Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet: Race, Gender, and the Work of Personal Style Blogging
Minh-Ha T. Pham is Assistant Professor in the Graduate Media Studies Program at the Pratt Institute. Her research has been featured in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Atlantic, the San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, NPR, Jezebel, and the Huffington Post.
The Taste and Aftertaste for Asian Superbloggers
Guided by Pierre Bourdieu’s theory that tastes are shaped by “the logic of the space of [taste] production,” this chapter sets out to understand the influential if contentious force of Asian superbloggers’ fashion tastes and styles by first examining the cultural logic structuring the taste for Asian superbloggers’ tastes. Chapter 1 discusses the historical, cultural, and political legacy of dominant racial tastes—and distastes—for Asians. The “cheap Asian” stereotype provides a critical model of one specific articulation of racial tastes for and against Asianness. The stereotype has functioned paradoxically to position Asians both as a model minority labor force willing to work hard for little compensation or reward and as a racial threat to economic opportunities that “belong” to whites. In the digital fashion media economy, Asian cheapness has been recoded. The cheapening of Asian superbloggers’ journalistic and personal ethics is implied or stated outright by suggestions that they are either blogging for the pure love of fashion (and so do not require remuneration) or for the love of attention and free stuff. What contemporary constructions of Asian cheapness reveal about the liberal multicultural logic of the present space of taste production and the limits of the popular appetite for Asianness (or racial diversity) are discussed in chapter 1.