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katy perry’s geisha performance an act of love, not racism

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The 2013 American Music Awards took place on Sunday night, Lady Gaga arrived on a horse, Miley Cyrus wore clothes and Katy Perry, who performed her new song, ‘Unconditional,’ has now been labelled a racist.

Why? Because she dressed as a geisha. The star’s costume included a kimono (well, actually, it was a cheongsam), traditional hairstyle and kanzashi (hair ornaments). The set was a flurry of fans and cherry blossoms, and the music included traditional shamisen playing and taiko drumming.

Immediately after the performance the internet was set alight with outrage. Perry has been labelled ignorant, offensive and racist.

Ravi Chandra’s article on Psychology Today states that Perry’s costume was a way of acting out a power play. ‘Whites have historically held power. Therefore Katy Perry has the right to use Japanese culture… I think that Katy Perry’s performance meets the criteria for a racist performance.’

But I fail to see any racism whatsoever. Katy Perry is in no way degrading Japanese culture, but expressing her appreciation. The star’s love of all things Japanese is no secret. ‘I am obsessed with Japanese people,’ Perry said last June. Her stylist, Johnny Wujek, told E! that the choice of costume was because they both ‘love Japan.’

‘The people are so kind. There’s so much there visually,’ he said. ‘Just walking around in Japan, you feel something. We wanted to try and encompass that in the performance somehow.’

This is a case of cultural appreciation, not cultural appropriation. Perry and Wujek chose a theme that was close to their hearts, and that happened to be Japan. There is no hint of malice in the performance, no intended racism at all.

But sensitivity is high, and it seems that nobody can express their love for a foreign country without being labelled a racist. We’ve passed the importance of a person’s intentions. Who cares if her performance was out of love, not hate? The point is, she wore another country’s traditional clothes and that’s full stop racist.

I can empathise with Perry. I share her feelings. After having a fascination with Japanese culture all my life, I spent some time there earlier this year.

My wardrobe is full of vintage kimono I bought in Japan. The people I purchased them from were more than happy to help me try them on. In fact, Gion, the geisha district in Kyoto, contains shops that are there purely for tourists to be dressed up like geisha for a few hours. In my experience, many Japanese people are happy to share their culture with others, and see our fascination as a compliment.

But Perry is also receiving backlash over the accuracy of her costume. The modernized kimono has been called a ‘mix between a kimono and a Chinese cheongsam.’ However, Wujek insists that they had specialist help. The Los Angeles owner of the store, Kimono no Kobeya, oversaw everything to make sure that it maintained its authenticity.

‘All of the dancers wore traditional dresses,’ said Wujek. ‘Katy’s version was a little more modern. For her we took a stunning real kimono and reworked it more into a gown.’

If altering a kimono is racist, then Perry is by far not the only person to blame. Try searching for a kimono on Ebay. Compared to what you’ll find, Perry’s alteration was tame and conservative.

Like Lady Gaga said, let Katy be Katy. This isn’t racism. This is a girl who loves Japan and wants to express that love. The performance stemmed from Perry and Wujek’s time overseas. They wanted to encompass the vibe of Japan. It was supposed to be ‘a tribute.’

[Image Credit]

30 thoughts on “katy perry’s geisha performance an act of love, not racism

  1. The INTENT here does not count for that much. Plenty of people are racist without thinking they are. You can appear to be positive about a race and still be racist; reducing them to objects to ‘obsess’ over, or mere props. You don’t think Perry saying about Japanese people: “I want to skin you and wear you like Versace” is racist or fetishist at all? It’s like a white person saying, “Man, black people are so cool, I was I were black.” If you don’t find anything wrong with that statement your worldview is seriously fucked.

    And I’m not sure how you, as a white woman, think it’s your place to comment on what People of Colour should and shouldn’t find racist; that’s a sign of white privilege. If you think your opinion on this is in line with feminist values you’re sorely mistaken. Shit like this is why the White Feminist meme exists; this sort of ignorance and arrogance is laughable.

