Friday, August 10, 2012

Activism as Parody from the women of Wellesley College

A few months ago I was sent a link to a Youtube video by two Wellesley College students, Nicole and Meliora.  I didn't click on it because (a) I'm never sure if things are a "scam" and some awful virus would infect my computer (b) the email account that is connected to this blog isn't one I check on a regular basis.  So I saw it and then forgot about it.

Thankfully I decided that I should trust Niclole & Meliora (after all, they're women of a seven sister's school and I have a soft spot in my heart for all seven sister schools after having taught at Mount Holyoke College for 3 years).  What I found was a parody based on Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"--a parody of Asian American stereotypes.

[Note: If you have NO IDEA what I'm talking about, just google "Call Me Maybe" and "Youtube" and you will find both the original music video that Jepsen did AND a host of parodies, most famously the US Swim team did one and my favorite is by "Corgi" Rae Jepsen]

Nicole and Meliora sent me a description of what inspired them to make this parody and what they hope to accomplish in terms of Asian American activism.  It's rather long, but let me quote a segment for you:

As we all know, the media is a conduit that allows artists and visionaries to express their opinions to the general public, and in many ways this expression can be very liberating and has become a staple of American society. What is not liberating however is the underrepresentation of minority groups in the media that runs the risk of portraying a race as one collective identity. Especially in communities where there is very little interaction between racial groups, the few representations the media provides can set societal expectations or stereotypes for how a race should be approached.
With the hopes of challenging these stereotypes my fellow classmate Nicole and I embarked on an exciting journey of composing, directing and editing our own music video about breaking down the typical Asian stereotypes projected in the media. Our goal is to see how influential we as two students, with limited political connections and resources, can be in getting our voices heard. We decided the best way to do this would be combining pop culture, activism, and the Internet.
The stereotypes Nicole and I address in this video are all ones that have been projected within the media at some point or another: submissiveness/ politeness; the excessive type A personality that excels in mathematics, chess and the medical field; the martial artist; the uncultured Asian that eats strange foods and speaks in broken English; the nerdy anime lover; the over sexualized Asian that will “love you long time” or engage in such strange fetishes as tentacle porn; the stereotype that all Asians look like; and of course the age old stereotype of bad Asian drivers. We try to address and conquer all of them. However, we are aware our video will be working against years of engrained racism that has targeted both Asian American men and women.
Anyway, please watch Nicole & Meliora's activism as parody in "Just Don't Call Me."  I, for one, applaud their desire to challenge stereotypes and educate us while making us laugh.

1 comment:

Bickford said...

Loved the reference to the video that white blonde student in California made (was it from UCLA)?