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Strike a pose, Asian style!
June 11, 2009 6:45 AM   Subscribe

Asian Poses - The Definitive Guide You may already know about the victory sign's popularity amongst Asians, but how about Nyan Nyan, Giant Heart, or Pigtails? Warning: cute overload.
posted by so much modern time (106 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've always wondered what was the deal with Japanese people throwing up peace signs in photos, but I'm not sure I buy this explanation.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:52 AM on June 11, 2009


second link has no access for us
posted by infini at 6:55 AM on June 11, 2009


Make fun of posing Asians day is three Thursdays from now...today was Make fun of Goth Day.

now, get me a goth, asian, in the right pose and we'll consider changing the schedule.
posted by HuronBob at 6:59 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I never even knew this world existed.

Then again, it is the Internet.
posted by flippant at 6:59 AM on June 11, 2009


Wow, it really is cute. The sexist infantilization really makes up for the racist assumptions!
posted by DU at 7:01 AM on June 11, 2009 [33 favorites]


The sexist infantilization really makes up for the racist assumptions!

No, it doesn't. I'm not saying this site is the worst thing in the world, but Asian women really don't need this.
posted by ignignokt at 7:06 AM on June 11, 2009


Oh, wait. I missed the sarcasm. Dur. Sorry, DU.
posted by ignignokt at 7:11 AM on June 11, 2009


HuronBob: "Make fun of posing Asians day is three Thursdays from now...today was Make fun of Goth Day.

now, get me a goth, asian, in the right pose and we'll consider changing the schedule.
"


Well, google image search for "Gothic Lolita Japanese" but keep the eye-bleach handy and the finger on the plausible-deniability-hard-drive-destruction button...
posted by PontifexPrimus at 7:11 AM on June 11, 2009


I intentionally left out the "lolita" part , I'm forbidden to use that term in any google search! I'm not about to do anything counter to those court injunctions!
posted by HuronBob at 7:13 AM on June 11, 2009


Why are all the people on that site Korean? Not to mention young and female? Awfully GIANT BRUSH TO PAINT A WHOLE CONTINENT WITH, DON'T YA THINK?
posted by the dief at 7:19 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Awfully GIANT PANDA BRUSH TO PAINT A WHOLE CONTINENT WITH, DON'T YA THINK?

FTFY
posted by DU at 7:20 AM on June 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


where people are notably shy and outspoken.

Can the author pick one?
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:23 AM on June 11, 2009


now, get me a goth, asian, in the right pose and we'll consider changing the schedule.

Oh yeah, like that'll be so difficult.

Come on, HuronBob... we need a challenge here.
posted by rokusan at 7:23 AM on June 11, 2009


But I've never done any of these poses before in my life!

Judging from photos of me, the most common Asian pose is, "Standing next to your older brother, but on tip-toes, so future generations of viewers will think that I towered over him."
posted by Comrade_robot at 7:24 AM on June 11, 2009 [12 favorites]


I never even knew this world existed.

Asia? Yeah, it's a cool place. Pretty big, and they have awesome architecture and food. If you turn the globe around, it's right there, honestly.
posted by xingcat at 7:27 AM on June 11, 2009 [14 favorites]


But this "pull from a stock set of poses" is not an Asian thing.

Check a sampling of pics on any American social networking site and you'll see a preponderance of girls making one of these two faces: The Impish Pixie, where the girl mischievously purses her lips and looks up and to the side with eyes wide open and the "Rock-and-Roll Mid-Scream" where the girl looks suprise, opens here mouth wide, and puts her palms on her cheeks (face, pervs) and looks like she's screaming in joy BECAUSE SHE'S HAVING SO MUCH FUN IT HURTS!

I think over the years girls have gotten more adept at being prepared for these shots and actually practice these faces so as to be at the ready when that Facebook party pic op arrives. Kinda Darwinian, really.
posted by sourwookie at 7:36 AM on June 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


The Malays and the Indians and the Pakistanis are Asians too! I wonder what poses they like.
posted by WalterMitty at 7:39 AM on June 11, 2009


These just look like teen girl poses to me. I know 'cuz I've made them. And posted them on myspace.
posted by munyeca at 7:41 AM on June 11, 2009


Here's what my wife thinks of this post.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:45 AM on June 11, 2009 [18 favorites]


In all honesty I know girls from Eastern Europe and Russia who do these poses too.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:47 AM on June 11, 2009


Yes people, all asian women are really racer queens and pop idols. Just like how all of our women are bikini models and strippers, just like in the beer commercials!

Cultural exchange, look at how much we learn about each other!
posted by yeloson at 7:48 AM on June 11, 2009


This is a pretty accurate guide to the poses young Korean girls make for pictures, which itself is a reflection of the pop culture imagery marketed at them. The latter is actually an interesting topic in a detached-anthropological sort of way. Up close, though, it's frustratingly vapid.
posted by smorange at 7:49 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


That may be a "giant heart" to teenage Asian girls, but it's always been used by my peeps to signify "dickhead" as in "He's a giant dickhead".
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:53 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Humanity: Up close, it's frustratingly vapid.
posted by sleevener at 7:57 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll be in my bunk.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:57 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


"They have no other means of expressing their happiness, other than a smile, because everyone knows even an asian smile can be mistaken for their chinky eye lining. To show that they are indeed happy, asians outline their grinning chins with a “V” sign to draw attention away from their non-existant eyes."

What? This is the best the web has to offer today?
posted by Houstonian at 8:01 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why are all the people on that site Korean?

