), kittens, and other such animals, as well as less “cutesy” ones like big dogs- well, living creatures- whether they be human or animal- would seem to just plain be more interesting and enjoyable to look at than things not depicting people or animals.
I don’t think it’s objectionification at all- I think it’s appreciation.

…My opinion, for your consideration. :)

19 04 2009
feminist2

Thanks for your comments Jason. I think that it’s important to question why we find certain features attractive though. From our discontinued column in the Tufts Observer:

“Many people who choose to hook up with members of a specific race justify their preference by saying that they aren’t racist but rather that they are merely attracted to the features of a certain race. However, is this just a simple case of attraction? At first glance, such assertions may not seem racist, but it is important to consider the underlying reasons behind one’s preference. One may be attracted to pale skin, but what are the implications behind the preference for pale skin?

Western standards of beauty prevail in the United States, and these beauty ideals tend to be unrealistic and unrepresentative of the American population. In trying to conform to these standards or outright rejecting them, can we be trying to convince ourselves that our hook-up preferences are not about race but instead just about personal attraction? Completely eliminating a racial group in one’s hook-up pool on the basis of disliking their “features” is an overgeneralization that homogenizes all members of that racial group. In reality, there is a wide range of physical diversity within every race and thus one’s discrimination against that group is unjustified.

By making it an issue about personal attraction to certain features, one is detracting attention away from larger underlying social narratives at play. Saying that one is attracted to certain features that are “characteristic” of certain racial groups makes it seem as though it is about personal taste, not about how there are racial stereotypes that feed into fetishization, exotification, or otherization of certain racial groups.”

(Read the full article here: http://tuftsobserver.org/tufts_observer/2009/04/a-different-kind-of-discrimination-race-and-hookup-culture-at-tufts.html)

As for the objectification of women, I think that comparing having apps of women to apps of cute bunnies or other cute (or non cute) animals is not really an accurate or relevant comparison. While having the background of your phone be an attractive woman may seem like an innocent thing to do, it’s important to keep in mind the larger societal context in which this occurs: women (and men) are constantly objectified and hyper-sexualized in the media and their bodies are publicly available for consumption. They are reduced to simply sexual objects/sexual bodies – who they are as a person is ignored. Furthermore, consider especially the context that brought us to this conversation: the iPhone app, which produces women to download who to fulfill (sexual) fantasies like the not-so-innocent school girl, the naughty maid, etc.

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