Marie Claire South Africa: The Orient Express

Posted on November 30, 2011

Darlings, here’s your… sort of pretty for the day. Is Orientalism still pretty or is this borderline racist? Well, the clothes are pretty anyway. The geisha drag hair and makeup is another story.

 


Marie Claire South Africa December 2011 Issue
Editorial: “The Orient Express”
Photographer: Ross Garrett
Stylist: Sharon Becker
Hair: Karen Van Wyn Gaard
MakeUp: Lesley Whitby
Model: Alexandra Collins


[Image Credit: visualoptimism via thefashionspot.com]

    • Anonymous

      this concept is so completely overdone…  why, when it comes to anything even slightly chinoiserie-esque, stylists see it only one way?  racism aside (but not forgotten), it’s just trite to the point of total banality.  the woman is gorgeous, but i can’t see the clothes like this.

    • Anonymous

      What, can’t it be pretty AND borderline racist?

    • Sobaika Mirza

      An editorial on the ‘Orient’ with a black model.

      My, how far we’ve come. *rolls eyes*

      • muzan-e

        Yeah. Amongst the kids I grew up with, ‘Oriental’ is a rug, not a person. 

        • Terence Ng

          Were those kids Orient-made? ;)

        • Anonymous

          I wish I hadn’t heard grown-ass people actually refer to other PEOPLE as “oriental,” but it has happened recently. Two of them actually pulled the skin at the corners of their eyes up. ADULTS. 

          Sure, the model is gorgeous, but this is a boring, racist concept.

          • http://twitter.com/applecocola Stacy

            In England, Oriental is used regarding “East Asian,” whereas “Asian” can refer to anyone in the Asian continent, particularly from India.

            • Sobaika Mirza

              Does that make its usage acceptable or any better?

            • http://twitter.com/applecocola Stacy

              No, I just think a lot of this is regionally based vernacular. Context also plays a heavy part. 

            • Anonymous

              Neither were English, and I do not think that the pulling the eyes move can ever be considered appropriate (or accurate, for that matter).

              Regardless, “Asian,” just like “African American,” is generally used to refer to a person’s race, not their continent of origin (I’ve heard people regularly refer to non-Americans as AA).

            • http://twitter.com/applecocola Stacy

              I agree with “Asian” meaning someone whose ancestors originated in the continent of Asia, but unfortunately Asia is home to people of different races, the two most dominant being Indian or South Asian, and East Asian, which is known as Oriental in certain English vernaculars. I’ve also met South Asians who hate being termed “Indians,” because it implies that India is not a part of Asia.

              Pulling the eyes is never appropriate, I agree with you. However, that’s not what this model is doing. They’ve done their best to create an illusion with make up that evokes Asian aesthetics, but not mockingly. I believe that context and intent are very important in differentiating if something is derogatory or not.
              I’d also like to get an understanding of how many people in this thread are Eastern Asian and how many are not, because in my personal experience, I find that Caucasians are more upset by these representations of “Orientalism” than Eastern Asians ever are about it.

            • Anonymous

              I’m not white, for what that’s worth. I’m a black woman.

              Regarding your point about race vs nationality – this was my point. It’s used inaccurately, much of the time.

              And the pulling of the eyes did not have anything to do with the model – I was simply sharing an experience…and I certainly wouldn’t characterize my response as “upset,” but I do think it’s offensive.

            • http://twitter.com/applecocola Stacy

              Hmm. I think it’s very interesting that we, an Eastern Asian woman and a black woman, are having this discussion about an editorial featuring a black model in Oriental clothes. I’m using the term Oriental here because I think this editorial is clearly referencing the western fantasy of the East back in the 1800s. So I suppose, I’d like to know why exactly you find this editorial offensive? 

              I also agree with your race vs. nationality point. However, I find this point a little hazy to navigate, since so much of nationality is tied up with race. Or rather, race and culture and nationality are 3 very heavily intertwined ideas that affect each other, especially since nationality itself is a relatively modern concept that only really took force in the beginning of the 1900s in Europe, as a way for nation states to identify themselves as, well, themselves, distinct from their neighbors, who they were strongly alike racially. Which then leads to WWI, the Serbians wanting a nation separate for their particular race. Which I suppose would then tie in with Hitler’s claim of the Aryan “superior” race, and so on and so forth. 
              I suppose what I’m trying to say is that the idea of ethnicity as separate from nationality is an even more modern concept, now that geographical mobility is such a commonality. Especially in the United States, which is a melting pot of different cultures, having absorbed immigrants from practically every corner of the world, we now have to think about people belonging to distinct ethnic groups but categorized under a different nationality. It’s very hard to tell the different between an African American or an African immigrant, and likewise between an Asian American growing up in the States or an Asian visiting from China or Korea or Japan. One question might be, does it matter? Unfortunately, I think it does. Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese people are fiercely “proud” (personally, I think the word is “arrogant”) of their cultures, and we tend to view our American counterparts are sort of “watered down” versions. Asian Americans tend to lose ties with the original culture with each generation, such as the ability to speak or write in the native language, the ability to hold chopsticks, so on and so forth. So in this case, race and nationality thus become 2 very different things. 

            • Anonymous

              I don’t really like seeing a black woman used as a cultural ape, of sorts. I wouldn’t really like it on a non-black woman, either, but I think that’s why it offends me. I don’t want to start seeing us represented in this way, especially since you see so few images of black women as it is. I also do not like the term “oriental,” which means “other,” to me.

              I’d argue that it’s really easy to tell African-born blacks from American-born blacks, mostly because of the history of rape (and later, consensual relationships) between blacks and whites over the years. For example, it’s pretty damned easy to tell an Ethiopian, Somalian or Nigerian from a black American (for me, at least). I don’t know that you’d see that same level of diversity in one country in Africa that you see among all the blacks here in the US.

              The difference, to me, is that the diversity you see among American blacks is not seen among Asians because the cultures weren’t blown apart by slavery, which systematically erased the cultural links to Africa (hence, the rise of the term African-American, a call-back to that origin). People preserved certain aspects of Asian culture that they wanted to preserve, and discarded others. 

              I do agree that race and nationality are very different, but they are often conflated. I’ve seen blacks from other countries called African-American. I’ve seen people call people Asian, and see the continent as culturally monolithic (also part of my issue with the term “oriental”) as opposed to the incredibly broad and rich diaspora of cultures that are represented by people on and off the continent. 

              This has been fun, and interesting! But I gotta go to sleep.

            • http://inkblotphotography.blogspot.com/ Cate

              except that race and nationality have ALWAYS been separate entities.  we’re just only now recognizing that because of the geographical mobility you mentioned. i’m a black woman from Trinidad living in the US, and I’m routinely categorized as African American. it frustrates me that I always have to point out the inaccuracy, because I’m not an american, and therefore cannot be “african american”. additionally, i have never understood the reasoning behind adding ethnic tags to a nationalist identity. if you were born in the US, you’re american. why do you need to distinguish your race? doesn’t that just feed into the us vs. them mentality?

            • Anonymous

              The us vs. them mentality has always been around.  It’s not only how we identify others, but how we identify ourselves.  Keeping track on the Census form (and others) is an attempt to track the well-being of people in groups, and maybe is good and maybe is bad.  Even if we eliminated the (insufficient) official labels, people would still think in these terms. 

              Nationalism is fairly new concept.  Originally it was actually a way to unite multiple ethnicities into a single group.  Italy and Germany especially.  What had been warring principalities with varied ethnic identities became united countries around a single national identity.  It also worked in Yugoslavia, until it didn’t. 

              The idea of national identity in America is constantly evolving, too.  The identity of the country is supposed to be of one national identity with many races and ethnicities and many ancestral nationalities. 

              People label themselves and others.  Trying to agree on what terms are acceptable and which are not is progress, especially in a way that takes self-identification into account, in my opinion.

            • Anonymous

              Most Russians don’t consider themselves to be Asian.  Self-identification is a big part of racial/ethnic identity.  Also, the majority of the Russian population is centered in the western part of the country.

              But Russian attitudes toward racial identity ARE fascinating.  The most interesting class I ever took was “Race and Ethnicity in the Russian Empire.”  Man, that country has been amazing at creating a shitload of ethnic labels for groups of people that all “look the same” to outsiders.  And then attaching all kinds of binding laws and restrictions to the labels. 

            • Anonymous

              Also, I’ve seen your comment “Caucasians are more upset by these representations of “Orientalism” than Eastern Asians ever are about it” in a few places on this post. Pretty sure I don’t have that same historical guilt to contend with. I just see this differently than you do, which is allowed…

            • http://twitter.com/applecocola Stacy

              Definitely allowed! I’m just curious about how you see it, it’s very refreshing to get the POV of a non-Caucasian and non-Asian on this matter!

            • Anonymous

              ” I find that Caucasians are more upset by these representations of “Orientalism” than Eastern Asians ever are about it.” 