    What’s the difference between donning Japanese dress (no matter how altered or inaccurate, which actually probably works against them in this case anyway) and make-up and donning blackface? And if she loves Japanese people so much and wanted to show her appreciation for the culture why didn’t she have actual Japanese dancers?

    Plus, there is a between Perry being in Japan and wearing a kimono ‘to the delight of her fans’ while in Japan and staging a performance that essentially fetishishes a race on a big American awards show. And it’s not the same as you being a tourist in Japan, and the Japanese people being able to share their customs with you as a foreigner, and profit off of you, and you wearing the kimono you bought from Japan in the comfort of your own home or whatever. There are degrees or appreciation and whether or not that crosses the line into appropriation is dependent on numerous factors and context.

    And ummm “sensitivity is high” because it’s fucking 2013 and hints of white supremacy still exist? So much for globalisation. But god, we People of Colour can’t just chill out and let white people appreciate us.

    “If altering a kimono is racist, then Perry is by far not the only person to blame. Try searching for a kimono on Ebay. Compared to what you’ll find, Perry’s alteration was tame and conservative.” What you’re saying here is that there are plenty of other racist people… Perry is just like, a bit less racist, maybe. So it’s like, who can be less racist? None of this is an excuse and I don’t know why you’ve even made a point of this.

    Admittedly, it was a beautiful-looking performance and the costumes and choreography looked fantastic, but it was just so uncomfortable to watch because of its racist tones.

    I actually like Katy Perry and some of her songs, but when something like this happens you can’t just be all “Let Katy be Katy” because when someone does something wrong, you need to call them out and constructively criticise them. Or maybe we should just, like, let white people be white people! Let boys be boys! Let misogynists be misogynists! It’s the same thing, and it’s all connected. You can’t remove race from feminism. You’ve just never had to deal with that side of it and hooray for you but that also means you have no right to speak for others.

    • I think there should be some flexibility about what we consider national/local dresses and costumes. When One Direction performed in Melbourne for instance they wore Hawthorn Football Club clothes (it was around Grand Final time). Should Hawthorn fans be outraged?

      • HAHAHA! Good one, Tim. Comparing a nation’s traditional dress to a sports team uniform. Classic. Ya big joker!!

        • One point I was trying to make was that performers (and in a broader sense public figures) will always have a flexible approach to dress. Is it racist simply to wear a dress style that has originated in a certain nation or culture? Couldn’t we equally argue that it is racist to insist that only members of a certain race are allowed to wear a certain type of dress (hello, caste system….) Outside of direct theft of specific ideas that have been formulated by others I think performers should have a fair deal of freedom regarding dress, etc – it’s with that freedom that they are able to make meaning and express new ideas. (I’m truly not trying to tell you what you should find racist and what you find offensive and what not – I’m just reserving the right to, on this occasion, respectfully disagree with you).

          • You bring up some fair points, Tim. I am sorry for being a smart ass haha.

            I think there are ways to don a nation’s traditional dress without being offensive, but in Perry’s case, she went about it in a bit of a wrong way. Wearing the dress alone might not be offensive (it depends though, sometimes the simple act of wearing it is disrespectful if the item of clothing has a lot of ritual or meaning that goes along with it etc). In this case, it was to do with the dress, the yellowfaced dancers, and arguably the content of the song that went along with those factors. All of it, together, has an uncomfortable tone to it.

            I think emd’s comment demonstrated why the performance felt a bit off. It aimed and failed to pay homage; I think even the inclusion of more Japanese dancers would have made it a bit better? If it is a celebration of Japanese culture as people claim, why don’t you include Japanese people? And maybe she was trying to modernise the kimono but the resulting kimono-cheongsam hybrid just looked confused.

