…and looking at the pictures in the article linked below makes me cringe because this is all plain tasteless (just those garish colours are sin enough), and yet I kinda wonder if it’s a bit of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”:
This is the article about Ms Perry and her “cultural appropriation”.
Now look. First of all, I personally don’t see the difference between dressing up the silly way Ms Perry does and generally “appropriating” a musical subculture like rap/hip-hop, reggae, contemporary “r’n’b” (the whole “urban” thing coming out of the USA) – all those mainstream fashion trends plus the very act of performing this sort of music. I mean, maybe it’s just Russia, but every young dude (my age and younger) claiming to be a “musician” turns out to be a “rapper”. And a scary number of girls listen to what those “musicians” produce and dress up in skimpy glitz and bling, wearing those false fingernails and hair/lash extensions.
And we’re predominantly white and secondarily Asian in Russia (just think of the Yakuts, the Buryats, Kazakh immigrants…). There are ethnically black people here, but not many. Not every one of those is a “rapper” even.
// funny how watermelons are a national summer snack here in Russia, regardless of ethnicity //
I don’t know what the mainstream youth culture is like elsewhere but in Russia – but given the fact that all those minajes and rihannas sell millions of records worldwide, I don’t think our modest music market could account for those.
So this US-exported “urban” thing is eating at the local national cultures.
Next. I can understand why – theoretically – this black dude who wrote the article is getting all so offended. I get miiiiiighty offended whenever there is a freaking “Russian” character in a foreign movie. I don’t even know where to begin pointing out stereotypes and glaring mistakes (“nazdorovye”, anyone? Snow in July in freaking Moscow, anyone? Okay, technically it did snow a little this year in June, but it’s been the coldest late spring in decades + that snow didn’t pile around to be fit for skiing on, y’know). I even honestly feel like physically fighting those non-ex-USSR 3D content providers who release generic characters marketed as “Russian beauties” – with nothing Russian about them.
But why aren’t there any ethnic Russian Americans blogging about it all? Hey there is even a word that could work instead of “racism” – “Russophobia”!
Are these the same bloggers who complain that SF/fantasy written (for books, movies or games) by white people has too few people of colour?
But how can we whites write ethnic characters who are ethnic enough not to be a “cosmetically altered white” – yet manage to refrain from as much as unknowingly hinting at any possible stereotypes?
My answer to that is the same as to the accusation that metal is a “whitist” genre:
Why don’t you, dear non-white critic, contribute to the genre with your insider experience and create some awesome SF/F/metal/whatever that could cement and expand the influence of your ethnicity?
It’s not like it’s never been done.
I don’t believe that a writer or a musician can be fully authentic if they are consciously trying (striving!) to be “politically correct”.
Of course, a mainstream “star” who barely (if ever) writes their own lyrics cannot ever be authentic – by definition. “Manufactured” and “authentic” are antonyms, after all. I wish this sort of shameless corporate showbiz thing would just stop. Regardless of ethnicity or whatever.
…yes. You want “female power fantasy” instead of “male sexual fantasy” for your female characters – roll your own and promote your work. Become a female power fantasy yourself. Just yapping at others and effectively doing nothing else won’t change the world.