He addresses this on his About page:

"Why are most of the girls Korean?
In my collection of professional Asian models, the highest rate of poses come from Korean models. It’s not like I choose Korean models because I want to misrepresent Asia, it’s because I don’t have photos of other Asian models doing these poses. Another important factor is the photo quality, which requires good lighting and a professional feel. To ensure that high standard, I will rarely take examples from amateur photographs such as random people’s Facebook or Myspace photos unless it is for pose challenges.

I’m aware that Asia includes more than Chinese, Korean, and Japanese people
Again, this collection is just what I have and I happen to collect photos from Chinese, Korean, and Japanese models."
posted by Houstonian at 8:06 AM on June 11, 2009


Here's what my wife thinks of this post.

Your wife's name is Sue?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:07 AM on June 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


But Houstonian, you skipped the best part! "The truth lies in asian culture, where people are notably shy and outspoken." Mmmm, I love garnishing my garbled racist stereotypes with meaningless contradiction.
posted by kittyprecious at 8:07 AM on June 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


True munyeca, but we all learned them from somewhere. All my cutest poses I've been able to trace came from Asia (with only one exception). My badboy poses, oddly, all came from around Walthamstow.
posted by Glee at 8:09 AM on June 11, 2009


It's great that everyone in Asia is easily categorizeable in this way. Makes writing about them much easier, without all that pesky "thinking" beforehand.

Cute pictures though.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:13 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why are all the people on that site Korean?

I asked the same question while I was paging through. It seemed a little weird to me that so many of the images looked like they were of Korean women.

From the "About Asian Poses" page:
Why are most of the girls Korean?
In my collection of professional Asian models, the highest rate of poses come from Korean models. It’s not like I choose Korean models because I want to misrepresent Asia, it’s because I don’t have photos of other Asian models doing these poses. Another important factor is the photo quality, which requires good lighting and a professional feel. To ensure that high standard, I will rarely take examples from amateur photographs such as random people’s Facebook or Myspace photos unless it is for pose challenges.
It's good to know he has some standards. *eyeroll*

Also:
I’m aware that Asia includes more than Chinese, Korean, and Japanese people
Again, this collection is just what I have and I happen to collect photos from Chinese, Korean, and Japanese models.
Not to mention young and female?

Because men who take kawaii culture to this level come across as creepy freaks?

Oh, did I say that out loud?

Also from the same page:
A little about me
My name is Steve and I enjoy blogging about Asian things (especially girls). I suffer from a condition known as the Cute Asian Girls Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (CAGOCD), which fuels much of my photo collecting. I also happen to be Chinese…so people can stop emailing me saying I have an Asian fetish or Asianphilia -_-;;

I am also the administrator and author for Really Cute Asians (one of the four authors), Hwang Mi Hee Fan, and Nozomi Sasaki.
I haven't clicked through to any of those links. They might be NSFW.

Awfully GIANT BRUSH TO PAINT A WHOLE CONTINENT WITH, DON'T YA THINK?

Yes. And IMNSHO, Asian women REALLY don't need to be stereotyped, infantalized or objectified any more on the internet.
posted by zarq at 8:13 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oops. Houstonian beat me to it. :D
posted by zarq at 8:14 AM on June 11, 2009


I mean, FFS, one of his links goes to a site called "Jappydolls".
posted by zarq at 8:18 AM on June 11, 2009


Actually, according to him they need to always be in pose. I'm still getting over the fact that he said "chinky," but here's another gem:

"Why are poses so important? One reason is the phenomena known as the “boring photos lowers cuteness” effect. Consider the photos of He Jing shown below (known as momojing on MOKO). Notice how at the start she looks excruciatingly cute, but as you progress through these pose-lacking photos, it begins to get a bit boring. Eventually, you might even find her downright repulsive. It’s not until she starts doing some poses at the end that it starts getting interesting again and cuteness levels begin to rise."
posted by Houstonian at 8:18 AM on June 11, 2009


The Malays and the Indians and the Pakistanis are Asians too!

That's the problem I have with the current popular use of the word "Asian". Here in Japan "Oriental" is still in use, and it's unfortunate that the term became politically incorrect in the US. I mean, as I understand it, it simply meant "East Asian" (Chinese, Japanese and Korean, essentially), and therefore was more specific than "Asian".

I’m aware that Asia includes more than Chinese, Korean, and Japanese people

And yet he continues to use the term... if "Oriental" or "East Asian" has to be a no-no, somebody really needs to come up with a descriptor for China, Korea and Japan, cause this "Asia" is too big a word.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:22 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fuck, this site is creepy.
posted by schroedinger at 8:25 AM on June 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Northeast Asian, yo.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:27 AM on June 11, 2009


I tried some of these poses out on the girls down at the sushi place.

Do you know just how much wasabi can fit up a person's nose?
posted by orme at 8:29 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because men who take kawaii culture to this level come across as creepy freaks?

These guys need some serious mocking. Can I pencil in Thursday after next?
posted by octobersurprise at 8:29 AM on June 11, 2009


flapjax, you are correct in the origins of the term. Consider orient and orientation, or the phrase ex oriente lux ("out of the east, a light"). "Oriental" was used to describe everything from the East, but this term originated when the East, as such, was considerably nearer in that the people using the term had not widely explored the globe. Now, Oriental is about as East as you can get before you're West., which is funny in more ways than one.

And, yeah, "Asian" kinda sucks, but it fits in with the general trend of picking a rather crappy substitute term to replace the old term, suddenly perceived as bad.