            Again I really don’t doubt Perry and her crew were trying to show appreciation but your actions can come from a good place and be free of malice and still be racist. Racism isn’t just the obvious, bad stuff. Microaggressions are often seemingly positive. A lot of the time compliments will have racist undertones, unbeknownst to the compliment-giver. Things that can seem harmless on one end can be received very differently. Hopefully it goes both ways, with the people who are offended explaining exactly why they’re offended so that the people who did the offending can understand that what they thought was a nice thing to do was actually in poor taste, or alienating, or objectifying/fetishising etc.

  2. i have no doubt that there was nothing but love from katy on this choice of outfit. but, good intentions don’t stop something from being racist.

    with that said, i perceived this more as tacky and poorly styled (why work in the cheongsam detailing if you were intent on showcasing the beauty of japan?), especially if the intention was to convey how great modern japan is.

    i’m tired of seeing kimonos, cherry blossoms, and parasols as shorthand for japanese culture as a whole. it’s something artists seem to pull out when they want to bedazzle with something vaguely exotic. I have the same problem when stylists work a ‘tribal’ trend (this discussion’s for another time).

    i think the better thing to do if they’d wanted to ‘celebrate’ a culture would be to wear the clothing of modern japanese designers or collaborate with japanese artists (katy and kyary would be mindblowing right?!), rather than fall back on an antiquated portrayal of japanese culture which does nothing to change pop cultural representations of asian women.

  3. Stephanie Liew – “And I’m not sure how you, as a white woman, think it’s your place to comment on what People of Colour should and shouldn’t find racist” – Wow I thought it the height of racism to say that someone has no right to have an opinion on something because of the color of their skin?

    • Chris – the author saying things like “I fail to see any racism whatsoever. Katy Perry is in no way degrading Japanese culture…” and “This isn’t racism” as if it were fact, that is, not even writing “it is my understanding” or “I think” or even “why does this have to mean this” or any such disclaimers or questions, just sounds really off, arrogant, authoritative and dismissive. She’s saying that the opinions of Japanese people, or Asian people, or other PoC, who have complained about this whole Perry thing, don’t count or don’t matter. It’s silencing and insulting.

      It’s like if you, as a dude, were to be like, “Hey women, stop complaining about period cramps, I bet they don’t even hurt that much” or like, “How painful can childbirth really be?” – commenting on things that have never and will never directly affect you. It’s not that I meant she can’t comment on something due to the colour of her skin, it’s more that I meant, how can she speak about something that offends a race when she isn’t that race? Like, how would she know what they think and feel? And to just go ahead and assume her way of thinking is more correct than a PoC’s… well, don’t you think that’s just not right?

      Just because she went to Japan and has her own experiences of Japanese culture or her own idea of what Japanese people think of Western culture, does not mean she is allowed to speak for them like she’s an expert.

      • “how can she speak about something that offends a race when she isn’t that race? Like, how would she know what they think and feel?”

        So a member of that ‘race’, on the other hand, is assumed to know what *all* members of that race think and feel and therefore can take offence on behalf of all of them? One might question what gives an individual the right to group everyone on the basis of race and to insinuate that one knows what “they” think or feel, as if all cultures are homogenous closed groups of like-minded people. All women suffer period cramps. Not all racial groups feel, think and take offence in the same way.

        “She’s saying that the opinions of Japanese people, or Asian people, or other PoC, who have complained about this whole Perry thing, don’t count or don’t matter.” – I think she’s saying their opinions don’t count to the extent they’re not based on anything more than “I’m outraged and I’m from country x therefore I’m right”.

        But seriously, what is racism but discrimination based on nothing more than the colour of ones skin? Katy Perry isn’t saying Japanese people can’t wear whatever they want as far as I can tell, but several people are arguing Katy Perry can’t wear what she wants because she’s white. What’s more racist?