              Actually, in my personal experience, it is the opposite! I’m asian too and many asians, especially fellow asian women where I live, do not like to be categorized in stereotyped groups. In fact, a lot of people would tell me I look either like a china doll, geisha, etc. A LOT. Lol. It always bothers me and other asian women I know when it happens to them.

            • http://twitter.com/applecocola Stacy

              That never happens to me! But then I’m also a very non-Asian sort of Asian (my tastes and style all run more western), so it is possible that I myself don’t invite that sort of comparison. Not that I’m assuming that you are visibly overflowing with an eastern aura. Maybe you’re just a normal person who happens to be of Asian descent. In all likelihood you are. I just meant that I’m so very loud and obnoxious that people don’t make that connection with me, so I never hear anything like that. 

              So it’s very possible that as a result of my own personality, I’m oblivious to the stereotyping that a lot of other Asian women receive. I will say though I am indignant at the prevalent “Yellow Fever” or “Asian fetish” I’ve noticed among many white and black men, due to their conception of Asian woman as exotic compared to women of their own race as well as the idea that Asian women are more submissive. I also hate that white people in Taiwan (where I live) seem to automatically assume that Taiwanese women will fall head over heels for them because they are white. Sadly, this last thing is very true, and it makes me very ashamed to be a Taiwanese woman at times. But the problem here is that these Taiwanese girls don’t see this as a problem, that they are helping to perpetuate stereotypes about themselves that are NOT FLATTERING. 

              I do hate it when white people try to speak Japanese or Chinese (badly) to me in an attempt to impress me. Please, I speak English, and you don’t speak my language. It’s not even a genuine “I’m learning a foreign language and would appreciate the opportunity to practice,” it’s more “look, aren’t you flattered I know how to say hello in Asian?”

              So I guess I’m trying to say that I don’t mind the more flattering depictions of Orientalism in which the East (Near or Far) is depicted as beautiful and exotic, because it derives from the culture of a past era in which Europe was beginning to venture into what was unknown territory to them. I DON’T appreciate the resulting conclusion that Asians, male or female, are subservient to the West though. However, all in all, I understand that all this is a result of western power at the time of the West’s exploration into the East, mostly industrially, and that Orientalism is a concept that began and belongs to that era, just as we appreciate art depicting rape scenes from mythology painted during the Renaissance era. Does that mean we condone rape? No, it just means we’re paying an homage to the art of a historical period that helped shape the modern world. 

            • Anonymous

              You live in Taiwan now? I can understand that foreigners may probably know a little more about Taiwan and the people and would be less likely to stereotype. I live in America so I’ve been subjected to the “fetishism” a lot here. And I may look more like a fob, I guess, but I am also a confident and outspoken woman and I don’t believe I act like a stereotypical Asian woman at all. And yes I agree with you that I also don’t like that non Asian people may stereotype us as being subservient to the West. I am in no way blaming Western people in being the only ones who are being ignorant. Its just in my personal experience, I have sometimes been approached in an inappropriate manner because of whatever they thought of asian females, mostly sexual stereotypes. Its just tiring. lol

            • Anonymous

              In college, I was often the only white girl in my group of bar-hopping friends of Asian descent (my friends were all Texans).  People would never fail to ask their ethnic identity, but no one ever asked mine.  I volunteered it, loudly, especially if drunk…  “Hey, I’m German-Czech!  Are we taking a census??”  Not necessarily helpful of me, but it was my first exposure to the obnoxious questions my friends had spent a lifetime dealing with and it pissed me off.

            • Anonymous

              Hey, I live in Texas too! lol. Yes. I’ve noticed that many people will ask Asians of their descent but not so much other people even Latinos, and Europeans as much. Have you ever heard of the “eternal foreigner” stereotype for Asians? Its the concept Asians (not living in Asia) are perceived as a foreigner, despite having being born there or their family being in the country for generations. I think that a lot of people who approached me assume I am a foreigner and maybe for your friends as well. I also think those people you are talking about think Asian descent is more exotic and interesting. I don’t blame them for the interest. Like you said, its more annoying than anything else.

            • Anonymous

              I hadn’t heard that term but it TOTALLY makes sense (as a description of what happens, not as if it’s okay).

              There are a ton of people of Asian descent in Texas.  You’d think people
              would be used to it by now and have gotten over the eternal foreigner
              thing.  Maybe because the majority of the Asian population is still largely centered in Houston, which is hell and gone from the other major cities?

              I don’t think anyone could have thought my friends were foreigners–that’s part of why it pissed me off.  We all grew up in Texas.  We dressed and walked and talked like Americans/Texans.  We did each others’ hair and make up before we left the apartment and swapped clothes.  There was nothing outside of physical attributes of race to prompt the question.  Occasionally it would come up and those times were not obnoxious.  You just don’t ask upon first meeting a person, “So, what’s your nationality?” in the absence of an accent, in my opinion.  Also, one of my friends was sick of it and she always answered, “American” or “Texan” and then got follow up questions. 
               

            • Anonymous

              Well, as I probably thought, those people who approached your friends probably thought anyone of Asian descent was interesting and exotic. I think Asians get asked that question almost more than any racial group. We’re one of the smallest minority groups in America, so I think its expected that people will ask what we are. I don’t really mind it when people ask me what I am, I just despise it when people perceive anyone in a stereotypical way. Especially for Asian women who are stereotyped in a sexual manner. I know plenty of my asian friends, including myself who had to deal with ignorant or inappropriate questions or comments from guys that dealt with our race. 

            • Anonymous

              The US Census form has a limited list of races and “Asian” is the only term available to those whose ancestors are from that continent.  I can deal with “Asian” to describe a person’s race (it falls short for ethnicity, though).

              I hope that the term “oriental” in the editorial was meant only to describe the inspiration for the clothing.

              For what it’s worth, at one time “oriental” was supposed to be the polite term and that’s changed within the past 30 years.  I hope that people using the term are simply behind the times (those pulling on their eyes obvs have other issues).

              “Oriental” does typically mean “other” from a western perspective.  For what it’s worth, there is an equal-and-opposite term, “occidental” to refer to westerners as “other” from the eastern perspective. 

              One of these days, I’ll actually finish reading Edward Said…

            • http://twitter.com/applecocola Stacy

              Brilliant! I’m going to start using “occidental” to refer to anyone who isn’t of eastern descent, namely Africans and Caucasians, but only because Middle Eastern and South Eastern have been included in the “Oriental” category. This is going to be so great, because NO ONE WILL KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING.

            • Anonymous

              You should totally do that and jump on the educational opportunity that presents itself when they ask what “occidental” means.  As helpfully, pedagogically, rudely or humorously as you feel in the mood for at that moment.  

      • Toto Maya

        It’s like double the exoticism!

      • Pinup Ghoul

        Edward Said would have had a FIELD DAY with this editorial.

        • Anonymous

          I don’t know about that. It uses the term “Orient” and includes exaggerated makeup (which is Westernized and understated in comparison to its inspiration), but I don’t think it’s actually saying anything super hurtful. The term Oriental is only offensive to us today because Said pointed out that it had been used as a heading under which a lot of generalizations were filed. This is sort of, well, fluff–no substance to make it terrible enough to be academically interesting. 

          The thing I don’t like about it is that Marie Claire just threw a few poorly thought-out ideas at this editorial as an attempt at controversiality. If the word “Asian” had been used instead, and if the model wasn’t black, what would we be saying about it? 

          • scottyf

            What I hear implied in your articulate post (and in other’s posts which, unfortunately are NOT so articulate), is that racism needs to be conscious in order to really be defined as such. My understanding of Dr. Said’s study of the word “Orient” is that the use in and of itself is a Western device: that it has no purpose other than to define our understanding of cultures and peoples in certain regions of the world on our own terms. To me, it makes the word itself inherently racist. For me such words and concepts are even more pernicious.

            As an American, who happens also to be Black, I’m finding it harder and harder to navigate my way through a country and a culture which thinks that just because we have a President who identifies as black, racism has disappeared, and that those who bring it up are simply looking for something about which to complain. In some ways it has been driven back into the closet, and again can show itself in seemingly innocuous ways.

            • Anonymous

              I think I wasn’t entirely clear; I certainly don’t think that conscious racism is the only kind that exist: unconscious prejudice is generally far more pernicious in that it is harder to address. And I do agree with your analysis of the word “Orient”–what I was attempting (and failing, I think)–to get across is that Marie Claire is attempting to create controversy with an extremely conscious use of stereotypes. I was only trying to quibble, I guess, with the idea of Edward Said finding something new or interesting to talk about here. I really did not mean to defend the magazine–only to point out how incredibly dull and premeditated this is. 

              And I think you are right in your analysis of our current cultural response to racism, which in neither dead nor dying. I do think, however, that there are aspects of prejudice that we (rightly, perhaps) beat to death and others that we leave largely untouched. I feel like we do spend a lot of time getting offended and very little working on solutions to systems of oppression. There certainly are times when words are threatening and times when they are hurtful. I don’t, however, see a lot of Asian women looking at this and feeling either threatened or hurt–certainly no more than the average woman reading the average fashion editorial.