We do not powerwalk upon the Euphemism Treadmill, only stagger and trip.
posted by adipocere at 8:32 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nyoro
~n
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:33 AM on June 11, 2009


while this site may creep people out, it does give me some great ideas for posing in pictures.

thing is, in settings where you get your picture taken a lot, its more fun to try to look cute then just sit there stonefaced like American Gothic or do the same dumb headtilt/smile combo. So maybe obsessing about these images is weird, but identifying the phenomenon of each pose is very helpful for those of us who are beautiful or attention-whorey enough to get in a lot of photos.

Here are some ideas i came up with about my own poses:

Eating Giant Invisible Cheeseburger
One Thumb GlugGlug
Dont Call Me
(look at phone hand/grossed out face)
Mista Harpah (invisible suspenders)
Bright Light Hand Cover Gaze Into Distance
Blowing Invisible Rape Whistle
Snake Tongue
Zombie Rapper
Petulant Disco

AND SO MANY MORE
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:39 AM on June 11, 2009 [9 favorites]


That peace sign site not only was written shittily, but for some reason fucked up scrolling in my browser.

"And yet he continues to use the term... if "Oriental" or "East Asian" has to be a no-no, somebody really needs to come up with a descriptor for China, Korea and Japan, cause this "Asia" is too big a word."

I believe in America, they're all just known as Chinese.
posted by klangklangston at 8:52 AM on June 11, 2009


I know that Houstonian beat me to it, but the same quote jumped out at me. I keep asking my sister-in-law why she always makes the peace sign in photos. Now I now.

everyone knows even an asian smile can be mistaken for their chinky eye lining. To show that they are indeed happy, asians outline their grinning chins with a “V” sign to draw attention away from their non-existant eyes.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:53 AM on June 11, 2009


...I'm still getting over the fact that he said "chinky,"...

I don't know if there's an "official" term for this, but I've always thought of it intra-ethnic racism. Such as African Americans calling each other the "N" word. Asians calling each other "Chinky", etc. I've never bought into the argument that by adopting epithets and repurposing them, a racial group would reclaim such words for themselves.
posted by zarq at 9:00 AM on June 11, 2009


Man, why am I flashing back to the sound and the fury of the various Asian alt.soc usenet groups where it was a battle of, "why I like Asian women" vs. "Leave our women alone."

I was kind of squeeked out and was afraid of Lolita files being on the hard drive. Now off to a search committee meeting.
posted by jadepearl at 9:09 AM on June 11, 2009


I'm loving the heart pose where the girl looks like she's eating a burger.
posted by scrutiny at 9:23 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because men who take kawaii culture to this level come across as creepy freaks?

Can't beat this guy. He has a whole series of instructional videos.
posted by benzenedream at 9:27 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Omg omg omg omg
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:47 AM on June 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


These just look like teen girl poses to me. I know 'cuz I've made them. And posted them on myspace.

Yeah... I thought the same. Making the "V" sign for photos is the only one I've seen used almost by exclusively Japanese people.
posted by Avelwood at 10:04 AM on June 11, 2009


What
posted by KokuRyu at 10:12 AM on June 11, 2009


What
posted by KokuRyu at 1:12 PM on June 11


I do not know. Check out his user page for maximum heebie jeebies.

--------------------
MUSIC VIDEOS CONTAINING ASIAN WOMEN:
"Strength of a Woman" Shaggy
"Try" Shawn Hewitt
"Lay it on the line" Divine Brown
"Be back soon" Justin Nozuka
"Here without you" 3 Doors Down
"12:59 Lullaby" Beddowin Soundclash
"Do it all again" Chad Hatcher


Yikes.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:19 AM on June 11, 2009


I might not like the execution, but by golly, I find the categorization and photo examples in each post to be inspiring. And I don't think painting them as generic teen girl poses is quite accurate enough... things like the nyan nyan kitty paws and the puffy cheeks seem like they didn't exactly spring to life in the rural heartland of southern Idaho, although they might wind up there soon.
posted by redsparkler at 10:29 AM on June 11, 2009


Ahhahahahaha. Oh God, I was going to flag this, but a) unfortunately there isn't a "LOL WTF" flag for damn ridiculous FPPs and b) I was laughing so hard (not a haha "this is funny" laugh but a "does this old ham from the back of the fridge smell funny to you" funny) that I couldn't concentrate hard enough to click on the tiny [!] all that well.

Could this have been salvaged? Maybe, if the OP had delved further into the "Why are all the women featured Korean?" question being brought up that the person running the blog/site was to lazy to investigate themselves, they could've made a point that lot of these poses (notably the v, puffy cheeks, hands on the face, etc.) come from Korean camgirl, a.k.a. ulzzang repetoire. If you think Myspace poses are contrived, you should see the amount of product an strategy going into an ulzzang photo. Not just make up, but circle lenses, fake eyelashes, learning to set your browser screen to something white (either an open document or just type in a wrong address in your window to get the error screen) to create a wash of light into your face, the ulzzang angle (sort of like Myspace angle, but there are several you can choose from), and of course good old fashioned photoshop and elbow grease, then this all sort of makes sense...in context (though the site is still laughably ick nonetheless).