        • A member of a race, assuming that they’ve grown up around many other members of that race, would have a pretty good idea of how their peers feel. And no, not every single member of that a race thinks the same, of course not, but there are some things that are shared and assumed by the majority of a race. So in most cases, it would be acceptable for a person of a certain race to speak on behalf of that race if what they’re saying is based on personal experience, cultural understanding and historical knowledge – generally speaking.

          If you still don’t see how that might be the case, or is acceptable, then I don’t know how to explain this to you… like sometimes I think it’s a thing that you might not ever fully understand if you’re a white person. No offence, genuinely. I’m just really tired of repeating the same thing to people to no avail.

          With regard to the ‘lumping’ PoC together, you’re absolutely right that not all their opinions on a thing will be the same, but as an example, all PoC living in a predominantly white country (mostly America and Australia come to mind and is what I’m most familiar with) have an understanding of what it feels like to be alienated, mocked, insulted etc due to their race.

          This post – http://bonumasai.tumblr.com/post/68266053726/stop-asking-about-how-japanese-people-in-japan-feel -makes a really good point that in this Perry thing, it’s actually less about the Japanese people in Japan who maybe think Perry’s performance was really cool; they’re not the ones who have had to grow up in Western culture and experience racism and then have a white woman take all the things they were teased about and make it something “cool” and then see all these other white people, possibly the ones that teased them in the first place, being all like “omg Japanese stuff is so cool now”. Like, it’s only cool when a white person does it, otherwise it’s weird and foreign. (This must be so confusing for you; I can imagine you being like, “if you’re saying the opinions of mainland Japanese people don’t count isn’t that soooo racist” – it’s about the context.)

          Racism is discrimination based on power and privilege, and a lot of the time ignorance comes with that. When white people cry racism against white people, I see it the same way as men crying sexism against men… it’s not that it doesn’t exist but the scale of the two are incomparable.

          When you say, “people are arguing Katy Perry can’t wear what she wants because she’s white. What’s more racist?” – would you say, “People are arguing [person] can’t wear blackface because she’s white.” ? Blackface is clearly more shocking, but Perry’s yellowface is in the same vein. And no, it isn’t the same thing as going to Japan and trying on Japanese dress and getting your make-up done; that’s being a tourist in another country and they’re giving you permission to do that as a guest. They’re on home turf and they make the rules that you have to follow.

          And when we’re calling the performance racist, it’s not merely about wearing a Japanese outfit (well, hybrid) – that in itself might not be racist. It’s about so many other aspects. This article by American Japanese writer Gil Asakawa sums it up well – http://www.nikkeiview.com/blog/2013/11/katy-perrys-faux-japanese-american-music-awards-performance-was-terrible/ – interestingly, it includes a defense of Perry by a group of Asian Americans, as well as a comment by another Japanese American in support of Gil’s article and a link to an article by Ravi Chandra also calling out Perry. Jeff Yang also wrote about Perry with regard to Miss Saigon – http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2013/11/25/memories-of-a-geisha-katy-perrys-amas-performance-stirs-debate/. So you are right, there will obviously be differing opinions without a race/races, but just because one group of people who can have a say are okay with it, does not cancel out the people who are against it. And when people from the same group disagree, I feel like they’re coming from a similar place, and that makes it feel more respectful and totally different than a white person telling you that your opinion is wrong. If you think that’s unfair or somehow racist against white people I really have no words for you. Again, circumstance and context count for a lot.

          If you think any of these people denigrating Perry’s performance are reading too much into it, myself included, maybe it’s because we’ve had to deal with this shit our whole lives and are sick of it. I don’t think Perry meant any harm and I do think she was coming from a good place, but that doesn’t excuse it. There’s a good chance she never considered most of these criticisms people are making, and why the hell would she, as a white woman with a shallow grasp of oriental culture? So I don’t blame her but at the same time I can’t just shrug it off. It was a mistake but it was still insensitive, even unintentionally. A good thing that’s come of it is all this discussion, though.

