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Reinvention of the Orient Women

In: Film and Music

Submitted By blaine
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The reinvention of the new “Orient Woman”

According to Said, “Oritentalism”, the colonial stereotype is a complex

and contradictory process. It arises due to the fear of miscegenation, yet the “other” is

prefigured as being simultaneously an object of fear and desire. The “other”, on one

hand, a subject of suppressed, disgust and discrimination, the other, it is a dream, fantasy,

obsessions and desire. Therefore, it is fair to infer that the Orient is not a property of

bodies or something originally existent in human beings; rather it is the social construct.

Specifically, it is the product of the society’s dominant class – the Whites, the master-

narrative. Racial differences have been used as a basis for racial stereotypes, for instance

the White “norm” versus Non-white people. It is clear that racial identity is marked on

skin. It is undeniable that some stereotypes do/might have a basis of truth, however such

stereotypes do not take into the account of differences among the Orient. It is out of fear

and apprehensiveness that lead to the birth of such unjust stereotypes, the film “Memoirs

of a Geisha” directed by Rob Marshall highlights the irony of the stereotypes resulting in

fragmentations of identity.

“Memoirs of a Geisha” (Marshall, 2005) offers an interesting twist to our

typical story-telling, the women are no longer silenced, and the story is told through the

voice of a woman (though written by a male writer). It highlights the death of the master-

narrative, as it highlights the differences among the “other” women, the presence of

“Geisha” debukes the stereotype of women as “Angel of Home” perception (diversion of

the master-narrative). Identity crisis is a major theme in the film, at first glance, audience

is introduced to Sayuri as an innocent 7 year old and seems like your typical girl-next-

door figure, but as the film progresses, audience begin to notice a diversion of her

innocent figure. On one hand, she is like a little girl who is just growing up too fast,

without proper guidance, yet on the other hand, her attitude towards sex and her sexual

affairs with man for power and deception come across sympatric, yet disgust. She is no

longer the naïve young girl persona we see at first, but someone growing more

complicated and more gray - an angel with broken wings, bad girl with a halo over her

horns, a product of a dysfunctional family, a girl growing up too soon. This leaves room

for fragmentations and the need to pursue multi-narratives within the society. It clearly

illustrates that we no longer conforms to the master narrative, the voices of the multiple

narratives must be expressed. identity. As the film progresses, more and more hidden

stories are unveiled, within its hidden stories (narratives), an enriching experience all too

familiar in life, yet rare in cinema.

Works Cited

Bhabha, H (1990). “The Other Question: Difference, Discrimination and the Discourse of

Colonialism” in Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures. E.d Ferguson et

al. New York: The New Museum of Contemporary Art & Massachuestts Institute of

Technology, pp. 71-88

Baudrillard, J. (1983). The precession of simulacra. In. J. Storey (Ed.), Cultural theory

and popular culture: A reader (pp. 350-357). London: Pearson.

Media Text:

Memoirs of a Geisha (2005). Dir. Rob Marshall. Columbia Pictures, inc and Dreamworks

L.L.C and Spyglass Entertainment Group L.L.C…...

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