Sure there's an element of looking cute, but a lot of poses are actually a bit more strategic than that. Hands on the the face=technique to make your face look either smaller or more angular or hide any imperfections you might have like a zit or maybe messed up teefers, whatever. Puffing out the cheeks also helps with the faking a "cuter" face shape in a kind of ass backwards way because the puffy chipmunk cheeks actually help to make it look like your chin comes to a finer point, especially if you're looking up at the webcam in an ulzzang angle. Hell, when most western webcam widgets just had the ability to take sad grainy photos to maybe upload to HotorNot, Haduri already came packaged with ways to change the tone of the photo, make animated gifs and videos and edit (median, blur, what have you) before you posted it to your site, other ulzzang sites or the Haduri site proper where people could vote on you as an ulzzang or not. Some have even gone on to become entertainers like Goo Hye-sun. And the techniques as well as phrase ulzzang have been catching on outside of Korea. Just go ask the Koreanophiles over at the Soompi forums or the amount of tutorials in English asking how to take ulzzang photos. I'm not surprised there are more and more Myspace photos using these similar poses.
posted by kkokkodalk at 10:32 AM on June 11, 2009 [22 favorites]


Ulzzang. The world is vast, intriguing, semi-wonderful place.
posted by DU at 11:03 AM on June 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


the site is shudder-inducing

goddamn is it creepy

GO OUTSIDE YOU WEIRDO FUCKER
posted by plexi at 11:24 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


allow me to project my cultural biases onto you with haste and tremendous righteousness
posted by plexi at 11:30 AM on June 11, 2009


I'd never heard of ulzzang. So strange.

kkokkdalk, thanks for pointing it out... I think.
posted by zarq at 11:45 AM on June 11, 2009


"They have no other means of expressing their happiness, other than a smile, because everyone knows even an asian smile can be mistaken for their chinky eye lining. To show that they are indeed happy, asians outline their grinning chins with a “V” sign to draw attention away from their non-existant eyes.

What? This is the best the web has to offer today?"


Yea, Stuff Asian People Like (the "victory sign" link in the OP) is basically Stuff White People Like's racist and unfunny cousin. It's written by Asians, which in my opinion doesn't make it any less offensive, especially when it encourages non-Asians to be similarly racist and then use the excuse that "my Asian friend thought it was funny so it can't possibly be racist!"

As a US-born Asian person I'm actually interested in why the victory pose seems so common among East Asians but that really wasn't a very useful link other than contributing to the general "haha Asians" tone of the post.

And "Warning: cute overload", IMO, should be reserved for small animals or children, not Asian women.

Asian women REALLY don't need to be stereotyped, infantalized or objectified any more on the internet.
This.
posted by pravit at 11:45 AM on June 11, 2009


I was surprised by the ubiquty of such cute, perhaps infantilizing, stylizations and representations of women in Tokyo. So much so that I had to write it off as something that was likelier a reflection of my own dramatic difference than an objectively "bad" phenomenon. And mind you, here in the States, I'm often way more pigtaily and raver-girly than your average 28 year old lady, so I was saucer-eyed and envious more than aghast at the sight.

Just sayin': the site is creepy, but uh, not that creepy to me, having just been a tourist in Tokyo for 12 days, where LOTS of women who are at least in their late 20s wear pink ruffles and lace, dressing like they're playing tea party when I guess they're on the way to work. Like, as many as were wearing, say, the color Maroon. I haven't figured it out, but there sure are a lot of small-statured, relatively (to me) youthful looking women there, and probably, hopefully, there's something more confrontational or performatively self-possessed than I can quickly and easily grasp in their workaday embrace of ootsy-bootsy cuteness. Something better overall than what can be explained by Maid Cafes and Lolis, anyway.

Anyway, capital. Of. Cute. KAWAAAAI!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:53 AM on June 11, 2009


I mean, FFS, one of his links goes to a site called "Jappydolls".

What.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:08 PM on June 11, 2009


Hmm. Is there a "see how terrible? look closely, take another look!" vibe in here... why, yes, there is. I read a post by someone who expresses outrage at the "objectification", "fetishization", "imperialism" or whatever, and they supply enormous detail about the exact forms these terrible things take place - and then I wonder how did this person acquire such in-depth expertise? I mean, I have no special interest in the subject, and I came to this post because of the intriguing title ("Strike a pose, Asian style" - what in the world can it mean?), and frankly, I didn't know 1% of the stuff some of these folks post, and the only way I'd know such things in such detail is if I spent a considerable chunk of time exploring that world. Now, unless you are an FBI tracker who needs to study this world as an assignment, I think this qualifies as the kind of "I'm only doing research" a person does when supplying an explanation when caught with ones pants down in front of a computer.

Whatever. There are fetishes of all kinds. Relax, do you thing if you have to, and lay off the moralizing. You don't need to explain yourself, or justify yourself, or tell us how you're really doing it to fight it and so on. We don't care. As long as you don't victimize anyone (underage porn etc.), it's just a fetish - no need to dress it in the heavy garb of "omg east/west, female exploitation, objectification, the universe is perverted and we are its moral guardians and beans give you gas and and and".
posted by VikingSword at 12:11 PM on June 11, 2009


no need to dress it in the heavy garb of "omg east/west, female exploitation, objectification, the universe is perverted..."

Metafilter has made very kickass efforts in the last year or two to become more aware of language and signifiers that, intentionally or inadvertantly, create a crappy atmosphere for this or that set of people reading the site. I would much rather err on the side of too much discussion and scrutiny than otherwise.
posted by everichon at 12:30 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


it's just a fetish - no need to dress it in the heavy garb of "omg east/west, female exploitation, objectification, the universe is perverted and we are its moral guardians and beans give you gas and and and".

It's not just a fetish. These sites promote a pervasive, offensive, racist stereotype that many Asian and Asian American women have fought very hard to distance themselves from in modern times. Google search for "stereotypes: asian women".

