I'm going to be obnoxiously Asian American right now.

This outfit isn't much, but if you look at my face, you might notice that it's tinged slightly more yellow than usual.

Above, gray t-shirt: mother's. Jacket: gift. Skirt: Nordstrom Rack. Leggings: United Colors of Benetton. Socks: gift. Shoes: Fafi for Adidas.

For our Asian American Studies class, our final is a group project (boo!), and my group decided to do a video project (boo!) where we performed in whiteface and yellowface, the respective white and East Asian equivalents of blackface. While I didn't get a chance to put on eyeliner to make my eyes more slanty and narrow than usual (I don't know if this even counts as yellowface, since I am yellow), I did smear my whole face with bright yellow costume makeup. I couldn't wash all of it off after filming, which is why my face is still kind of yellow.

Also, when we watched the 1961 movie version of the musical Flower Drum Song in class, I didn't realize that Juanita Hall, who plays Madame "Auntie" Liang, is black. How could I not notice when the movie was in color? Because she was in yellowface.

But what really threw me is when I went home to look up yellowface performances, this series of articles titled "The 25 Most Infamous Yellowface Film Performances" from AsianWeek came up. Takeaway points:
  1. Christopher Lee (who was Saruman in the Lord of the Rings movies) played evil villain Fu Manchu in yellowface.
  2. So did Nicholas Cage.
  3. Marlon Brando has acted in yellowface.
  4. As has Katherine Hepburn.
  5. You'd think that a romantic comedy that is a fashion favorite involving Audrey Hepburn and "Moon River" would be a little classier, but Breakfast at Tiffany's does feature yellowface with Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi.
  6. A phrase that sounds totally inappropriate but is descriptive of the 1956 film The Conqueror: "John Wayne as Genghis Khan."
Two points I would like to make, though, are that number 25, Christopher Walken as evil ping-pong master Feng in Balls of Fury (2007), really shouldn't count as yellowface, since he didn't have yellowface makeup on and apparently avoided a racist portrayal, and Eddie Murphy as Mr. Wong in Norbit (2007) probably doesn't count either because apparently the whole movie is ridiculously racist. Equal opportunity racism is totally acceptable because it's so self-aware.

Not to sound all righteous and mighty, since I haven't watched any of the films blacklisted. (Yellowlisted?) Let me leave you with a snippet of Flower Drum Song, the song entitled "Chop Suey," which is both really frustrating because of the song itself and distracting because of the dresses!:

couture allure vintage fashion 1960s green vintage lace chiffon full skirt party dressAbove, $40 from Couture Allure Vintage Fashion

badgley mischka saks fifth avenue full skirt dressAbove, by Badgley Mischka, from Saks Fifth Avenue

viva vintage clothing green chiffon early 1960s tea length party dressAbove, $95 at Viva Vintage Clothing
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