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November 1994, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Miss L Chua <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 24 Nov 1994 10:16:04 CST
<> from "Top5 Publications" at Nov 23, 94 01:57:04 pm
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> On Tuesday, Nov. 22, P. Feng said:
> > (3) And certainly the portrait of Pilipina women was not politically
> >     correct under any definition.
> Bravo!  I was hoping someone would bring this point up.  I was sitting
> here, biting my tongue because of my recent unpopular stance on Quentin
> Tarantino's use of racist language.
> I, too, found that particular sequence to be tasteless -- and needlessly
> so, just like Tarantino & PF.  It marred an otherwise wonderful film.  It
> is particularly hard to understand in this case because *Priscilla* was
> otherwise so understanding in its depiction of people who live outside the
> established "norms" of contemporary society.
> Christopher White
Yes, I agree with both P. Feng and Christopher White, that the
representation of Pilipina women was rather stereotypically incorrect.
(Note: I am not talking "PC" here.) I hate to generalise here, but in
relation to C. White's comments that this was particularly hard to
understand because the representation of other people who live outside
the established norms of society were more  sympathetic, there could be
one obvious reason: namely, the "other people" were gay men /transexual,
or straight "hippie-type" men, or aborigines. Having lived in Australasia
for many years recently, the trend in filmmaking and the "PC" world, is
to tread very carefully in relation to lesbian/gay rights/representation
(because of the gay movement there) and also to represent aborigines
sympathetically (along with the gay movement, the aborigine movement is
also gaining momentum). Unfortunately, the position of the Asian, in
aprticular the Asian/Pilipina/Thai women, is still not renegotiated as
yet. Basically, to sum it up simply, it is still acceptable to make
anti-Asian jokes (and represent them in a negatively stereotypical way)
in Australia, wheras it is not so acceptable to make homophobic or
anti-aborigine comments. This could possibly explain why Priscilla -
being very much an Australian film - still portrayed Pilipina women the
way it did. Yes, it does spoil an otherwise brilliant film.