          • Stephanie, I seriously have to commend you for taking the time and energy to explain Racism 101 to these people. I know that a lot of the points Chris and Tim are making come from a place of ignorance (at least I hope it’s ignorance and not condescending and incendiary whitemansplaining). Thank you for being so patient with them. I mean it. A lot of us are just so sick of white people always making us explain the most rudimentary facts of racism as if they can’t educate themselves about it.

            White People: We do not live in a free-for-all postracial society. White people can’t do whatever they want with or to everyone else. White supremacy has already done and taken so much. White supremacy still operates American society so there is no such thing as reverse racism. White people have no right telling other people what is or is not racist. PLEASE stop asking us to explain these simple facts and do your own research about it.

  4. I’m sorry but it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of cultural appropriation and how white people use people of colour as props if you cannot see this performance as obscenely racist.

    The mash up of garments involves a disregard for both cultures, and is ignorant of vast cultural differences – but I guess to Katy, they’re both just Asian LOL!

    The interview that you pulled her ‘obsessed with Japan’ quote was horrific – she also said she would like to skin Japanese people and wear them like Versace. She has no interest in Japan or Japanese culture other than superficiality – remember Gwen Stefani who used Japanese women as silent props? When will white people realise that people of colour are just that, PEOPLE, and not objects to be lusted after, or festishized, or used as props.

    I haven’t even got to the part yet where the back up dancers wore make up to make their eyes look more slanty, more commonly known as yellow face, which has a long and fucked up background as being used by white people to mock and degrade Asian people, much in the way that Blackface has been used to degrade black people.

    There is plenty of amazing writing out there at the moment documenting EXACTLY how fucked up this current trend of cultural appropriation is, do some reading and school yourself for gods sake. When people of colour tell you something is RACIST, you sit down, you shut up and you listen.

    • Hi Ruth,

      I have an issue with this sentence: ‘When people of colour tell you something is RACIST, you sit down, you shut up and you listen.’

      As a person of colour, who has dealt with all kinds of racism over the years, and who continues to deal with it to this day, I still find the idea that people of colour can do no wrong when it comes to race relations to be a bit misguided.

      For a start, I know that the majority of Indians I know (I’m Indian) are INCREDIBLY racist towards white people – they claim white people are heathens, don’t raise their children right, all white women are sluts, etc etc etc. Clearly this is not ‘all Indians’, but my point is that racism is not always a case of white vs colour- it often occurs the other way around.

      But if a white person was the victim of racism from a person of colour, I’d wager they’d feel pretty uncomfortable about speaking out when the response they’re likely to get is that, as a white person, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

      I’m not going to defend Katy Perry’s performance, and I’m certainly not going to claim that unintended racism is any better than intended racism – undertones of white supremacy in pop music are far too prevalent and incredibly troubling.

      But I do think the idea that people of colour are inherently right when they call out racism is flawed – ‘people of colour’ are just as fallible as ‘white people’ – racism has to be taken on a case-by-case basis, or else we risk silencing a new demographic, rather than empowering one.

      • I’m sorry if my words were presumptuous or problematic – I would never presume to speak for a POC and only stepped in to shed a little light on cultural appropriation, on a white-to-white level.

        A lot of my experiences in learning about intersectionality have taught me that I don’t really have much of a right to define racism, as for the most part, as a privileged white cis female, I have experienced next to none of it.

        And I actually feel, as a white person, that we can’t experience racism – I don’t believe in reverse racism as such. I have spent a lot of time in Japan and know first hand that white people can experience attitudes towards them that are judgmental, or unfair and it might be based on the colour of our skin, or where we’re from. But I think it comes down to the history of colonialism, and westernisation and the constant valuation of white people over POC that means that this is completely different.

        The kind of behaviour you talked about above, where white people are labelled as sluts, or heathens or whatever else, I think is awful and terribly hurtful but I don’t consider it racist, per se. Not in the way that a white person might racially vilify an Indian person.