There are cultural issues here which you are apparently unaware of. That's fine. But please don't justify that ignorance by dismissing the valid criticisms raised here by the rest of us.
posted by zarq at 12:31 PM on June 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sure, we don't want to create a crappy atmosphere for anybody. At the same time, we should be able to maintain some common sense and perspective. Otherwise we'll bog down in extended hunts for hidden evil and everyone will walk on eggshells, or have to qualify every statement with paragraphs of "I certainly don't mean to, blah, blah". "He was cornered in..." "and I mean no offense to anyone making their living from corn or in corners".
posted by VikingSword at 12:36 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


VikingSword, there is a lot that is fascinating about subcultures such as ulzzang, and there are myriad ways someone could have constructed a post--or a website--examining it in a cool, insightful, shit, even funny way. This FPP is not that post, and that website is not that website.
posted by everichon at 12:40 PM on June 11, 2009


It's not just a fetish. These sites promote a pervasive, offensive, racist stereotype that many Asian and Asian American women have fought very hard to distance themselves from in modern times. Google search for "stereotypes: asian women".

Yes it is just a fetish. In so far as it does all those things you mention - well, that is true for ALL porn as well. Porn can be seen as objectifying women and any number of things. So why not fight against porn - period? Why pick this fetish in particular? How is this more deserving of assistance from the Moral Brigade To Put Everything Right In The Universe than PORN, period?
posted by VikingSword at 12:40 PM on June 11, 2009


unless you are an FBI tracker who needs to study this world as an assignment, I think this qualifies as the kind of "I'm only doing research" a person does when supplying an explanation when caught with ones pants down in front of a computer.

O hai I'm in ur academic research institution studying Asian and Asian-American representations in Western media. ALSO I'm a girl on the internet. Get your head around it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:49 PM on June 11, 2009


Ambrosia Voyeur: That still doesn't change the fact that this is kind of a weak FPP and the site isn't all that great, which is why I said I get the fascination and it would've been salvageable if there was any actual real content and context going. The tone I got isn't that people are denying that these women exist or these poses are not in photos or that there isn't a cute style or something, it sounds more like people objecting are having trouble with the presentation. I personally didn't like this because it's just so damn lazy. It's just somebody making an excuse to share their spank bank and I'm puzzled as to why this site on its own was thought to be enough for an FPP. Really? Best of the web? One link to a Chinese guy who likes collecting photos of Asian models? And again, it's still a pretty lame site, FPP or not. And I said it's laughably ick, because it's basically a guy just finding a sort of tenuous excuse to invite us into the vast coffers of his cute girls spank bank.

For a comparsion, it's one thing for someone to start a blog saying, "Here are some Japanese gothic lolita" fashions, and started breaking it down to specificities like maid-style uniforms, headbands, ruffled knee socks, sweet lolita, or sort of sidetrack to highlight the Marie Antoinette hime gyaru style that isn't really gosurori, but still is ruffly. Even then I'd still think it was a pretty lameass FPP if that was the only link. But these same photos and categories without context just presented as "Asian cutie Lolita girls!" is goddamn weaksauce for an FPP.

Also I have a problem with people who think gothic lolita (and I don't mean just the straight up goth type look, I'm including here all flavors, such as sweet lolita, etc.) is everyday wear. Like I can see someone getting away with the Marie Antoinette inspired hime gyaru style or maybe even a toned down ganguro/gyaru style, but the kids you see hanging out in Yoyogi Park in gothic lolita or visual kei-inspired otufits do it for their free time or a lot of the time, change out in public with gear they've brought with them or stashed away. It's not every day they're going to work at the office or the corner convenience store and school (when most schools have school uniforms anyway) in gothlic lolita wear. And the most hime gyaru type people I've seen are honestly the sales people at Jesus Diamante. Most of that crap is too expensive so people buy a piece at a time to incorporate a dress or a jacket or some shoes. Gosurori is different because while you can buy the outfits, there's also a bit of DIY to it and most magazines like Gothic and Lolita Bible will provide you with patterns for stuff. I'm not saying there aren't full-on hime gyarus, gosuroris, yamambas, whatever wandering around Tokyo, just that' you're still referring to specific fashion subsets...IN JAPAN, so taking that whole "I see people in cute stuff over in Japan so this site isn't that weird" line doesn't really work here.
posted by kkokkodalk at 12:51 PM on June 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why pick this fetish in particular?

Because the site which was posted in this FPP is a clear example of the specific, pervasive racial stereotypes we've been discussing throughout the thread. This excellent comment by everichon is worth reading and understanding. This FPP could have been fascinating. It's not, and that's a shame.

So why not fight against porn - period?

At the risk of stating the obvious, racism, racial stereotypes and gender stereotypes ≠ pornography. Certainly all porn does not portray women or ethnic minorities in a derogatory manner.

By the way, some of the people who are contributing to this thread are women. Some are Asian. Some probably have Asian family members or friends. With respect, it's folly to assume that everyone here is knowledgeable about these issues thanks to voyeurism.
posted by zarq at 12:58 PM on June 11, 2009


Did a lot of people just have a "those type of 'conservatives' who don't get Colbert is satire" moment?
posted by juiceCake at 12:59 PM on June 11, 2009


A fifth rate bottom of the barrel fetish site excites gobs of commentary about the nature of the universe, east/west, and fighting the good fight. Just amazing.
posted by VikingSword at 12:59 PM on June 11, 2009


At the risk of stating the obvious, racism, racial stereotypes and gender stereotypes ≠ pornography. Certainly all porn does not portray women or ethnic minorities in a derogatory manner.

Err, ton of porn does some or all the things you mention. In fact, I dare-say there's precious little in the porn that would qualify as "does not portray women [...] in a derogatory manner" by someone's definition.

Here's something to get your head around: porn does not depict reality. People understand that. These fetishes (Asian women etc.) do not reflect the real world. Pretending that it does, and railing against that is stupid and counterproductive.