            • http://twitter.com/applecocola Stacy

              I think it would be great if the aim of the editorial were to spur all the lovely historical/racial conversation we’ve been having, however given the audience of Marie Claire and so on, I really don’t think I can give them the benefit of that doubt. 

            • Anonymous

              I think Edward Said would just roll his eyes at the editorial.  Maybe he’d mutter “One more example” before moving on.

            • Anonymous

              I think it’s significant that the first black president is not a descendant of American slaves…  I also think it’s ridiculous to act like racism is gone b/c one person “makes it out” of the welfare system.  Like that quote about feminism, “Sexism isn’t gone when the best women are promoted, but when average women are as likely to be promoted as average men.”  Take out the word “women” and insert “any group other than white men.”

    • Anonymous

      The styling is terrible, the shots are strange, they def do not show off the clothes. And only the 4th shot is good from a photography stand point. Shame!

    • muzan-e

      I’d like to articulate why this leaves me so completely uncomfortable, and  - the words just aren’t coming. Except that I feel a little sad, a little ill – and that titling the thing ‘Orient Express’ just pushes the whole shoot over the cliff and into a big pool of Awful.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        It leaves you uncomfortable because you aren’t sure who should be the most offended?  Black women are being offended because now they aren’t only supposed to want to look like white women, but apparently Asian women as well.  At the very same time, Asian women are being told that while their CLOTHING traditions are beautiful, only if those clothes are separated from Asian women because they make the clothes look worse (or something… no I don’t understand it) 

        Now, as a white women, I find it all somewhat amusing because my girlfriends all go tanning to get darker skin, complain about their lack of ass, and use eye make-up designed to elongate the eye — myself included, though not on the tanning thing.  Basically, by telling all of us that we’re TOO something or NOT ENOUGH something else, they can keep selling us products to make us “better”. 

        • muzan-e

          Perhaps because I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t be offended. But mostly, I think, because there’s just no reason for it. I’d have understood this editorial if it’d shown up thirty years ago – or even less.  I’d have understood it a little, maybe, if they’d chosen a different title; this one’s stomach-churning. But there’s no point to this, and there’s no excuse for it, and in the back of my mind I imagine people sitting together at a table, agreeing that it’s a good idea

          I don’t like to imagine that those people even exist, you know?

          But: …by telling all of us that we’re TOO something or NOT ENOUGH something else, they can keep selling us products to make us “better”.  LOL! This is so horribly true. I tell my young daughter: makeup’s for fun. It’s something to play with, something to be colourful with, something to giggle over with your friends. Every time I say it, I hope it sticks – because you’re absolutely right, of course. And I can’t stand the idea of her growing up feeling that she’s not gorgeous without the right ratios and the right lip gloss and the right whatever-the-hell’s-popular-five-years-from-now.  It’s hard enough seeing friends do this.

          (Except for moisturisers. And ohmigawd I can’t live without lip balm and hand cream..! *g*)

          • http://twitter.com/applecocola Stacy

            Sorry, but as an Asian I have to say: 
            I would be more offended if the model had been paired with a Caucasian male, which would have smacked heavily of “big, dominating West overpowering the weak effeminate East.” However, I see an African model working it FIERCE by herself in an Oriental-THEMED editorial. I find it funny that more often it’s white people who are more offended by Orientalism than Asians — it’s like you don’t want to be reminded about what pricks you were to us in the 1800s.

            • J Dreesen

              i wish i could “Like” this post a thousand times!

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EDI2DLE7DE3YPW2ONIHBWOVHMA ecallaw

              Okay, for the sake of learning something, I’m going to reveal my complete and utter ignorance.  I’m aware of our (white people’s) atrocities against Native Americans, African-Americans, Japanese-Americans during World War II (I’m sure I can think of many more if I try), but when you refer to us being pricks to Asians in the 1800s, I don’t know what you’re talking about.  Based on our history, I’m definitely not saying it didn’t happen, but can you be more specific about what you’re referring to? I can’t imagine that I would be totally ignorant about something like that, so hopefully it will ring some bells for me.

            • Rosa Li

              I think Opium Wars?

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VIYL3EWWRXX4PFV3VRYDCM255U Stephanie F.H.

              For one specific example, the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 was originally designed to limit Chinese immigrants who were flocking to the California gold rush but affected all new immigrants and even people who were already living in the US.  Additionally, (which I wish they would show on AMC’s Hell on Wheels) a large portion of the laborers who worked on the railroads were Chinese-, Irish-, and African-Americans and immigrants who were treated brutally. 

            • Laura Valentine

              I always feel like when the opening bits of _Blazing Saddles_ make more of a comment on historical racism than actual documentaries do, the documentaries are Doing It Wrong.

            • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

              I read “railroads” and immediately started thinking of Blazing Saddles.  <3

            • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

              If it makes you feel any better, we white people didn’t really like each other anymore than you did.  White people were racist bastards because we could get by with it more easily against other races than each other.  We’re just inherently unfriendly;)

              White people tend to be more offended by EVERYTHING.  It’s the method by which us “good” white people differentiate ourselves from the bad white people of today and yesterday. 

              And to be reminded of our ancestors’ behavior, we’d have to KNOW ABOUT it first.  We don’t.  Trust me, it’s never really mentioned.  I had to once explain to a guy that my husband is Chinese and he didn’t fight them in WWII — they were on our side.  White people don’t know ANYTHING about Asian history. 

            • http://twitter.com/applecocola Stacy

              That’s true, there is a despondent ignorance of history going on nowadays.

              I suppose what I meant is that a lot of white people are now very conscious of their role as the “dominant” race, comparative to East Asians, South Asians, people of African descent, or Middle Eastern. There’s a lot of outcry against white bullying of people of other races, so even ignorant of history, a lot of white people are very careful, maybe even TOO careful of when the race card is being played for fear of being “one of THOSE bigoted white people,” except it just comes across as ludicrous to someone they’re trying to be overly politically correct towards.

              I did have one white guy say to me once, “how can you see when you’re laughing?” (since people’s eyes usually squint when laughing). That was not okay. 

            • Anonymous

              “White people don’t know ANYTHING about Asian history.”

              Dude.  AMERICANS don’t know anything about HISTORY. 

    • http://angryfemur.tumblr.com Andrea Lane

      Clothes are pretty. The styling reminds me of the Vulcans in Amok Time.

      • Anonymous

        except that no longer exists thanks to the new Star Trek movie. :/

        • Rand Ortega

          Ouch!
          Alternate universes makes it still exist. Sort of. I think. I wish I’d paid attention during Quantum Physics class.
          Wonder what this current Spock’s going to do when he reaches Pon Farr?

          • Anonymous

            hahahahahaha

            • Rand Ortega

              Or Lt. Uhura. They were hot n’ heavy in the last 1!

          • scottyf

            Pon Fart.

            • Rand Ortega

              Hee!

          • Anonymous

            Maybe Kirk or Chekov this time around.

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

          Of course it does.  It’s now a different universe.  Every existence possible has its own universe:) 

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Deborah-Jozayt/100002949685297 Deborah Jozayt

          There’s a great review by red letter media about the new Star Trek that goes into the parallel universes and whatnot. He actually has reviews for every single star trek and crappy star wars movies.

          http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-trek/star-trek-09/

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2VBWWGHZEBKTVQMXE5SO5NCU2I Mich

        love that this dicussion takes place on a fashion blog

      • Anonymous

        OMG, that would have been a MUCH BETTER title for the editorial!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1326120071 Gaby Ripoll

      Oriental styling on a black model. Well that’s odd, but I am pleased to see a non-white model at least in the spread, if in a random-ass context. 

    • Scott Lichtman

      That puce bib top with the orange palm hot pants made me throw up in my mouth a little.  And they forgot to take the pattern numbers off that first piece.

      • Anonymous

        Either our monitors are showing very different colors, or we have very different definitions of puce.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2VBWWGHZEBKTVQMXE5SO5NCU2I Mich

        that was my favorite outfit of this spread. my monitor shows it more like a dark melon color.

      • Anonymous

        I was too distracted by the shorts to register the color of the top.

    • http://profiles.google.com/singingraisin ali meowmeow

      Between the title of the set, the cherry blossoms, the hair, and the makeup, I feel like they’re just beating you over the head with it to the point you can’t even evaluate the clothes. They’re just white noise in a sea of much louder stereotypes. The clothes should be allowed to do at least some of the work to evoke whatever borderline racist stereotype… don’t put it all on the hairstyle, guys.

      This is just unbelievably lazy.

    • Anonymous

      Some of the clothing is pretty but it’s hard to see them due to the heavy handed, and unattractive, styling. A couple of those shots are awful, esp. the one with the woven purse.

    • scottyf

      Ohhhhhh. I get it….

      She’s a Geisha from the ‘Hood.

      • Sara__B

        Thanks for the laugh, Scotty.
        Now would you analyze this for me? Pretty please?

