Who would have thought that someone had dedicated 10 + years of their research on Hello Kitty. At first I was a bit spectacle, then intrigued and then dumbstruck that Christine R. Yano had found larger issues and ideas that can be observed through Hello Kitty. I definitely have taken Hello Kitty for granted because Yano takes note of things about Hello Kitty that I never thought of before. For instance, why is hello kitty a global icon, how has hello kitty last so long in mainstream trends, how is the representation (or invisible representation) of Japan and Asian/Americans in general conveyed in Hello Kitty. I found Christine R. Yano’s Pink Globalization extremely interesting because of all of these thought provoking questions I never knew I needed answered to understand a part of my life of the past and how it connects to my childhood and growing up as an Asian American.
It blew me away to read about Sanrio’s marketing plan in attracting a variety of ages to its brand and how it is actually quite brilliant. I was obsessed with Hello Kitty. Every time I went to the mall, I would make it routine to walk into the store and buy at least one thing. When I had possession of any Sanrio items whether it was self-bought or a gift, I actually never really brought myself to use them. Most of the time I would showcase them or put them in a drawer for self keeping. Even today, I catch myself walking into the store to look around the store at the very least, but I refrain from buying anything because I trained myself not to buy anything that would become clutter. Just being in the store is enough, I guess it feeds off of how Yano was saying that Hello Kitty is a global icon and so has also become a childhood memory. I can personally say that I get excited when I see my baby cousins get Hello Kitty themed anything.
Another though provoking thing about Hello Kitty is how in the US, hello kitty embodies cuteness, but Yano finds a way to unpack how hello kitty suggests sexual innuendos especially towards its adult consumers. Anyway, I think what Yano inferred about the color of pink and its connection to the gender roles society had put women in, was also interesting. She talks about submissive females putting themselves in a subjugated position fulfilling such gender roles when they blush because blushing signifies weakness and powerlessness. Yano ultimately depicts the issues of powerlessness held in Hello Kitty’s signature color.
I thought Yano was able to add some interesting perspective on an icon I never thought twice of why HK is everywhere and was able to uphold it’s popularity, a phase that is still growing strong for young girls and older women.
The Fung brothers are an Asian-American duos, specifically of Chinese descent, composed of rappers and comedians, Andrew Fung and David Fung. They are located in Alhambra, California but originate from Seattle, Washington. They are extremely popular on Youtube for their comedic and entertaining videos regarding Asian-American subjects. What I found most compelling about their work is the amount of collaborating they do with other Asian-American individuals. It adds this greater level of exposure and diversity in their videos. It also rapidly expands their audience base. They have done some notable collaborations with people such as professional Asian-American basketball player, Jeremy Lin. They are also in a rap group titled “Model Minority,” with Jason Chu, which has even been reviewed in a positive light by the Los Angeles Time. Therefore, they do great work at addressing and deconstructing the issues that the Asian-American population has to deal with in a really fun, engaging, and clearly successful manner.
While they have an extensive amount of youtube videos addressing a variety of issues, some of my favorite ones are “18 types of asian girls” and “east coast asian vs. west coast asian.” I find these videos most exciting because, not only did they incorporate the collaboration aspect with some other fantastic asian-american individuals, but they also highlighted this idea of diversity among a population of people that is so very often grouped as one.
We see that in the 18 types of asian girls, there are so many types that the fung bros describe, along with their subgroups. What’s notable is that even though all these are described, they bring about the main idea that there are so many different presented types that you cannot just pigeonhole a race or ethnicity into one way of being. The East Coast vs. West Coast Asian does that as well, with both genders. I also really appreciate that they will touch upon little historical backgrounds or fun educational facts.
While not entirely unrecognized, the Fung Bros definitely deserves acknowledgment, as well as further recognition and publicity. Keep up the good work!
Below are the links to the discussed videos:
Do you like Reddit? I love Reddit, it’s one of the places on the internet where you can just log on, learn a bunch of random things and see people bicker and argue about things that essentially don’t matter. You get to see talk about wholesome topics such as Religion! Or argue about which Star Wars film was the absolute best. Maybe you want to learn about some substance that your roommates were talking about and the safety and security issues surrounding it? Either way, its all in good fun and good things happen, mostly.
Watching the film on asian american and pornography in class really made me think about what a lack of strong and confident asian men there are in the porn industry. I mean, evidently it has been a lot more than just a lack of strong and confident asian men in the porn industry, as we have seen this pattern in all areas of entertainment and pop culture. But the little trailer created by the Asian professor to me was really powerful and made an impression on me. I did think it was a bit funny, seeing as it clearly had a 1990’s feel to it. But it made an impression! That’s the point of media, right? To communicate a sort of message? It did just that for me. On one hand, I’ll admit that I have noticed how porn truly is just catered to a very specific audience. The foundation of that audience has mainly been males. When one looks at a porn clip or film, is the camera ever focused on the male? Not really. In fact, the majority of the time, you barely even see his face! It’s all about the woman and how she pleases the male. There are instances when males have been shown, but thinking back to any videos I’ve ever seen, it’s never–not once– been an asian man. What is that saying?
Now if we focus on the asian women in porn videos, I mean it typically goes to some very specific role. She’s either a submissive quiet girl pleasing a man. Honestly, and this may not be entirely accurate seeing as I’m going into my memory bank, but that man usually is white. I don’t recall seeing a quiet submissive, and eager to please asian woman having sex with an asian man. If she’s not submissive, she’s a commanding and dominatrix-like asian woman. Again, typically her role has been with another caucasian man. I really cannot recall seeing any video where an asian man played anything but a man confident in his sexual experience with another woman. I think that’s why the porn trailer created by the professor was so moving. Not only did it actually put an asian american male in front of the camera, but he was paired with another asian american woman, who was just that. A confident asian american woman exploring her sexuality with another man. Simple and to the point. Just another sensual and sexual porn film with two people. No roles and no gimmicks.
In the Hypersexuality of Race, Shimizu revolves around several Asian/American filmmakers that utilize “explicit race” as the grounds for “articulating and redefining their identities through the political power of representation.” The films that were talked about revolved around Asian/American women engaging in issues that intersect gender, race, and sexuality.
A filmmaker that stood out to me was Machiko Saito. Her work truly serves to expand what Shimizu notes as “racialized sexuality.” Premenstrual Spotting was something powerful that truly made me reconsider what it meant to take ahold of Asian/American women’s image and reclaiming it for their own. Shimizu states that Saito offers “new forms of power and pleasure that testify to her resilience in the face of being a marginal subject,” which is a lot. Saito provides something that I would have never thought of. And what makes this more resilient is the way in which the film was one that was all her own. It was her story, her acting, it was just her. She was putting forth her own story and creating something that is representative of herself, which I found to be completely beautiful.
Shimizu then finished her text with new ways in which Asian American continue to challenge sex, race, and cinema. Shimizu discusses the work that Sandra Oh has done and how this work is continuing to challenge audiences. What’s important to note is how Oh has made it so she is portrayed as a “socially situated subject” that includes but is not entirely determined by her “racial and sexual identity.” This portion made me rethink to how she is portrayed as Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy. It made me rethink how in fact she is portrayed as this “socially situated subject” and how amazing that is so.
More so, Shimizu ends with how “race-positive sexuality” can be “employed towards new freedoms, forms, structures, and imagination.” This race-positive sexuality brings about the needs and redefinitions of Asian American women. And ultimately, providing them with the ability to get them out of secondary status.