        • I’m struggling to understand the distinction you’re making – if I vilify a white person on the basis of their skin colour and racial background, and nothing else, that is racist.

          Despite the history of colonialism, despite the vilification of Indians by white people, despite anything else – if I, as an Indian girl living and existing in the 21st century make assumptions based on race, then I am being racist.

          I think it’s really demeaning to the experiences of white people to claim that they can’t experience racism…

          But thank you for the reply and the clarification. We’re on the same side here, though from quite different perspectives!

          • I know, I just had a chat to some friends about this as I’ve been mulling it over, and I think you’re right, regarding a basic definition of racism. But I do strongly feel that racism can’t be reversed completely equally, and I guess my original statement about POC that prompted your response just reflected my tendency to defer to POC regarding issues surrounding race. We are! Thanks for the food for thought, as always.

          • Ruth – Isn’t it reverse racism to prioritise one opinion over another simply on the basis of that person’s skin color? A PoC might find it demeaning, for example, if they get the sense that people are only agreeing with their points because of the mouth speaking them, rather than the inherent logic being spoken.

            I don’t see how it can be good for ending racial discrimination if we judge people, not according to their individual merits, but according to the relative cultural significance of their ethnic origin.

        • The Oxford dictionary defines racism as:

          “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races:

          prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”

          To say that white people can’t experience racism is laughable. I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be aggressive but I think that’s the silliest thing I’ve heard someone say all year.

          Yes, there is a form of racism that is embedded in colonialism and it can be very subtle and normalised within Western society (which is largely built on colonial/ex-colonial super powers)- I believe this is the form of racism you are talking about here.

          I’d like to think that what you really meant by the comment “And I actually feel, as a white person, that we can’t experience racism” is:

          “And I actually feel, as a person who has never experienced the detrimental legacy of colonialism, that we can’t experience the subtle forms of colonially based racism in the same way that others who have can.”

          That’s probably not terribly articulate- I’m tired. But I’m sure you get my drift. Racism isn’t just black and white (sorry, pun not intended)it’s incredibly complex and layered and at the end of the day, no matter what manifestation of racism we’re talking about, everyone who discriminates on the basis of race (no matter what race they are/race they are discriminating against)is practising racism.

          • Hah, your reply to Zoya beat me to it- I think we’re also roughly on the same page, or as close as we’ll ever be :)

          • I did, and I do – I guess I’ve just dealt with so much shitty mouthing off by white people lately, in regards to racism, just like this article. Maybe we can experience racism, at it’s most basic level, separated from context and societal meaning, but I still don’t think we have much place in determining the racial undertones (or supposed lack thereof) of things such as Perry’s performance.

  5. I’m sick to death of the word “racist” being thrown around about things that aren’t even racist.

    Geishas are not a race of people for a start, so how the hell are people racists against something that is not a race, it is a form of Japanese entertainment that women are trained in. They do fan dances, pour tea and make a ceremony out of it, even white women can be geishas. It is about the entertainment factor that has become a popular part of Japanese culture. And just because it belongs to another culture does not make it racist either.

    The outfits geishas wear are just that, outfits, and if tourists can dress up in the costume and become a geisha for a few hours, then clearly Japan has no issue with it either.

    If you want to know about racism where the Japanese are concerned try talking to any surviving members of the p.o.w camps who watched their friends be beheaded, or the women who were kidnapped and used as sex slaves back in the days of the war. THOSE people have the right to hate and be “racist” against Japan, dressing as a geisha has nothing to do with racism and people need to pull their heads out and stop labelling everything as such.

    All that tells me is people have no real idea about racism and use it just to make themselves look all big and important when they’re actually showing their stupidity by jumping on a bandwagon that doesn’t even make sense, especially when what they’re labelling racist has nothing to do with race.

    • Haha oh man the irony in this comment.

      Ummm geishas are inherently Japanese and not linked the any other culture? Can anyone really deny that something so historically and culturally steeped in Japan/Japanese tradition can be separated from the race of Japanese people?

