Orientalism in Western Media

Western media has normalized illustrating Asian and Middle eastern people as inferior, mocking their cultures, and normalizing the stereotypes imposed upon them at the hands of western society.

White women dressing up a geishas, automatically associating Japanese films with ninjas, the way middle eastern or asian characters are depicted in drawing are all examples of how normalized xenophobia is in our present day society. Extremely evident in movies, they are depicted as these people in need of saving at the hands of a white hero. Or in other words they are villainized, especially the darker they are. Colorism is also extremely popular in Orientalism seeing as the protagonist, despite race, will always be pale skinned.

Examples:

  • Iron Man – An extremely wealthy (white) man was kidnapped by Afghanistans to make a weapon of mass destruction. Not only did they villanize these people and make Tony Stark the hero, they depicted the community as military ridden and impoverished, further more contributing to the stereotypes associated with Asian and Middle eastern culture.
    • I also find this interesting because especially during there Cold War, White People (Russians) were depicted as the faces of war and as terrorists but nowadays when you hear terrorist, you associated it with brown faces.
  • Aladdin – The depiction of Arab people as thieves, over-sexualization of Princess Jazmine, and considering how the villain, Jafar , is visibly darker than majority of the other characters, specifically the Sultan and Princess Jasmine. They also give most of the villains in the movie extremely exaggerated Arab accents.
  • Nicki Minaj – Your Love: In the music video, Nicki dresses up as a geisha wearing traditionally asian clothes and choosing to assimilate the diversity into just one ethnicity, either Japanese or Thai despite pulling several things from multiple asian cultures and only acknowledging which ones fit best into her work. The whole storyline of the video is her falling in love with her sensei.
Oversexualization of Princess Jasmine

Tony Stark Captured by Afghan Terrorists
Nicki Minaj’s Appropriation of Asian Culture

A Man’s Fear of Women in Power

WOMEN IN POLITICS

Society knows all too well how to demean a woman in a position of power, despite years of women fighting back and proving that they are just as capable or even more capable, it’s done nothing but reveal a man’s fear of women in power. In all aspects of life, men subconsciously reveal how much women being their equal fears them. Whether it’s shown in literature dated back to the 1500s or as current as past presidential elections. A man will never fail at attempting to dehumanize a powerful woman in front of the public. During the presidential election of 2016, the tabloids, the media, and articles did nothing but slander Hilary Clinton’s name, and you might say, “well that’s something done in every election”. People fail to realize the intersectionality that comes with being a woman. As the first woman to run for president, she faced backlash, slander, and assault from the public. This alone made her an even more powerful person AND the stronger candidate. Demeaning comments from her opponents specifically meant not only to dehumanize her but dehumanize and disrespect the entire population of women.

WOMEN IN LITERATURE

Examples can also be seen in Shakespeare’s writing, further proving the man’s obsession with oppressing women. Shakespeare has an interesting take on gender roles in his play “King Lear” because the main antagonists are women. I believe his intentions were to make the audience see Goneril and Regan as monsters but in reality, I believe we admire them more than we sympathize with the King. Some would say validation is more of a women’s area of expertise, but it’s interesting how Goneril and Regan use that to their advantage and ultimately strip Lear of his power and emasculate him. Some see them as devils and this isn’t me trying to defend their actions, but the way in which they were able to strip Lear of his power proves how women know how to win people over. A woman’s power and abilities go unscathed when comparable to the power men are given.

Doja Cat, A Poetic Genius

Doja Cat also known as Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, also known Miss Poetic Mastermind just recently released the most versatile album of 2021, Planet Her. Despite all of the songs being masterpieces, one outshines the other. “Woman,” the first track, not only does it have a positive message, it conveys it through so many literary elements. Throughout this song, Doja is able to convey how we as women need to be aware of how complex we are and stay unified because society will always try to pit us against each other.

My favorite thing about Doja Cat is her versatility, her central theme always stays more or less the same but each flow she spits out will be unique

Gotta face a lot of people of the opposite
‘Cause the world told me, “We ain’t got the common sense”

This line shows extreme significance to the message Doja is trying to convey. When she sings “the people of the opposite”, she is referring to men and then she leads into the next line saying how the world will bring down women. It’s a great use of personification seeing as the world can’t physically speak. But the use of personification goes to shows the impact the world has and what expectations they hold women to.