        • scottyf

          Honestly Sara__B, if you’re serious, I’m flattered but, there are people in the commentariat who have addressed this much more eloquently than I could, or care to. As I’ve said in a previous post I’m not sure why we bother to analyze this stuff in the first place–unless it’s to convince ourselves of our own Progressiveness. We know why magazines do this. I’ve been dealing with covert racism all my life–both conscious and unconscious–and as I approach my old…ehem..older age, the only thing I find these posts good for is to make myself (and hopefully others) laugh.

          It’s either that, or spend half of my life with an automatic shotgun looking for a clock tower.

          • J Dreesen

            as a native Texan who attended UT and currently lives in Austin, i find this remark offensive and….ugh, who am i kidding.  *puts gun down*

            (honestly i laughed – twice!)

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J4QGTFQCCILAE4N2SYZZRJ6SPY R LM

              Just wanted to say hi!  Hook ‘em!

            • Anonymous

              Hook ‘em.  I actually thought of an episode of Buffy before I thought of the UT incident.  I’m a bad longhorn…

          • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

            That’s exactly why.  By showing how sensitive we are to racial and ethnic differences, we show that we’ve moved beyond that sort of behavior — how seeing color when it’s offended is supposed to make us MORE colorblind, I’ve never been clear on. 

            Personally, I like my family’s method — my husband and I mock each other’s ethnic groups relentlessly, and we both giggle at it every time.  His favorite is that my people were too drunk to go fishing and so starved to death when we ran out of potatoes.  Mine is that even drunk, we could still work an alphabet… 

            It’s an odd system but it works for us.  (Sadly, those are NOWHERE NEAR the most offensive jokes and comments that are common in our house.  There really is nothing scared for us.)

    • Anonymous

      Is she supposed to be Spock’s nutty aunt or something? I covet her bags.

    • http://www.celestiae.net Isy

      So I’m looking at these pictures and imagining what it would look like if they’d juxtaposed Africa against Asia? I mean, what if they went the other way and played up traditionally African hair styles and jewellery against the Asian-inspired clothes? Fulani and Igbo hairstyle pop into my mind first, which I think would look really awesome against these clothes. And these pictures are actually really pretty.

      Like, why are these stylists, editors, and photographers so lazy? It’s possible to showcase styles from all over the world without swimming knee-deep in racist and appropriative stereotypes. It’s possible also to not use Japan and China as the only go-tos when it comes to ‘ethnic’ fashion photography. Orient Express? Really? REALLY? Awful.

      • Anonymous

        Not to mention the conflation of all East Asian styles/cultures (which obviously means only Japanese and Chinese because who’s even HEARD of anywhere else Over There? Eyeroll) into one.

        • http://www.celestiae.net Isy

          Yeah, that’s what I mean? Like I never see hanbok from S Korea, or sbai from Cambodia/Thailand or anything else. Just… Japan and China. And there’s a whole wealth of nations in Asia, so I don’t understand why a) they only pick those two and b) why East Asia alone is where they go for all their “inspiration.” It just is extremely tired to see the same pictures over and over again, when there’s so much from which to draw…

          • Anonymous

            Just try convincing anyone that the Middle East is largely part of Asia, and you’ll see a look of disbelief such as you’ve never experienced before. For that matter, most folks don’t understand that countries like Egypt and Libya are in Africa, either.

            Unfortunately, they don’t teach Geography anymore.

      • http://southernsugar.wordpress.com/ Southern Sugar

        That would have made for a much, MUCH more interesting editorial.  Why not challenge our expectations of the conventional here?  Instead, they played right into what’s been done and overdone for years.  There was potential here, but they completely squandered it by being utterly uncreative!

      • Anonymous

        I think this is a cool take on Africa meets Asia – http://www.wafrica.jp/

        • http://vhanna26.typepad.com Vera

          Beautiful.

      • Anonymous

        That would have been awesome.

    • Nicole Chubb

      What I can’t understand is why they can’t hire a damn Asian model to do something “Oriental”. I mean, duh.

      Seriously though – as an Asian woman growing up with NO mainstream Asian beauty figures, I really was hoping the tide would have turned by now, so some adorable little Asian girl didn’t have to feel unpretty for not being white and blonde, like I did (and yes – I was adorable ;). I get that this is South African Marie Claire, but I’m pretty sure they’d pull this same crap here. And her being black doesn’t help either – exotic does not equal Asian.

      • Anonymous

        As I mentioned elsewhere, there’s a sizeable Chinese minority in South Africa, too! (A minority who faced a particularly bizarre and confusing existence under apartheid, I might add.) It would not have been a huge reach.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        That makes me sad.  My little princess is half Chinese and half white, and she’s so freaking cute.  (And I don’t just think that because I’m her mommy — she really is that cute.  I assume it’s to compensate for the pure evil she radiates at times:)

        There’s always Mulan… we watch a lot of Mulan, I think because Kate identifies with her.  Beyond the obvious racial thing, there’s also the fact that Mulan’s kind of a badass, which I appreciate. 

        Though I do occasionally worry that it might send a bad message that most of the Asian men she knows are married to white women.

        • Anonymous

          Asian men married to white women?  Over here (TX) I only ever see white men with Asian women.  Guess it globally evens out the (straight) dating field?

    • Anonymous

      Cho-Cho-Wrong.

    • Terence Ng

      So all we need now is for Vogue Italia to do Black Allure photoshoot, except this time they can have one Asian model, do her up in African Garb and perm her hair, and call it “The Negro Allure”. Wait, it gets better. They can also slather her with pigment darkening make up!

      • MilaXX

        Italian Vogue has both a Black and Curvy(Plus) division.  How’s that for separate but equal?  [/sarcasm]

        • Now I am The Bee

          Which is funny because I’m sure in Italy–curvy is like a size 10! 

          • MilaXX

            last I checked the Vogue Curvy is suing actual plus size models. There are women on there that fall between sizes 12 – 16. It’s just tricky because you have AA and plus sized models being used (YAY!), but also marginalized (BOO!)

    • Anonymous

      Wow. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

    • Anonymous

      Well, South Africa is a country where if you’re not white or black, you’re “colored.”  I visited in 2004 and HOOEE did I stick out like a sore thumb (I’m Vietnamese).

      • Anonymous

        The Chinese minority under apartheid had their status changed back and forth between colored and white a couple of different times, IIRC. When South Africa started doing a lot of business with Japan, they changed them to “white” because they figured they looked basically the same as the Japanese (oy) and the Chinese took advantage of that to get their status changed. It’s really crazy shit, when you look into it.

      • Anonymous

        I was in Johannesburg just a couple of months ago and, while browsing in a museum, a troop of schoolkids walked by, stared at me, pointed and said “Look! Chinese!” (which, by the way, I’m not.)

        • Anonymous

          Seems like wherever I go in the world, I have people greeting me with “Konichiwa” even though I’m not Japanese and “Ni Hau Ma” even though I’m not Chinese.  I suppose it’s kind of encouraging that a little kid living on a remote island in Tonga would know how to say hello in Japanese.  I sometimes get konichiwa’d and ni hau ma’d in the U.S. too.

          • Anonymous

            Hahaha I get that too!!!

          • Anonymous

            While I get that too, I have to admit that I don’t even look Vietnamese so the mixup is understandable.  I’ve had Koreans speak to me in Korean, Japanese speak to me in Japanese, and Chinese speak to me in both Mandarin and Cantonese.  (I also get Vietnamese manicurists talking about me in Vietnamese, trying to figure out what I am, not realizing that I can understand them.  It’s hilarious.)  I just wish people would ask rather than assume.  It’s not like I go up to rrandom white people and try speaking to them in Swedish.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J4QGTFQCCILAE4N2SYZZRJ6SPY R LM

              “It’s not like I go up to rrandom white people and try speaking to them in Swedish.”

              HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  This was awesome.

            • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

              Oh please do.  I would find it HILARIOUS if someone did that to me (and I’m not Swedish).  And I appreciate that you don’t mind people asking, because that’s a running debate with my husband and I.  I ALWAYS ask people when I want to know, and he tells me that’s rude.  But I’m polite about it, I’m just curious!

          • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

            Wow… I live with Chinese people and know a couple (and I do mean A COUPLE) of Chinese words but I’d never use them to someone unless I knew they spoke Chinese and what dialect. 

        • Anonymous

          Yeah, I get that kind of stuff everywhere too, along with greetings in various languages I don’t speak.  When some white friends and I went to St. Lucia (where the locals are black), my friends all got greeted with “hello pretty girl!” while I got “Hello, Chinese!”  :-|  Now that I’m married to a Latino, I’ve had to train all my Latino friends to not call all Asians “Chinitos” and not to do the slanty-eye gesture (unless they want me to punch them in the face.)

          • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

            All my family is from El Salvador and I grew up in South Los Angeles, which is predominantly latino/black-black/latino depending on what particular city you are from.  So while I’m accustomed to a certain amount of small-mindedness, it drives me up the wall.  Next time you’re talking to your latino friends and don’t want them calling all Asians “chinitos,” ask them to think of how a Dominican would react to being called Puerto Rican, or how any Central or South American national would react to being called a Mexican.  That might help them empathize.I’m grateful to be a musician, which is a very international trade.  Because at least I can tell the different Asian nationalities apart based on last name, even if I can’t always tell by the way someone looks.  Funny thing though, I’m olive-toned but paaaaale and back in the day, I’d always have Taiwanese people thinking I was one of them.  Conversely, my sister is dark, and people would always confuse her for being Fililpino.

            • Anonymous

              That is actually the exact line of reasoning that my Latino friends used to train themselves to say “asiatico” instead of “chinito.”  However, I do always point out that at least Dominicans and Puerto Ricans and Mexicans (etc) all speak Spanish, albeit with different accents and some different vocabulary.  Meanwhile, almost every country in Asia speaks a totally distinct language, where we can’t understand each other’s languages at all.

    • Anonymous

      I’m conflicted. I’m glad to see a fabulous black model get some page space, but at the same time, there’s a sizable Chinese minority in South Africa. They couldn’t get an actual Asian girl to do this? And then at the same time, would that be worse somehow? I don’t know.

      Weirdly(?), I would have much less of a problem to the makeup if the clothes/setting weren’t so Orientalist. Does that make any sense?

      I don’t know. I’m lost on this one.

    • Sara__B

      South Africa, the former home of apartheid. Does that make it okay to put a black girl in Asian face? Any more than it would be okay to put a Caucasian girl in black face?  This is pretty with a big dose of awkward and inappropriate thrown in.

      • Nicole Jackson

         It’s not like they painted her a different colour here though. Really people are much too easily offended.

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

          No, the exaggeratedly winged eyeliner is pretty ridiculous though.

    • http://twitter.com/lenabena_ Elena

      Race aside, this is pretty, pretty, pretty.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-Elizabeth-Poytinger-Baumer/1516981341 Mary Elizabeth Poytinger Baume

      i dunno, I kind of love this.

    • Anonymous

      I am sorry but I think some people try too hard to be offended.  

      I mean I can see – maybe people calling this insensitive – but Racist?   
      Somehow this spread is harmful and is claiming that one of the races is inherently superior and should have power over another?

      You know you can complain about something/something without throwing out the racist label.     (other countries do view the issues differently as well,  but I know Americans who get accused of being judgmental when they react to other cultural practices – and I get more offended when women are treated as property – or slaves – in some countries, but this can get you labeled as a racist as well )

      Then again wth do I know… I tan, change the appearance of my eyes with makeup and while I am white of eastern European decent – have been frequently told (by black men and my mother – who has been mistaken for other races) that I have “a black girl’s butt” and have unusually full lips

      • http://profiles.google.com/sntierney Shannon Tierney

        I completely agree. You could argue it is cliche or even insensitive (though I disagree), but racist?  I think the juxtaposition of a traditional Japanese geisha hairstyle on a black model is interesting. And the makeup is not standard – the Asian influence is definitely there but it’s modernized. Most of the pictures are only so-so, but I actually liek the 4th picture a lot.

        Also, T&L recently featured a gorgeous spread with an Asian model in pastoral sheepherdess clothing, posed in fields with hay bales and sheep. Where were the cries of racism then?!?!?  Why is that okay but cherry blossoms are not?  POT, HAVE YOU MET KETTLE?

        • yuju ti

          “Also, T&L recently featured a gorgeous spread with an Asian model in pastoral sheepherdess clothing, posed in fields with hay bales and sheep. Where were the cries of racism then?!?!?  Why is that okay but cherry blossoms are not? ”
          I was thinking about that Korean shepherd spread when I was reading this thread!! And I have exactly the same question!

          I am Asian, or more specifically, I am Taiwanese. I don’t find these pictures raciest or insensitive at all, I don’t even understand why “racist” and “insensitive” were brought up. Some people do try too hard to be offended.

          • Anonymous

            LOVE LOVE (of course since I said it too :) – of course I love it)
            ” Some people do try too hard to be offended.”

            • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

              And some people are just racist.

            • Anonymous

              And some are bigots to all kinds of people.

        • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

          What cultures and stereotypes was the Korean model aping? Do hay bales and sheep reference a specific culture the way the hair, makeup, clothing, and title of this editorial refer to “the Orient?”

          And you didn’t say it, but to the people who did, “I think people are just trying to be offended” is both insanely self-righteous, narrow-minded, and obnoxious. It is possible in this world for people to have reactions to things that aren’t the same reactions that you have and waving your hand away at those people simply because you don’t agree is an asshole move.

          • scottyf

            And this is why you two are brothers to my Soul. Thank you.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CIPKMOXHLA5KG34HMH55OXHCVM Angel H.

            Like times a bajillion!

          • Rand Ortega

            Bless you for your blog & your wisdom.

          • http://profiles.google.com/sntierney Shannon Tierney

            I think the parallel is close enough, in that the clothing, styling, setting, and props suggest a specific facet of a culture – in one, Japanese/Asian; in the other, rural pastoral British Isle/Western Europe. In both, the juxtaposition of using a model of a different race than the “usual” race associated with the culture makes the editorial more interesting. It gives it an element of surprise.

            If anything, criticism of editorials like this may mean less use of that culture, less celebration of one aspect of its particular beauty. It is absolutely true that not all of Asian culture is Geishas, just like not all of English culture is shepherdesses. My point is that rather than condemn this spread for focusing on only one aspect, it would be interesting to see what other aspects of Asian culture would make interesting editorials. Asian culture does include that style – why is it stereotyping to acknowledge that? 

            I did not say that people are trying to be offended. That may or may not be true. But it is equally dismissive to assume that my opinion that this is not offensive must be because I am racist, intentionally or not, or narrow minded or obnoxious or insensitive or a bitch. I’m actually a rather nice person, with many friends of different races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, etc.

            I like your blog a lot, but I’m not too crazy about being called an asshole because my opinion differs from yours. Honestly, if you thought the editorial was so terrible, why even list it as a daily pretty?

            • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

              It’s time to call in the Reading Comprehension Fairy because TLo said:  And you didn’t say it, but to the people who did…

              So go back and REREAD what they posted.  

              For pity’s sake WHY do people refuse to actually read what is there?  It always surprises me that the masses don’t take the DO NOT IMMERSE OR OPERATE IN WATER warning on electronics as TAKE A BATH WITH ME AND CONFIRM DARWIN’S WORK PLEASE.

            • http://profiles.google.com/sntierney Shannon Tierney

              Because they chose to make the comment in a response to me, I inferred that I was being lumped in with “the people who did.”  I did not misread their comment.

            • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

              You absolutely misread our comment. Repeatedly. There is no vagueness in the phrase “You didn’t say it, but to the people who did…”

            • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

              There was nothing to indicate Western Europe in that editorial. Sheep and pastoral settings are something you see on pretty much every continent and nothing about the model’s clothes or styling indicated a specific culture. You are applying an interpretation that wasn’t evident in the work, unlike here, where “The Orient” is the stated goal.

              You were not called a racist or an asshole by anyone in this comments section, especially us.

              We also don’t think this editorial is terrible. We think it was interesting enough to spur on a discussion, which is why we think waving away the opinions of others is such a jerky thing to do.

            • http://profiles.google.com/sntierney Shannon Tierney

              I’m obviously not totally alone in seeing the Korean magazine spread and thinking that it was a novel, clever and delightful use of a juxtaposition of cultures. I clearly am wrong that everyone saw it that way, but I think that is is an equally valid interpretation. Now, I am fascinated to know what the editor of that spread intended with it. Any Korean-speaking readers feel like emailing them?

              My feeling in reading the discussion is that many of the comments made by people who disagree that the editorial was racist ARE being waved away. I may not have been called an asshole, but you stated that I (and/or the others to whom you referenced) were behaving like an asshole, which is tomato/tomahto to me. Perhaps I am misinterpreting (easy to do on a message board). It just seems like once someone claims something as racist, any disagreement is dismissed as “you just don’t understand.” 

              Personally, I think that photo editorials by their very nature often utilize a somewhat familiar (and usually picturesque or beautiful) scene or theme. The most valid criticisms of the use of the Orient theme is that it represents one of the few used about Japan/Eastern Asia or that the people selecting the theme are likely not of that culture (which could be applicable anytime they branch out of the “white people” cultural motifs). I’m the kind of person who usually assumes the best in people, so when I look at the photos, I see them as a celebration of a culture rather than an exploitation.

              So much anger in this discussion. It’s troubling me, so I think I will respectfully leave now.

            • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

              We have been very clear here. Our issue is not with how anyone sees this editorial; our issue is with the obnoxious idea that “people just look for ways to be offended.” We were very clear that we understood you were not one of the people who said this. We were very clear that we consider saying such a thing to an asshole move.

              In other words, you’re claiming offense at comments that were clearly not aimed at you or aimed at everyone who didn’t think the editorial was racist.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CIPKMOXHLA5KG34HMH55OXHCVM Angel H.

