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An Aside

I normally limit my blog to talking about artwork, but I want to bring attention to something that I think is important. I play the #TheColbertReport while I’m drawing and it’s great. I love the show. Stephen Colbert is brilliant and a great way to start my drawing day. However, it went to commercial break, and what I saw was shocking:

This commercial is offensive on so many levels that I’m not sure where to begin. Racist and Sexist – few commercials have either, let alone both. It propagates the stereotype that Asian women exist for the pleasure of men- refining their skills of pleasuring. Or, as the commercial actually states, “For thousands of years, the women of Asia have been mastering the Art of the Welcome: warmth and kindness… You can see it in their eyes.. feel it in their smile… Expand your world of dating, with women from Asia”.

First there’s the ignorant lumping together of all Asians with complete disregard to race and nationalities. Because when getting an Asian woman, does it really matter what kind? They all kind of look the same anyway, right? It’s like saying ‘Middle Eastern Women’- hey, Arab, Israeli, Persian, they’re all the same, or close enough. I’m sure they’d feel that way too.

If you don’t know the difference, if they’re just ‘Women of Asia’ you can also lump them together and say that for thousands of years they’ve been mastering the Art of Welcome. Perhaps it is the Japanese tradition of the geisha? Perhaps it was the sex industry that built up around American GI’s during the Vietnam war? Is it a basic cultural misunderstanding: what is social tact in one culture is seen as submission in another? I’m not sure what the stereotype is based on, but it definitely exists. Asian women are thought of as being exotic beauties who are submissive pleasers, there only to love you long time.

Objectification of human beings leads to very bad things. If you can think of someone as a thing, whether it be a pleasing thing or not, you don’t have to value them as a human, or see them as an individual. How are people able to kill? Because we can lump individuals into groups. It’s ok to hate ‘them‘ or kill ‘them‘ because they‘re one of thesethey‘re the enemy. So then what happens when you have obtained your Woman from Asia, and she turns out to have her own needs… or her own opinions? What if she, god forbid, has just as many faults as white women? Because she’s a human being too? Uggghhh… that is totally not what you signed up for.

Asiandate.com is not the same as jdate, christian mingle or black singles. Those other sites are geared toward dating within your race or religion. Asiandate.com is open only to men who want to expand their world of dating. The site publishes other videos featuring mostly middle aged white men who have successfully obtained a Woman of Asia. Which makes me wonder too- where are these women coming from?

While I know that mail order brides exist, that sex slavery exists and that women across the world are still subjugated and exploited due to extreme poverty, I was shocked to see such a clearly racist and subjugating commercial on cable tv. #ComedyCentral, this is not a joke. Don’t be part of the problem.

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About susangyoung

Illustrator

4 responses to “An Aside

  1. Sarah ⋅

    Thank you Susang,

    I first saw this commercial in a bar and could not hear the words, but I was already infuriated. After coming home I did a search and could hardly believe such a racist commercial could be widely broadcasted – even during the daily show and Colbert report!

    I wanted to see if I was being paranoid or over sensitive, so I searched online to see if there’s any reactions. Your blogpost is among the first I found, and I think you delivered very valid points in an elegant and logic way.

    Wondering if I should write to comedy central. We cannot change the fact that there are numerous ignorant racists/sexists in the world. But it’s at least worthwhile to discuss this with shows that receive high ratings and enjoy a broad audience.

    • Thank you Sarah- yes, I would write to Comedy Central. I was hoping my blog posting would get their attention, but it has not. Since posting this I saw a similar commercial posting for Eastern European women- I believe it’s anastasiadate- but it didn’t seem quite as sweepingly racist. There were no ancient costume/setting scenes and no references to how they’ve been perfecting the art of welcome…

      • Sarah ⋅

        I believe by now the ad is gone from comedy central. But I did notice the anastasiadate one, too. Sadly, a few friends of mine from Eastern Europe did not find it racist in any way. Even sadder is many Asian girl friends of mine did not find the Asiadate one offensive at all – they think it symbolizes their good “dating market” in this country, which I find extremely inappropriate and borderline pathetic. Anyway, appreciate your original post.

        This is an issue that needs much louder voice from many more people to raise attention to. Let’s make sure that happens.

  2. That is odd indeed! I used to see the ad for asiandate.com during the Colbert Report. Best wishes to you Sarah!

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