      If you think racist acts can only be the really obvious, violent ones then you really have no idea. The seemingly ‘small’ acts of racism might not seem to matter in comparison, but it all adds up to be part of the same problem and it all breeds misunderstanding and prejudice. The ‘mild’ racism leads into the bigger problems, so it’s important we don’t just focus on the most terrible race crimes. A seed grows into a tree etc. It’s about changing people’s attitudes so that the ‘bigger’ acts of racism don’t have to occur.

      I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced any sort of racism, but even the ‘little’ stuff can be really hurtful, degrading and then if it persists it can be really damaging. And when you’ve been mocked for your race and then someone, the kind of person who you recognise as the kind who may have mocked you, appropriates it for their own benefit, it can be jarring and uncomfortable at the *very* least.

      Your ‘oufits are just outfits’ comment says to me you don’t understand significant cultural customs either… Are you one of those people who wears bindis as fashion and Indian warbonnets as dress-ups and festival-wear and thinks nothing of it, ‘cos like, fashun?

      Signed,

      ~Just another woman of colour jumping on the racism bandwagon!~~~

      • Stephanie,

        Katy Perry isn’t saying Japanese people can’t wear whatever they want as far as I can tell, but you’re arguing that Katy Perry can’t wear what she wants because she’s white. How is that not racist?

      • Geishas are a tradition, it is a PART of the culture of a race, NOT a race itself. And yes, outfits are outfits, they are a part of the entertainment just as the frilly dresses of the can can girls, the exotic national dress in the Miss Universe contest, the colours each country wears at the Olympics.

        Dressing up in the outfit of a business, which Geishas have become, a business, is just that, a part of a job which is what they are in this day and age. And if they are accepting other women besides Japanese so the tradition doesn’t die out because it is as many Japanese girls are no longer interested, and they run businesses where tourists can dress up and experience the whole geisha tradition, then the Japanese clearly have no issues with it as it has become a business to them in the hope the tradition survives.

        They don’t care if white women dress up in the outfit as they clearly encourage it in many ways, so then why the hell does everyone else have a problem with it?

          • “Well argued contrarian arguments” hahahaha there you go again Tim. This guy!

            I really should stop responding because I feel like someone who compares a geisha costume to sports team colours is just never going to understand.

            A culture and history of a race is the very thread which binds them together… it’s not just about where they come from and what they look like. That’s not that hard a concept to grasp. When we talk about race we don’t just mean a person’s physical looks and genetic ethnicity and that’s it. There’s so much more that comes with that.

            “They don’t care if white women dress up in the outfit as they clearly encourage it in many ways, so then why the hell does everyone else have a problem with it?”

            In reply to that, I’m gonna directly copy and paste a thing I said in another response further up, cbf repeating because I’ve been repeating and repeating for so long and as long as I’m an Asian person living in a white-dominated country I am sure I’ll be repeating and repeating for years to come:
            This post – http://bonumasai.tumblr.com/post/68266053726/stop-asking-about-how-japanese-people-in-japan-feel -makes a really good point that in this Perry thing, it’s actually less about the Japanese people in Japan who maybe think Perry’s performance was really cool; they’re not the ones who have had to grow up in Western culture and experience racism and then have a white woman take all the things they were teased about and make it something “cool” and then see all these other white people, possibly the ones that teased them in the first place, being all like “omg Japanese stuff is so cool now”. Like, it’s only cool when a white person does it, otherwise it’s weird and foreign. (This must be so confusing for you; I can imagine you being like, “if you’re saying the opinions of mainland Japanese people don’t count isn’t that soooo racist” – it’s about the context.)

            I’m so sick to death of white people telling me what I should and shouldn’t find racist or culturally insensitive. Particularly in such appallingly insulting ways that show you’re just blindly shouting your privileged bullshit around and being all, “won’t somebody think of the poor white people and their rights to dress up?!”

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