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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! America’s Next Top Model And “Portraying” Race

October 30th, 2009 | 7 comments | Posted by Jen

Tyra Banks is the Mistress of Babble. She’s usurped the word “fierce” from drag queens and publicly abused it to the point that it’s been emptied of all meaning and packs the same linguistic punch as clearing one’s throat. Her biggest contribution to the English language, “smizing,” or “smiling with your eyes,” is a made-up modeling term that’s also a paradox, something she’s defined in the past as “squinting with your eyes open” (and something that I happen to really suck at).

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Her crazy talk extends beyond modeling to the “social” ideas she explores on both her talk show and America’s Next Top Model. Remember when she put on a fat suit for a day to understand what it was like to be the victim of what she called the “last form of open discrimination that’s okay”? Or when she had the Cycle 10 ANTM contestants “do” homeless, posing with real-life homeless youth, and told the models she understood what it was like to live on the streets because she (again) did it for a day on her talk show?

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Racial Musical Chairs

July 31st, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen


Barack Obama might be the first Asian-American president. Michelle Malkin responds by claiming she’s black. Robert Downey, Jr. is a white actor playing a white actor playing a black character in the soon-to-be-released comedy Tropic Thunder. He’s either in blackface, post-blackface, or wearing some kind of meta-blackface. Vanessa Hudgens–who is Chinese, Filipina, Latina, Irish, and Native American–tells Teen Vogue that she loves that her High School Musical character Gabriella is “Hispanic” because “it’s nice to be able to stand up for people who don’t have someone to look up to very often.” To paraphrase our Pinaysian Intern Jasmine, guess her Chinese, Filipina, and Native American fans are SOL when it comes to role models. Wait, Vanessa Hudgens is a role model??

In other news, I just looked in the mirror, and I’M STILL ASIAN. Phew.

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Thanks, Jasmine!

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Still Super

June 23rd, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Supermodel citizen Naomi Campbell was convicted of assault Friday and sentenced to 200 community service hours for creating a disturbance on a British Airways flight and spitting on two Heathrow police officers in April. Naomi has been found guilty of assault two times previously; in 2000 for hitting her assistant with a phone, and in 2007 for hitting her maid with a crystal-encrusted Blackberry.

Campbell blamed her April “air rage” incident on British Airways, claiming that an airline employee called her a “Golliwog supermodel.” “Golliwog” refers to a hideous, blackface children’s book character popular one hundred years ago:


Which isn’t far-fetched, especially considering this recent exposé about “casual racism” at the British airline.

But, Naomi, we think you should look on the bright side:

At least someone still considers you a supermodel.

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We Are the Worl

March 3rd, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

When watching this Japanese re-creation of “We Are the World,” are you freaked out by all the blackface…

…or have you, too, always wanted to reenact this?

I love the Japanese Cyndi Lauper. I want to be her for Halloween.

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