When porn became widely available in Scandinavia, there were cries of how it'll lead to rapes and all kinds of horrible sex crimes. Nothing of the sort happened - if anything, possibly the reverse, if one compares the stats for sex crimes in more repressive times and/or societies.

There's a parallel here with video games. The vast majority of consumers understand this is nor reality. And you don't have an explosion of video-game style violence in real life.

Now, no doubt there are sick individuals who may feed off this, but I suspect they'd do their sick thing regardless of whether video games or porn exists.

Bottom line: I doubt any sane person judges or acts toward Asian women based on hideous stereotypes propagated by porn or manga or whatever. Reality trumps fantasy.

So yes, it is just a garden variety fetish.
posted by VikingSword at 1:10 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


kkokodalk, I'm not really addressing the quality of the FPP, which I found interesting on the basis of the pose content, since I'm still trying to figure out what all the hand gestures I saw, at the show at Shinjuku Marz, for example, might mean. But as I said, having just come from Tokyo, which is naturally and admittedly, a culture shock, and having seen the surprisingly pervasive cuteness in fashion, not in Yoyogi park but each day on the subways, pearls and parasols, pink lace and all that, more than here in equally cosmopolitan settings. I think there's something going on more interesting and less comprehensible than fetishwear. I don't know where they women I saw were off to, maybe you're right and they were sales clerks at fashion shops the genres of which I do not know by name.

In any case, clearly it's more complex and interesting than the typical western manga-lolis-edamame facile take, and I for one am trying to get a deeper understanding of cuteness in Japan and East Asia as a phenomenon in the wider context of gender, global culture, visual representaion and fashion. I'm late to that game, of course. I was certainly not using "a line" to defend the FPP, and that is kind of a cynical remark, just saying that I am less creeped out by this stuff now that I've seen people like this in real life, and been to that different representational/cultural/sartorial scene, which makes pretty good sense on a basic level. Being creeped out isn't a requirement for being motivated to confront impropriety, anyway, which there may be in this post. I just looked at the pictures in it and didn't really read the bloggy writing or examine the ads so I'll take your word.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:36 PM on June 11, 2009


Is this something I would have to subscribe to FRUiTS magazine to understand?
posted by snofoam at 1:46 PM on June 11, 2009


VikingSword: Fetish sites don't make good FPPs.
posted by desjardins at 1:54 PM on June 11, 2009


VikingSword: Fetish sites don't make good FPPs

Probably not. Who knows, maybe someone can find one that'll be very interesting and make a good FPP, but I'm not holding my breath (and yes, I'm going to resist making an autoerotic asphyxiation joke here).
posted by VikingSword at 2:01 PM on June 11, 2009


飒爽英姿五尺枪,
曙光初照演兵场。
中华儿女多奇志,
不爱红装爱武装


-- Mao Zedong (or was it Jiang Qing?)
posted by Abiezer at 2:22 PM on June 11, 2009


These fetishes (Asian women etc.) do not reflect the real world. Pretending that it does, and railing against that is stupid and counterproductive.

You don't seem to understand me. I'll try to break down my points into simpler terms:

* Racism is not a fetish.

* Prejudicial stereotypes of Asian and Asian-American women on the linked site are not "just" fetishes. This site portrays Asian women as several common, derogatory racial stereotypes.

* Pornography, in general, is neither an act of racism nor a stereotype. Both racism and prejudicial stereotypes may be present in some forms of pornography. They are definitely not present in all porn.

And yes, both stereotypes and racism are by definition not a realistic depiction of a particular culture or race. However, pervasive, prejudicial stereotypes and racism often have real-world consequences.
posted by zarq at 2:25 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Prejudicial stereotypes of Asian and Asian-American women on the linked site are not "just" fetishes. This site portrays Asian women as several common, derogatory racial stereotypes.

They are fetishes which "portray Asian women as derogatory racial stereotypes" - one does not exclude the other. They can be both. It's a fetish with elements of racial stereotyping. It is also a fetish with elements of infantilization of women. It is also a fetish with blah, blah, blah. So what? It's still a fetish. You can take almost any fetish and find additional characteristics. They are still fetishes.

The way to judge this is to ask: is the primary function of the site to incite racial hatred, or to titillate?

If it is to incite racial hatred, you have a hate-site. If it is the second, you have a fetish and/or porn site. Simple as that.

In this case, we are dealing with fetishism, seems to me. So reacting to it primarily as if it is a racial issue seems inappropriate.

Pornography, in general, is neither an act of racism nor a stereotype.

If pornography is not an act of racism, then what are you getting excited about? I maintain that this site is designed to titillate, satisfy a fetish, not designed to be an act of racism - so it seems you agree with me then? Treat it as a fetish - precisely my point.

As to pornography not being a stereotype - I'm sorry, but pornography deals primarily with stereotypes of all kinds, so you are just dead wrong there.

Both racism and prejudicial stereotypes may be present in some forms of pornography. They are definitely not present in all porn.

So? No pornography has all the elements of every kind of pornography there is. No such thing as "universal porn" - it's all a collection of stuff catering to various categories, so I don't understand your point here. However, there are tons and tons and tons of porn that employs racist and stereotypical tropes - does it mean that next you'll fight the windmills of random "Blacks on Whites" or "Whites on Blacks" or "Asians on Whatever" sites as hotbeds of racism that need ferreting out?

However, pervasive, prejudicial stereotypes and racism often have real-world consequences.