          So they only have sheep and bales of hay in Europe? You need to get out more.

          • http://profiles.google.com/sntierney Shannon Tierney

            You are so funny!  Seriously, if you look at that spread with the Korean model, what did you think?  Did you think, hmm, Bolivia?  Tanzania? Samoa?  You thought most likely of England, or somewhere in Western Europe. I think my argument still holds.

            • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

              Actually, I thought of Japan.  The truth of the matter is, you see hay bales and sheep and YOU think of England/Western Europe.  And that’s fine, we all reference back to what is familiar to us.  When my friend goes to the countryside in Japan, he thinks it looks just like Zacatecas, Mexico, only greener.  

              But you’re deluding yourself if you think that a pastoral editorial can only lead to the thing you are familiar with.  Sheep are not tigers, they are not specific to geography.  They’re as common as chickens.  You know, Chinese Astrology did not get Year of the Sheep from the West.

              Now, if the model in that other editorial had been squeezing a pair of bag pipes, standing next to a golf bag, and there was a sallow-faced, wheel-chair bound boy in the distance, THEN I’d think of Great Britain.  But otherwise, no.

            • http://profiles.google.com/sntierney Shannon Tierney

              That is a valid point. I haven’t been able to travel to Japan, so I was not aware that the landscape shown in the picture was similar to rural Japan. Though, if the editorial had featured a kilt-wearing bagpipist, I still don’t think it would have engendered the same criticism that this editorial did.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CIPKMOXHLA5KG34HMH55OXHCVM Angel H.

              You need your Mind Reader’s license revoked.

              Also, what Alloy Jane said.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CIPKMOXHLA5KG34HMH55OXHCVM Angel H.

        Somehow this spread is harmful and is claiming that one of the races is inherently superior and should have power over another?

        White people, please! Educate yourselves! People of Color have had to learn about racism the hard way – by living it. It’s not going to kill you to pick up a book or two.

        • Anonymous

          Rather than throw the word around – and admonishing “white people” – please explain how this is Racist. (and somehow is subjecating?)  

          Woman suffer because of bias every day and all over the country – but it does serve them to claim that every action they may not like is sexism.     Men in slightly feminine clothes , damn SEXISTs, right?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CIPKMOXHLA5KG34HMH55OXHCVM Angel H.

            Women don’t claim sexism just because they don’t like something, and POC don’t claim racism just because they don’t like something. Being a Black woman, I would get pretty damn tired of a flipping that coin: “Heads, it’s racist. Tails, it’s sexist.” A person with multiple oppressions would have to use dice!

            And if you were really commenting in good faith, you would’ve taken my advice earlier and done some research on your own. It’s isn’t my job to educate you. Seriously, all it takes is a simple Google search.

            • scottyf

              *Measures Angel H. and Soul Brothers T&Lo for robes, cause: THEY. BE. PREACHIN’!!!*

              Sophia home now, mmm hmmm, thangs gon’ change round here now……miss Sophia home…….pass me them peas….

            • Anonymous

              Thank you so much for this. Pick. Up. A. Book. 
              There are sooo many resources, yet people resist educating themselves and thinking for themselves. I guess that’s why people are so ignorant in the first place – never thought to question WHY they believe what they believe…because their opinions are provided to them, not hard-earned. 

            • Anonymous

              “It’s isn’t my job to educate you.”  I’d say ditto – but honestly that is an arrogant statement and I am secure enough in my own intelligence and empathy to not need to be arrogant..

              And if we were to pull out the yard stick like the boys – I’d put the level of bigotry I and several acquaintances have suffered up against most others.  And just because some one belongs to a group that has suffered bigotry does not automatically mean the every person in one group has suffered more than another individual in another group.  

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CIPKMOXHLA5KG34HMH55OXHCVM Angel H.

              “It’s isn’t my job to educate you.”  I’d say ditto – but honestly that is an arrogant statement and I am secure enough in my own intelligence and empathy to not need to be arrogant..

              You’re the one who expected me to play Nice Lil’ Negro and teach you about racism, remember: “please explain how this is Racist”. How’s that for arrogance?

              And if we were to pull out the yard stick like the boys – I’d put the level of bigotry I and several acquaintances have suffered up against most others.  And just because some one belongs to a group that has suffered bigotry does not automatically mean the every person in one group has suffered more than another individual in another group.

              You’re the only person that’s saying this. If you done your homework like I’d asked, you would have known about intersecting oppressions. All POC are oppressed as racial minorities, but not all POC are oppressed the same. Class, gender identity, sexuality, age, and able-bodiedness all factor into it.

              I’m not going over Racism 101 with you. As Fauxhawk already said: “Pick. Up. A. Book.”

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        “Somehow this spread is harmful and is claiming that one of the races is inherently superior and should have power over another?”

        That is an extraordinarily narrowly defined racism (so narrow, that it’s not really the definition of racism at all) and one that conveniently allows you to dismiss all other forms of it. Racism is the belief or representation that everyone within a racial category shares similar traits, i.e., reducing all Asian cultures down to kimonos, geisha hair, and “slanty-eyed” makeup and calling it “The Orient.” Racism does not simply mean one race should have power over another.

        • scottyf

          It’s ironic though, because most of my teaching and experience usually does bring it all back to power–either covert or overt, personal or societal. Folks don’t realize that blithely brushing off someone else’s point of view (especially when it is a person of a different race with a different interpretation of an action or event), is an  unconscious attempt to see their own as a superior thought (i.e. “I’m smarter than you because I think this way.”). The need to impose and exert influence, often in unconscious superiority based on privilege is systemic. It brings me back to the harsh reality that we have a ways to go to achieve true cultural and racial competence.

          • Anonymous

            “usually does bring it all back to power–either covert or overt,
            personal or societal.” 

            Exactly Scotty.

            • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

              I think his point went right over your head.

            • scottyf

              And I like the air up there, so let’s just keep it that way. :-)

        • Anonymous

          actually I am sorry to disagree I looked up several definitions of racism   – drawing a parallel….

          Woman suffer because of bias every day and all over the country – but it
          does serve them to claim that every action they may not like is
          sexism.     Men in slightly feminine clothes , damn SEXISTs, right?

          non “far eastern” (meaning of Orient)  people in “far eastern” inspired clothing/setting – racist?
          But non women in feminine inspired clothing – SEXIST – should we all be “offended” when a man does it?

          • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

            Well, your parallels are about as shitty as your understanding of the definition.

            What you don’t seem to get (among many, many other things) is that she’s not wearing “far eastern-inspired” clothing and that’s not what anyone’s objecting to. It’s that she was done up in a cartoon version of a range of Asian hairstyles and makeup.

            • Anonymous

              Look I respect your right your opinion but demeaning MY right to my (and apparently many others) opinions is more than a tad arrogant.  

              So if we (including Asians and Blacks and women etc) don’t agree with you you have to be insulting.    I’ll be slammed if I call than misogynist but according to “one of the many definitions” of misogyny  that kind of demeaning comment “among many many other things” could qualify. 

              You can disagree with someone with out being insulting – that   is not a very mature way to disagree,

              Actually that is a legit parallel.   

            • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

              Typical.

              Absolutely no one has “demeaned” your right to have an opinion.

              And any talk of insults coming from the person who has repeatedly characterized the opinions of others as “looking to be offended” is laughably null and void.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CIPKMOXHLA5KG34HMH55OXHCVM Angel H.

              I wondered when you’d pull a #11:

              http://resistracism.wordpress.com/we-heard-it-before/

            • Anonymous

              Reading this blog over time, esp the Mad Men posts, I would never call TLo misogynist.  It’s actually an extremely refreshing blog to see men articulately cite examples of sexism where it appears.  

              We are all free to disagree, but that particular charge wouldn’t stick to these guys.

            • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

              And it was done in a way that serves ABSOLUTELY NO ONE. 

              I can’t buy a damn Mandarin dress in Chinatown to wear for a function because my glow in the dark ass looks stupid in it while standing next to my Asian husband.  I got reprimanded because my eyeliner winged at a Chinese banquet, regardless of the fact that I ALWAYS wear my eyeliner that way (I like the mod look of it). 

              Neither of those things is a racist act.  But because editorials like this one put anything even mildly Asian inspired into that “Oriental” cartoon box, it appears that way.  Why does EVERYTHING in this editorial reference “the Orient” other than the model’s skin color?  THAT’S the offensive part — the implication that it’s only good enough to be featured as an “ethnic” thing, rather than as interesting fashion. 

            • Anonymous

              I got rid of my Mandarin shirts for the same reason (except the husband part) and it pisses me off that I had to.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        My oldest is half Asian and half European.  If he’s out with just me, I get asked all the time (and have since he was a baby) if he’s half Latino.

    • MilaXX

      This is really pretty. Unfortunately too often doing something different means cliche as in Cherry Blossoms for and Asian look o “Exotic” for African American or Latinos. They tried to switch it up by using a Black model this time. Thankfully for me pretty wins out this time.

