Asian Walkens and the multicultural va-jay-jay

22 Jul


1) Somebody didn’t attend Ogilvy & Mather’s cross-cultural marketing conference this week. Stacey Rivera disembowels a vaginal “empowerment” campaign (which also features a sassy black vagina):

“The good people at Summer’s Eve have launched a new “empowerment” campaign, “Hail to the V”, designed to sell their feminine wash products (which are universally known to be bad for you as explained here). But it turns out that by empowerment they really mean dusting off some terrible old stereotypes. The ads, which feature a vertical talking hand surrounded by graphics meant to indicate the ethnicity of the va-jay-jay (as if that isn’t offensive enough) go on to—in the case of the Latina—speak in slang, complain about a leopard thong, and of course, show the obligatory red lipstick. Oh yeah, and the Latina va-jay-jay has “seen it all” but maybe they didn’t think you’d catch that part since it was in SPANISH!

I am a Latina. Puerto Rican. I was born and raised in New York. I went to college. I have a job and a son. I have never in my life said ‘Ay yay yay’. I don’t speak Spanish, and neither does my va-jay-jay!

Evidently, they couldn’t afford Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

The company’s response to overwhelming backlash is destined to become a case study in its own right. 1) Pass the twitter reins to a robot. 2) Blame the in house multi-cutural expert.

2) The Social Tattoo project was drawn from the idea that empathy has become a trend. We care about big world issues…until the next thing happens. A tattoo, on the other hand, is permanent. Participants sign up for a tattoo that represents “the concerns of the world” instead of their own.

The catch is, they have no idea what it is going to be of. That part, is for you to decide. We turn to the Twitterverse to find out what the world cares about. For each social tattoo, we will post 4 top trending topics. To vote on which topic you think should be the subject of the social tattoo, tweet @social_tattoo using #socialtattoo and your #favorite trending topic.

Somebody’s gonna get a #SpanishSpeakingVaJayJay social tattoo tonight.

3) And somebody’s going to make 10 different Tanjore Maratha Curries tonight too! Fmed steers us to the One Page Cookbooks of a retired tech entrepreneur named Ramki who lives in Chennai. Ramki’s blog is a series of one-page Twecipes/Cheat Sheets designed “with the belief that all cuisines are comprised of basic major themes and their derived variants.” We’ll start with Kubbat Ruzz.

4) This week’s New Yorker has an uplifting account of the Rwanda Cycling Team. “Rwanda needs heroes,” a sports fan in Kigali, the capital, told Philip Gourevitch, and by doing something that every Rwandan could identify with—riding bicycles—these young men were fulfilling that need.

All of them, Hutu and Tutsi, had been scarred, and they knew each other’s stories. They knew how they had been divided by identity in the past, and that those divisions still figure in Rwandan life, but they wanted to be known for something else.


5) In honour of The Walken Family Reunion, we should attempt an entire post on the greater meaning of the Asian Walken. There is, we have learned clicking one YouTube impersonation after the next, something fundamentally Asian in Walken’s soul. Or is it in his eyes? The phlegmatic wheeze between pauses? Maybe it’s the way he says gook? SungHero explains the technique:

The thing about Walken is he really has about four different voices. The easiest one to do is when he’s very excited. His voice starts cracking…Then there’s the queiter Christopher Walken voice, with the gritty peacefulness. The third is the whisper. And the hardest and most fun is when Walken yells. Because you can’t half-yell. You need to watch the Dead Zone for this one.

6) CBC’s Revision Quest really hits its stride with this week’s outstanding Two Spirited episode. Revision’s host Darrell Dennis adds an interesting postcript:

I really enjoyed the differing opinions on the value of the term “two spirited” from those who embrace it and those who reject it. A question we always ask ourselves in our staff meetings when discussing the episodes is, “what is the surprise that we discover in this show?” For me, there were two surprises. The first being, that I didn’t know that the term two spirited was a recent term. I always thought it was a reclaimed concept from the days of pre-contact. The second is I assumed that all Aboriginal people in the GLBT community just accepted the term “two spirited” as their identifier. However as we heard in today’s episode, there is as much derision about the term, the history, and the concept, as any other issue in Native communities.

Embarrassingly, these preconceptions came from the host of a show that attempts to bust Aboriginal stereotypes by pointing out that Native identities and outlooks are as complex and numerous as there are Natives. I’m embarrassed to admit that I am NOT the end all, be all, know it all, on all things Aboriginal. Just don’t tell anyone. At some point I may still have to show my face around the CBC again.

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