If your thesis is that consumption of porn leads to violence against women, then you will not be able to prove that case, since many studies have tried to do exactly that, and failed. While these criminals may have used porn, or specific kind of porn to justify their crimes, they are broken people to begin with. They would've committed their crimes regardless of the existence of porn. To establish scientifically that it was the porn specifically that is responsible, you'd have to prove the cause and effect link. I am not aware of any reputable studies which conclusively show that porn causes violence against women. Violence against women occurs regardless of the existence of porn and the introduction or suppression of porn in various societies seems to bear this out statistically. Banning porn or fetish sites will not be an effective way of diminishing such crimes.
posted by VikingSword at 3:03 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


We're obviously not going to agree. You're making a lot of assumptions I completely disagree with, and frankly, I've completely lost interest in trying to explain my perspective to you. I've said my piece. I'm done here. Have a good day.
posted by zarq at 3:20 PM on June 11, 2009


The correct response is to put both hands up to your temples in clenched fists but have your index fingers pointing out and upward thus simulating horns.

This represents that you are angry and do not approve of the link.
posted by cazoo at 3:36 PM on June 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


In reality, these are Asian gang signs.

If you see any, watch out because a cute girl is about to pop a cap in your ass.
posted by bwg at 4:33 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


This whole discussion started off on a slippery slope...
posted by erskelyne at 4:39 PM on June 11, 2009


Tangentially related picture that I couldn't help but post.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:41 PM on June 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


^and proof of bwg's assertion.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:42 PM on June 11, 2009


Abiezer:

En garde!

把衣服都掀起來,把–罩都丟上來!
posted by Sangermaine at 5:09 PM on June 11, 2009


I always find myself surprised how often the stuff that I don't think about much, just everyday context, background noise, is weird and enthralling to folks who haven't encountered it before.

I was drinking a few beers and playing TF2 on a non-Mefight server last Friday, one where random chatter is encouraged, and mentioned (because someone asked me about my egregiously high ping) that I lived in Korea. The flood of questions astonished me, as did the utter lack of knowledge about the place. So I guess unfamiliarity with this stuff this semi-obscure shouldn't be all that surprising.

The flipside happens to me, too, though. Last time I visited Canada, it blew my goddamn mind how many pharmaceutical ads were being played on television. I guess it's all about what you're used to.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:44 PM on June 11, 2009


...it blew my goddamn mind how many pharmaceutical ads were being played on television. I guess it's all about what you're used to.

Same here, stav. In the US, that is. Jeebus, they sure peddle some drugs back home, and I ain't kidding!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:48 PM on June 11, 2009


Out of curiosity, Stav, where are the MeFi TF2 servers, geographically? My ping is usually okay -- under 50 or so. But every once in a while the connction will stutter. (It typically restores moments later to a screen which says "Respawn in -- seconds...")

When I play with a local NYC group I usually manage a ping of 5 - 10.
posted by zarq at 6:03 PM on June 11, 2009


Out of curiosity, Stav, where are the MeFi TF2 servers, geographically?

In the states, not sure where, northeast I think. I generally get a solid 180ms ping, which is playable. I get down to about 140-150ms to the US west coast.

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:17 PM on June 11, 2009


You know what would be way more interesting than accusing each other of being racists, sexists, and perverts?

Almost anything.

Asian Poses doesn't read as pervy to me. It seems like more of a meta thing—a document of a small, trivial, but (to outsiders) curious slice of human culture.

Granted, the author is pretty exhaustive about it, but that seems to be the thing to do on the web these days: find one quirky little niche and blog the hell out of it. Get linked from the front page of MetaFilter. Profit.

The article from Stuff Asian People Like is stupid and racist (and probably casts the rest of the post in an unfortunate light), but I really don't get the rest of the whinging here.

One: These girls are cute. They're wearing pink kitty-cat ears and holding bunches of balloons, for Christ's sake. Acknowledging that these particular photographs of Asian women are cute does not imply anything about Asian women in general, or Asian people in general.

Two: The peace sign and nyan-nyan (and, to a lesser extent, some of the other poses) are characteristic of this kind of Asian cheesecake media. I've never even seen them outside of that context (except in the MySpace photos of white anime fans). Acknowledging a unique aspect of another culture is not racist, and it doesn't imply that all Asian people walk around all day making kitty-cat hands. It's just: "Hey, have you ever noticed the kitty-cat-hands thing in Asian cheesecake photos? How about that, huh?" The site is just a small celebration of a small, fun thing.

Three: Most of these images were produced by Asians, in Asian countries, for Asian markets. I doubt the race of the models even occurs to most of the people creating and consuming the photographs. So to claim they're inherently racist against Asians is dumb. There's no racial element there until you put one there.

If this were a collection of vintage American pinup photos, you'd all love it. But they're modern and Asian and we're (largely) non-Asian outsiders looking in at it, so "OMG RACIST". White people didn't infantilize and objectify these models; their Asian patrons took care of that.

Some of you spend way too much time in Cultural Studies classrooms searching determinedly for social injustice in every crack and corner.

Vaguely related.
posted by ixohoxi at 9:48 PM on June 11, 2009 [12 favorites]


Oh, Internet Version of Japan (which is, of course, extended into Internet Version of Korea being essentially a store-brand version of Japan, and Internet China being like how Americans view Mexico). I live in Japan, and let me tell you: this whole sort of gagging-overcuteness is not particularly common outside of the really major cities, and even then, limited to those who are into it in their free time.

Lots of suburban teenage girls, for example, find the infamous maid cafes to be unbearably creepy.

Turns out that most Japanese people are just... normal people. Sort of like how movie stars and cowboys aren't particularly representative of the real US population.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:14 PM on June 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


I didn't know I was asian but my teenage photo album is full of V-signs, pillow, pointing and heart shapes and the ever popular V-sign behind someones elses head.
posted by dabitch at 11:13 PM on June 11, 2009


Turns out that most Japanese people are just... normal people.

