While the rest of the world put on fancy dresses and tried to look interested in the Golden Globe, [actress] Katy Perry traipsed around the world to China. She posted a photo of herself on the Great Wall, doing a fairly impressive pose (pictured)
People magazine described her look as follows: “Perry’s wardrobe is uncharacteristically low-key in the shot: She’s wearing a simple jacket, jeans and shades, though she has accented the outfit with a conical Chinese ‘paddy hat’.”
Hmm. Something about this doesn’t seem right. While I don’t think Perry meant any real offense, I looked into the narrative behind white women wearing traditional Asian garments, and found some compelling points about how doing so contributes to a larger, negative message about Asian people.
To say “it’s racist to wear “rice paddy” hat if you’re not Asian” isn’t really the point, or the whole picture.
Racism is this undercurrent that pervades so much of today’s society, not a label to slap onto situations, and the whole rice paddy hat thing is yet another symptom of it.
It’s so many issues about that particular scenario that make it wrong, like the fact that Asian people would never be able to wear shit like that (I’m American so I’m speaking for America) and be seen as “fashionable.” It’s the fact that people don’t want to see that hat on an Asian body, but a white one, because if a rice paddy hat is on an Asian person, it signifies “rice paddy” or “FOB.”
On a white body, the hat becomes just clothing. And that hurts. It hurts that we can’t wear things from our own culture and be seen as JUST fashionable.
The article does not give a link for the Angry Asian rant, but I found it here.