Sunday, August 4, 2013

Asian Girlz

All right, I figured I'd have to blog about this at some point or another because people keep asking me about it. It's terrible and has a lot of people, both Asian-American and others, rightly pissed the hell off.

So basically this group called Day Above Ground thought it would be a great idea to make a song--nay, a tribute--to Asian women, titled "Asian Girlz," in which the band would lovingly list all the wonderful things they love about Asian women in a touching celebration of the Asian female . . . 

Okay, okay, that already sounds kind of creepy and misguided, am I right? Well, it turns out that the reality was actually A LOT worse. I've been reading Angry Asian Man for many years now, so when I see something posted in which Phil Yu refers to something as "pretty much the worst thing ever made," I feel like I need to check it out. Call it morbid curiosity. 

There's a link to the video in the article but Yu also takes the time to write down the lyrics so you can see just how disgusting and derogatory they are. For those of you who don't like reading additional things, here's a link to the actual video. 

So yes, it's pretty damned heinous that this exists. Not surprisingly, it garnered all manner of negative reactions from both the Asian-American community and others. Such as this intermittently hilarious and vehement rant by Korean-American comedian and Internet personality David So . . .

And this hilarious mock interview with Levy Tran (the woman in the music video) as imagined and portrayed by Kristina Wong (remember? I talked about her article in the Asian fetish posts) . . . 

So there you have it: pretty concise and creative criticisms on what is inherently wrong with Day Above Ground's debut single "Asian Girlz." And of course I would like to add my two cents to the matter because I've been doing a fair bit of thinking on this issue myself.

When I first discovered this travesty on Angry Asian Man, Yu had written that he could not bring himself to sit there and watch the entire video. I decided to see if I could, and like him I found myself unable. I would REALLY like to know the thought processes of all involved in the making this song and video. I feel as if these Day Above Ground chaps were trying to be . . . funny? edgy? racy (no poorly conceived pun intended)? all of the above? Here's how I figured it went down . . . 

Front Man: "You know how like some white dudes have Asian fetishes and stuff? Wouldn't that be like hilarious if we like made an Asian fetish anthem!?" 

Bandmate: "Dude, that's hilarious! We could like objectify Asian woman and say a bunch of racist stuff but like, it wouldn't be racist 'cause like our bassist is Asian and like my buddy knows Levy Tran and she's totes Asian and could totes be in our video and stuff, making it like ironic or whatever!"

Front Man and Bandmate together: "DUDE!" 

Guess what, fools, racism isn't funny. Oh, and while we're here, neither is sexism. Therefore I'm left to assume that these guys are either woefully ignorant of history and culture, stupid, or actually extremely racist and sexist. Here's the problem with all this: North American women, especially North American women who belong to "visible ethnic minorities," have been and continue to be indiscriminately objectified, hypersexualized, fetishized and stereotyped on a regular basis, by their fellow countrymen as well as their own country's mass media outlets, which SHOULD KNOW BETTER. Issues surrounding race and racism in North America are still touchy subjects and will likely continue to be as long as people continue to judge people and stereotype them based on their ethnicity.

I have to say I'm generally pretty optimistic about the whole race issue in North America. I know there is still a lot of racism and we still have a long way to go, but we have made and continue to make great strides. I like it when the discourse gets moved forward to less superficial and overt forms of racism and attempts to tackle issues such as systemic or institutionalized racism, or the racism that exists in the film and music industry that many of us consume every day without question. Sadly, though, it seems to me that whenever we get to that point, some idiot or idiots do something stupid and push the whole discourse back a decade or two. Many commentators have argued that "Asian Girlz" has set back Asian women 50 years, and while this may very well be the case, I feel that it has also set humanity at large back about the same amount of time. I could be overreacting but I doubt it. To all those responsible for "Asian Girlz." do us all a favour and smarten the hell up.

Afterthought: This was their DEBUT SINGLE!!!??? STOP THEM NOW! 

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