Indeed. Most of the female Japanese I know would just as soon kill themselves than make a "cat paws" gesture. Although I will say that the puffed cheeks thing is fairly common among children -- it's called ふくれっ面 (fukurettsura), and it signifies that you're pouting or otherwise being recalcitrant.
posted by armage at 12:03 AM on June 12, 2009


For example.
posted by armage at 12:04 AM on June 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Kawaii!
posted by organic at 3:37 AM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I see posts like this, I'm grateful that I came to Japan before the Internet age equipped everyone with so much half-assed, dollar-store sociology. For me it was like going to another planet.
posted by planetkyoto at 4:23 AM on June 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I always find myself surprised how often the stuff that I don't think about much, just everyday context, background noise, is weird and enthralling to folks who haven't encountered it before.

Yup.
posted by smorange at 5:08 AM on June 12, 2009


For example.
posted by armage at 12:04 AM on June 12 [+] [!]

armage, that's priceless. In a perfect world, that would stand as an FPP.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:34 AM on June 12, 2009


When I see posts like this, I'm grateful that I came to Japan before the Internet age equipped everyone with so much half-assed, dollar-store sociology. For me it was like going to another planet.

So true, although I always thought of Japan as being sort of an alternate or parallel universe. The internet, Amazon and Starbucks changed all of that.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:57 AM on June 12, 2009


That said, I do this genre of Asian cheesecake media is—well, I don't know if sexist is exactly the right word, but it definitely sets off some kind of alarms in my head. The combination of sexualization and infantilization, for starters; the shy, eager-to-please, doe-eyed submissiveness. The women are impossibly soft-fluffy-delicate-helpless-vulnerable—cute in the manner of a kitten or a baby—and yet also, well, hot. Infant goddesses.

(In short: do I want the little-girl female archetype today, or the sultry-sexpot female archetype? Let's have both!)

It's a fantasy, of course—and there's a difference between fantasizing about something, and actually expecting the real world to work that way. Still, there's something more than a little creepy about a guy whose ideal fantasy woman is an utterly fragile creature with no will of her own.

Okay, maybe sexist is the right word.

But it's less a female-hating sexism, and more a female-fearing sexism. (Which doesn't make it any better, of course.) I'm reminded of an old episode of The Simpsons, in which Lisa was shown reading a copy of Non-Threatening Boys Magazine—that sums it up nicely.

As far as I can tell, the appeal of this cheesecake stuff (to some) is its depiction of women who are never going to reject you, never going to demand anything of you, never going to inconvenience you. How could they? Look how docile they are! They're just going to curtsy and smile and do everything they can to make you like them. Non-threatening fantasy objects for dudes who are terrified of real women.

And I could be wrong about that, but that's what I think whenever I see some pasty dude all into this stuff.

(Lisa is eight, so she gets a free pass.)
posted by ixohoxi at 5:26 PM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


"having seen the surprisingly pervasive cuteness in fashion, not in Yoyogi park but each day on the subways, pearls and parasols, pink lace and all that"

Given that you weren't around Yoyogi, that's really surprising. I've lived here for yonks, but I almost never see the whole Pink House thing anymore (yes, Japan-hands, I know I'm dating myself by calling it Pink House, but that's what the non-black gothloli stuff looks like to me, still). I can only make two guesses:

1) You just happened to be by some event which attracted a lot of them. For example, I work relatively close to the Budokan, which is a big concert venue, so some days when I get on the train, it's all hip-hop kids, other days it's all visual-kei, other days it's punk, etc.

2) It's the phenomenon, shared by all people, of "remembering the hits, forgetting the misses". You see 1000 people, one is pink and lacy, and the other 999 fade into the background. So in the end, you've seen very few, compared to the total number of people you've seen, but the impression you're left with, since you forget the misses, is "pervasive".

Not saying there's anything wrong with you for that. It's just human nature.
posted by Bugbread at 6:08 PM on June 12, 2009


Also, I think what gets overlooked, a LOT (especially for Japan, don't know about other countries) is that, while of course a lot of adults look at these pics, a lot of them are actually targeted at junior high and high-school kids. Looking at the big weekly comic books (which is where a huge amount of this pinup photography comes from), the comics marketed at folks in their 30's and 40's (the comics with lots of Mah Jongg and businessman comics) show sultry aggressive-looking women in skimpy garb. The comics marketed at folks in their 10's (lots of Dragonball-like comics) have lots of teens looking young and cute holding fluffy pillows or the like. They're infantilized because their audience is still infantile.

Don't get me wrong, there's a goodly sized number of adults who like the whole infantile look. But that number isn't enough to support the massive number of photos we're talking about. The thing that supports that photo market are the late-elementary, junior high, and high school kids who are pretty much in the same age range that the models are trying to look like.
posted by Bugbread at 6:15 PM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, you know what I'm describing isn't really that similar to loli style, more like Laura Ashley. Seriously feminine getups that were high-end and rather professional looking. Lots of women dressed as if they were going to an English Tea.

Say, the average might be a blush-colored cardigan with a crocheted collar over a battenberg blouse and a pleated floral skirt, with crocheted tights and flats with bows on the toes, a ruffly hobo bag and pink dangly earrings. Not looking ironic in the least.

It's hardly a mind-blowing sight, just extremely feminine-coded professional wear but it seems to be a popular look, I especially noticed how the light colors stood out among the suits and other dark clothes, and I've never seen it with such frequency here in the states.

I guess lumping that look in with "cute" culture could be derogatory, but it struck me as a bit precious and maybe reactionary.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:19 PM on June 12, 2009


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