    • Anonymous

      Boy could we spend a few pages deconstructing this hot mess of an editorial.  Who decides what the topic for the editorial will be? The photographer? The stylist? The editor her/him self? Not only is this concept so completely overdone as someone said above, but there’s been enough literature about orientalizing that one would think the decision not to do it would be self evident.  Now, doing an orientalizing piece in Asia might be interesting.

      Clothes are pretty though

    • Michael Jo

      “orient” what are we, back in the colonization period?

    • Anonymous

      Interesting–is this the equivalent of blackface?

      • Anonymous

        Equivalent? No. Offensive and racist? Yes.

    • Helen C

      SAME FACE EVERY PICTURE

    • Anonymous

      Very pretty clothes. But…cherry blossoms? Trite. 

    • Now I am The Bee

      Oh yuck.  I couldn’t even look at all the shots–the model is so dristracting.  Her hair and make-up are just awful.  Plus–she has the exact same expression in every shot and I really want to tell her to close her mouth!  Although I blame this on the editor choosing the pics.  Apparently, neither has ever watched ANTM!  

    • Anonymous

      why does she look so angry? maybe if she didn’t look as…mad, and the title wasn’t “orient express”, and the pictures were more tasteful rather than caricaturish, this wouldn’t be so off.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZBFH32YG44LIIZYLSQPMBXMYCU Sarah

      Dude, that model is a one-note. She seems to think that looking down and to the side makes for more of an asiatic look. Makes for a condescending look, more like. And also, I mostly think the clothes are hiddy, and kind of hard to see in the photos. Excepting those badass curly heels, that is…

    • Heather Kobayashi

      I long for the days when Asian =/= Japanese/Chinese =/= freaking Geisha girl.  I can’t even with that hair. It just feels like they’re checking off the same old elements: wrap, kimono sleeves, mandarin collar.  If you must dip into the exoticism well, I think it would be much more interesting to use Japanese street fashion or something modern.  

      Also I’m glad someone further up the comment tree brought up the “Born This Way” lyric, because I will never forgive Lady Gaga for that mess of a song.

    • Anonymous

      “Well it’s not racist if we use a black model – the two cancel each other out…right?”

      I bet that’s how the conversation went in the creative offices.

      In any case, perhaps I’m a bit biased – being of color, gay and a lover of Japanese culture – but I actually like it.  It would be tired if they used a skinny blond white model *wink wink* but I do like the juxaposition. Also, take in consideration it’s the South African Marie Claire, so it could be perceived as equally offensive for different reasons.

      I like it because it takes a cliched editorial and breathes new life into it.  Then again, I’m not Asian so it’s understandable if it’s offensive from that perspective.

      Fashion is arbitrary – what’s editorially hot and borderline offensive today is old hat tomorrow.

    • Anonymous

      Ugh. Speaking as someone who belongs to one of the exotic other races, I feel neither Exotic nor Other. I wish we could move beyond the Eurocentric or US-centric or white-centric default view of the world.

      I’m even annoyed by the way the term “Asian” is often used. It’s the world’s largest and most diverse continent, for pete’s sake. I hate it when people use the term “Asian” without bothering to go into more detail. On every damn reality show for instance. An Asian twist on X dish or an Asian-inspired dress design, blah blah blah. Why don’t you be more fucking specific?  Do these people even know what they’re talking about? And it all too often refers to some “Oriental” (i.e. East Asian) stuff anyway. And God, Orientalism by its very name is offensive. How very colonial.

      If nothing else the stylist and the fashion editor are just showing their lazy, limited, ignorant asses with this photoshoot. UGH.

    • http://orangtunes.blogspot.com BIG MAC

      This is a bad model. She doesn’t do the clothes justice. I actually think a different model( hair and make up too) would have taken this from Cliche to gorgeous. 

    • Anonymous

      Oh, my God, I seriously covet some of those clothes.

    • Anonymous

      I need that wicker purse.

      I’ve always wanted to be Sophia Petrillo.

    • Anonymous

      I’m a photographer and my first reaction was: LAZY MARIE CLAIRE PHOTOGRAPHER. The photographs aren’t even very good.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1355527007 Rain Jezek

      I think that the makeup is what takes it into racially insensitive territory. Inspired fashion and hair is one thing, but using makeup that hasn’t been around since the 50′s to make a non-Asian look Asian is really offensive. Geisha-inspired makeup would have looked interesting, but this isn’t geisha-inspired. The exaggerated lines around the eyebrows and eyes within a different context (such as glam rock) wouldn’t seem insensitive, but in this context it is because it’s deliberately chosen to essentially draw an Asian face on top of hers. Mentally combine any other two races and see if it isn’t offensive. Thought I doubt that this was their intent, I can easily see how someone might find this racist.

    • Anonymous

      i agree w/ a lot of whats said below, from the not particularly well taken photographs to the editorial offices thinking that theyre really jumping wide of that everlovin envelope by sticking the conventional, if puerile, fashion clichés of one underrepresented race atop a model of another often underrepresented race. the canceling out effect, yeah, or something. or maybe what i think of as the hail to the V effect where stereotypy is overplayed to an extent the producers probably find charming & i & a lot of the other recipients of their unwanted commercial intrusions into western life find noxious.

      i like the comma heels, however.

    • http://twitter.com/applecocola Stacy

      I give credit for employing a model of African descent to model in an Oriental-themed editorial, that’s definitely a fresh approach. As an Asian myself, I don’t really see this editorial as being racist, although it certainly plays to certain Oriental stereotypes, but can’t we see it as an homage to a culture that used to be viewed as exotic and mysterious and sensual? While it’s true that Asians were exploited during that age, but that shouldn’t detract from the beauty and sensuality that so characterized Asian culture during that age. 

      I would be more offended if the model had been paired with a Caucasian male, which would have smacked heavily of “big, dominating West overpowering the weak effeminate East.” However, I see an African model working it FIERCE by herself in an Oriental-THEMED editorial. I find it funny that more often it’s white people who are more offended by Orientalism than Asians — it’s like you don’t want to be reminded about what pricks you were to us in the 1800s.

    • Anonymous

      black model in “oriental” clothes… i can se how that could work. for me, its the “asian” eye make-up that takes this over the line into racist-ish territorry.

      racial issues aside, i just dont think this editorial is all that pretty or interesting.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        And the setting.  Really?  You need an “Asian” setting with the “Asian” hair and the “Asian” make-up, just because the clothes are from Asia?!?

    • Anonymous

      The clothes are gorgeous. The model is less than effective because the makeup is extremely harsh, the hairstyle is almost a caricature, and her expression is so completely “trying to be fierce and failing” and boringly the same in every shot; which brings us to the photography, for which the backgrounds look photoshopped in, rather than a natural setting. Cherry blossoms are so naturally beautiful that I don’t find them to be a stereotype, but a classic element. I generally like bokeh and unusual shadows, but because the model looks dropped into the shots, it creates a lack of depth here that combined with the other elements, leaves me rather unmoved. But…the clothes are still gorgeous.

    • http://twitter.com/anacedillo Ana Cedillo

      can someone explain to me how this is racist? i am not saying its not, i just don’t get it. i was
      fortunate to grow up in a rather un-racist environment so sometimes i dont get it.

    • Lauren Maier

      The “Oriental” theme just isn’t necessary.  She’s a beautiful model, so why not style her in a more natural way in a setting more -sorry, for lack of a better word- “native” to South Africa, and let her make the clothes sing?  Racist?  Yeah, okay.  But for me it’s simply unnecessary.  

    • Anonymous

      Meh. Clothes that could have been styled in a variety of settings. I mean the 5th picture, the one with the cardigan… someone just threw in that purse and hat that look like theater props to make it fit. In all, the vibe is off.     

    • spooki C

      Meh, the clothes are ok but DAYUUUM those shoes are fug. The heel looks like it’s going to snap any second now and how could you even walk in them, they’re held on by a couple of pieces of twine FFS!

      I’m not even going to touch the un-PCness of the use of “Orient”.

    • Anonymous

      The thing that bothers me most about this editorial is that there is no suspension of disbelief. (Can you use that phrase with fashion editorials?) I think the model is stunning, but she seems hesitant and unsure of herself here. When I look at this, I see a depressed young girl who’s been playing with her mother’s make-up, afraid she’s going to get caught.  PS I don’t understand the prior comments comparing these photos to the Korean editorial of the shepherdess that TLo featured a few weeks ago. That was a photo shoot of a Korean model in Korea. They weren’t trying to make her look like she belonged to another race.

    • Anonymous

      The whole idea is just stupid, to be honest.  Definitely borderline racist, but even more annoying is the fly-catching mouth pose.  What is it with models and their mouths hanging open like their IQ has just dropped 100 points?

    • Rebecca Johnson

      I really like the blazer in the second picture from the bottom.

    • Katie Abell

      As far as I’m concerned, “Orient Express” would only make a good editorial if it was preceded by “Murder On”, mostly because I want to see a high-fashion, fierce Hercule Peirot.

