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How Not To Be Offensive At The AMAs – MMXLII

How Not To Be Offensive At The AMAs


Ladies and gentlemen, Katy Perry brings back orientalism, and the crowd goes wild!

Before you shout that liberal scumbags are ruining this country with political correctness when Ms. Perry is just trying to enjoy another culture, take note: This isn’t even a very accurate representation of a geisha performance. Her dress is a haphazard mash-up of a traditional Japanese kimono and a Chinese qipao, and it’s the latter’s influence that accounts for the thigh-high slits and knot button at the neck. Nor, are we aware of any traditional kimono that features such a prominent, conveniently placed chest cutout. So, that “culture” she is paying homage to with her costume for a song that has nothing to do with anything Japanese? It’s just “oriental,” because, as we all know, Asia is one big, exotic place that is not made up of many entirely different groups (word up to our Edward Said readers, here).

Another question we would ask is this: Why? Why was this necessary? What did it add to Perry’s performance? There is zero connection between the subject matter of the song and her costume. The only possible logic here is the deeply flawed argument that geishas love their clients unconditionally. That doesn’t make sense for two reasons: One is that geishas are not necessarily prostitutes, something that has long been misunderstood by Westerners (you can read all about it on Wikipedia, naturally). The other is that even if they were prostitutes, they would be loving their clients on the condition that they are paid to do so.

There will be many arguments made about why this is or is not offensive. We personally find it lazy, unnecessary, and entirely dated. You’re not required to agree; though, we do hope you will seriously consider the issue at hand and the problematic manner in which Perry’s performance uses an ill-formed, WWII-era idea of “the East” as a prop — much like Miley Cyrus employed twerking and black backup dancers for her lambasted VMAs show.

However, if we are going to talk about potentially offensive happenings at the AMAs, we will humbly argue that this is the focal point for that discussion, not Gaga’s kinda-sorta-JFK reference.


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