They wanna pit us against each other
When we succeedin’ for no reasons
They wanna see us end up like we Regina on Mean Girls

This line supports the theme as it is able to convey the significance of women being unified by using a similie. A modern one at that. This shows how women tend to be pitted against each other when we succeed. There’s this notion that there can’t be more than one woman succeeding at a time and if there is then they should be in competition. In the movie Mean Girls, The main character was at odds with Regina George – the school mean girl (and most popular) because the main character was gaining more popularity than Regina George. Regina is notorious for making girls life miserable hence the similie ” they wanna see us end up like we Regina on Mean Girls”

She give tenfold, come here, papa, plant your seed
She can grow it from her womb, a family

The use of extended metaphor here does a great job at highlighting another complexity that comes with being a woman. She compares a woman’s ability to get pregnant and the act of reproducing to a plant/flower growing. She extends this metaphor across the two lines, starting with

Papa, plant your seed

This compares the act of insemination to planting a seed, and planting a seed can also be defined as building a foundation. I think you can interpret this metphor in a numerous of types of way and that speaks a lot about her versatility.

These are a couple of examples as to why I asmire the way Doja Cat presents her music.

You’re Authentic Identity

In the novel, Exit West, a dilemma is brought up between the two lovers and they question if they are really in love or if they’ve just gotten used to each other’s presence. The topics of falling out of love and romantic vs. platonic relationships come into play and bring up more for discussion.

Falling out of Love

The topic of falling out of love is such a sensitive yet scary topic. Usually, when people first realize they fall out of love, they don’t allow themselves to accept they are falling out of love and continue to stay in denial. This forces them to stay in a relationship or situation where they are not getting what they need nor can they be their true selves. The person may think they are also sparing the other person’s feelings by prolonging the inevitable but essentially, in the end, it ends up even worse for both parties.

Platonic vs. Romantic Relationships

Relationships lie on a spectrum that can be anywhere from platonic to romantic. The idea of relationships that aren’t romantic tends to fly over people’s heads and they can’t fathom the fact that these two people love each other but aren’t in love with each other. Saed and Nadia have a platonic relationship although they may have shared some sensual experiences at the beginning they quickly realized they don’t actually love each other in that way.

The Ideal Mother/Child Relationship

In The Stranger, Meursault has a strained relationship with his mother and people cannot fathom the fact that maybe he has a right to not be upset about his relationship with his mother. Anybody that feels as if Meursault is in the wrong must have the ideal mother/child relationship which is a privilege that tends to go unknown. Those who aren’t blessed with the type of relationship I alluded to can probably sympathize with Meursault and understand why he may not have had the “ideal” reaction to his mother death. There’s this notion that you’re supposed to respect and care for your parent but it goes forgotten that it goes both ways. You cannot shit on someones existence and expect them to not have any underlying feelings surrounding it. The nature of their relationship goes unknown which is why it is unfair to judge him so harshly especially when people are dealing with grief.

No Interests?

The Stranger, written by Alex Camus exemplifies the complex dynamic between a man and his lack of interests in just about everything. The main character goes about life as if nothing he says has an impact on future events nor does he care if it does or doesn’t. As a result, this leads him into gruesomely killing a man.

Exhibited behaviors

The story starts of with the passing of his mother, in regards to this he’s incapable of showing any type of emotion to her sudden death. He experiences a lot of climatic events that any other person would react to but fortunately enough, he just goes with the flow. He maintains this careless attitude throughout all of part one, whether its testifying the unjust actions of his friend or whether he does or doesn’t love the woman in which he decides to marry. His way of life sparks much curiosity as to why he is this way he is and why he exhibits these behaviors. ” I knew that I had shattered the harmony of the day, the exception silence of a beach where i’d been happy. Then I fired four more times at the motionless body… (59)” There was no justifying the fact that he shot and killed this man unprovoked, he’s aware of how bad and unjustifiable it is but what was his train of thought leading him into murdering this man?