    • http://twitter.com/leslielies Leslie S

      it looks like the model is having digestive issues in most of the photos. how unfortunate. 

    • Anonymous

      I guess it’s late to join in on this, but hasn’t anybody noticed the bizarre text introducing this editorial? “Journey into our geisha-inspired world of kaftans and kimonos…” Kaftans and kimonos? Not to mention that as far as I can tell, there aren’t any kaftans among the garments.

    • Anonymous

      Meh. Her face never moves and it is BOTHERING ME.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.e.zhang Eric Zhang

      Kaftans are “geisha-inspired” now?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J4QGTFQCCILAE4N2SYZZRJ6SPY R LM

      At least they used a black girl.  (?!&*%&#*%(#&)  Sigh.

    • Jessica O’Connell

      i’m on the side of borderline racist… not a fan…

    • http://cheekypinky.wordpress.com/ Rebecca

      *feh*

      Would we call it racist if she were wearing a giant pompadour a la Marie Antoinette?

      It’s more of an homage, in my mind.

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        “Would we call it racist if she were wearing a giant pompadour a la Marie Antoinette?”

        Oh, absolutely, given the centuries of abuse and dehumanization French monarchs were subjected to by non-Europeans.

        • http://cheekypinky.wordpress.com/ Rebecca

          Hey, TLo–Sorry, my comment was a bit simplistic.

          One of the issues that concerns me about calling this editorial racist is that I believe it limits artistic expression and appreciation of other cultures. I do not feel that the photos are mocking Japanese culture (except for the unfortunate use of “Orient”, which has racist overtones)–they are pretty, colorful, and the model doesn’t look any weirder than most models do in editorials.

          It doesn’t look like a caricature, in other words.

          I just don’t think that borrowing costumes and styles and color from another culture is such a bad thing–not acknowledging the history or the origin of said borrowing is, of course–but there is so much richness in being able to share our histories and traditions globally.

          That’s all I was trying to say.

          And it came out flippantly.

          I am sorry I didn’t put more thought into my original comment, TLo and everyone else–I should have.  :(

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3NBI6646QJBKNCFEZNCHXUCBGE thatgirl

      This is… racist? Because she has makeup and hair that one associates with a particular region? I thought racism was hating or fearing or treating someone differently because of their origin. This editorial, while not the most stunning thing I’ve ever seen, doesn’t remotely fit the definition. It’s a shame how often we use such an ugly word when the situation doesn’t warrent it. If the model were pulling at her eyes to try and mimic/make fun of people from Asia, that would be an entirely different sto Since that’s not racism, I’m calling not-racism.

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        “I thought racism was hating or fearing or treating someone differently because of their origin.”

        It is, but that’s not the only definition of it.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        Her make-up is basically doing the same thing without tying up her hands — that eye make-up in that context is frigging ridiculous.

    • Anonymous

      The clothes are fabulous.  I personally would have found it refreshing to see geisha-inspired clothing NOT styled like a geisha.

      Let’s put it this way…even PR would ding this styling as “too literal.”  Why not try something fresh?/

    • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

      I have to share my husband’s comment when I made him look at the editorial.  (I had to tell him that he was supposed to be commenting on racial elements):

      “I don’t find it racist or offensive . . . I mean beyond the fact that it’s just terribly fucking ugly and it makes my eyes bleed.”

      I love his reactions to this kind of thing.

    • http://profiles.google.com/maknight Megan Knight

      I think it’s meant to evoke  Tretchikoff (http://www.vladimirtretchikoff.com), an artist who would be known to the arterati in South Africa, if not to the entire population. I’m not sure if this mitigates or exacerbates the offense, but it is an extra data point.

    • Anonymous

      The clothes are boring and the model has the same expression on almost all photographs. Snooze city.

      If she had worn cowboy boots, would this be an “occidental” editorial? Just askin’.

    • Anonymous

      Wow, I’ve really enjoyed reading these comments, and remain particularly impressed by Scottyf’s (as usual), Shannon Stewart’s, and TLo’s responses. And while my personal reaction was pretty similar to that of Shannon Stewart’s husband, I love that TLo aren’t afraid to claw at their own bitter kittens.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=583505025 Kelley Comfort

      I don’t consider it racist as much as poor taste. If they put those pictures in Marie Claire Japan, people here would just raise their eyebrows and say, “WTF?” or laugh at foolish western people who have no clue what their doing. BTW, that hairstyle (when done properly, not three horrid beehives like that editorial) isn’t limited to Geisha. It’s also worn by regular people at weddings or some special occasions when kimono are called for. Even kids wear it.

    • Anonymous

      I hate the hair. I think that was a poor choice. I can’t really decide on the racism thing… in some of the shots, I think the makeup looks really pretty, but in others it’s just ridiculous.

    • http://twitter.com/SparklyCasanova UglyCasanova

      Heh.  I was in Hoboken in a Japanese restaurant (owner Madame is Chinese) and we were greeted with a waitress, clearly Latina, with her eyes pulled and she spoke in broken English with an accent as if she’s Asian.  Seriously, WTF?  

      By the way, we didn’t stay, we walked right out.  

    • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

      OH MY GOD.  I choked, then I coughed and proceeded laughing.

    • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Holy crap, I don’t know if you intended that to be funny but it was.  

      All my family is from El Salvador and I grew up in South Los Angeles, which is predominantly latino/black-black/latino depending on what particular city you are from.  So while I’m accustomed to a certain amount of small-mindedness, it drives me up the wall.  Next time you’re talking to your latino friends and don’t want them calling all Asians “chinitos,” ask them to think of how a Dominican would react to being called Puerto Rican, or how any Central or South American national would react to being called a Mexican.  That might help them empathize.
      I’m grateful to be a musician, which is a very international trade.  Because at least I can tell the different Asian nationalities apart based on last name, even if I can’t always tell by the way someone looks.  Funny thing though, I’m olive-toned but paaaaale and back in the day, I’d always have Taiwanese people thinking I was one of them.  Conversely, my sister is dark, and people would always confuse her for being Fililpino.

    • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

      Actually, I thought of Japan.  The truth of the matter is, you see hay bales and sheep and YOU think of England/Western Europe.  And that’s fine, we all reference back to what is familiar to us.  When my friend goes to the countryside in Japan, he thinks it looks just like Zacatecas, Mexico, only greener.  

      But you’re deluding yourself if you think that a pastoral editorial can only lead to the thing you are familiar with.  Sheep are not tigers, they are not specific to geography.  They’re as common as chickens.  You know, Chinese Astrology did not get Year of the Sheep from the West.

      Now, if the model in that other editorial had been squeezing a pair of bag pipes, standing next to a golf bag, and there was a sallow-faced, wheel-chair bound boy in the distance, THEN I’d think of Great Britain.  But otherwise, no.  

    • http://twitter.com/dollsaga Dollsaga

      It remindes me of  Ayako Jones™ Barbie® Doll designed by Byron Lars –A black doll designed by a Black designer, wearing oriental costumes. here is a picture: http://www.barbiecollector.com/files/imagecache/product_detail_main/products/main/N6614.png

    • Anonymous

      I do think there’s a spot of interest in the contrasts between the two sterotypical photoshoots that this shoot is referencing. On the one hand, you can picture the stereotypical “oriental” photoshoot complete with cherry blossoms and “geisha” makeup, and the model would inevitably be an asian woman to complete it. And she would be demure, unaggressive, and fragile looking. On the other hand, we have the quintessential “many black models wearing jungle prints and looking fierce” photoshoot that we’ve all seen before (you can even find examples reviewed on this site).

      Both racist stereotypes, but of contrasting natures and attitudes. By combining them here, I see a statement on the roles we cast women in based on their race, and the intersection of gender and race.

      The stereotypes exist. They are present in our global popular culture. And here they are being examined in a way. The question is, I guess, whether its a revealing statement on racist stereotypes due to the contrasts and paradoxes present when viewed in the context of our racist society, or whether it’s actually just a recombination of racist tropes for a white audience looking for something new that maintains the status quo.

      I think it’s the latter.

    • Anonymous

      The model looks to be in pain in several of these pictures. Headache, stomach pains, get this girl some aspirin and a cold compress.

    • Cathy S

      Seriously? That’s horrible.

    • http://profiles.google.com/emily.w.sings Emily Wilkerson

      Of course this spread is titled “The Orient Express.” The copy writers for fashion magazines seriously need to get some new references.

    • Anonymous

      why cant the model close her damn mouth?

    • Anonymous

      Love the clothes.  Hate the hair.

    • Milla Chee

      I am a chinese and living in south east asia. I don’t find this offensive at all. I find people who are not asian who get offended by these photos quite funny actually. The way I see it, they brought two races together and formed it as one. And that’s what the rest of the world should be doing….coming as one and not be seperated by race, colour and religion. I think it’s beautiful.

    • Anonymous

      I wonder if any of the designers of the clothes featured here are totally pissed?  ‘Cause a lot of the clothes are really cute and wearable, but RUINED by the hair, makeup and title of the feature.