Category: fashion

Weekender | The media and Dolce and Gabbana’s …

Weekender | The media and Dolce and Gabbana’s Chinese ad controversy:

‘You don’t love China, you love money’

These ads feature an Asian woman in a
red garment in front of a backdrop perhaps best described as
pseudo-Oriental, eating Italian food with a pair of chopsticks. This
could have been an innocent stab at merging two cultures, but the shoddy
execution of these videos proved otherwise. Vaguely Oriental music,
complete with high flutes and the stereotypical gong, plays in the
background as a male voice mansplains in Chinese to the woman how to eat
a pizza, cannoli and spaghetti with chopsticks.

With an intentional mispronunciation of Dolce and Gabbana to mimic a
Chinese accent, the man refers to chopsticks as “stick-like objects”
while depicting Italian food as superior. The line specifically
translates to “figure out how you will use these little stick-like
objects to eat our magnificent Margherita pizza,” followed by the model
stabbing the pie with single chopsticks as though she has never seen a
chopstick, nor a pizza, in her life.

Delving into the nuances of these ads
reveals the layers of ignorant prejudices and sentiments of supposed
Western cultural superiority. Though the “eating instructions” are
spoken in Chinese, it could not be clearer that the script was written
by a non-Chinese individual, or perhaps a team of non-Chinese
individuals. The effect of hearing a Chinese voice speak out these
insensitive comments, with appropriately mocking inflections, is
surreal. It speaks in the internalized voice of cultural inferiority and
self-negation, fuelled by someone else’s words in Chinese mouths…

Aside from the offensive ads and the outright racist comments from Stefano Gabbana’s Instagram account immediately after the Chinese outrage, there also lies a subtler form of racism in the Western media’s portrayal of the event.Reading through coverage of the
scandal, I have found a common thread, with articles focusing on the
projected economic loss and consequences of these ads. As McKinsey reports, the Chinese market makes up a third of global luxury expenditures.
It implies that Dolce and Gabbana should apologize because of the
monetary losses from Chinese consumers and fails to address that the
real apology should be sincerely directed to the racist acts. The
articles focusing on protests, returns and decreased sales misattribute
why companies should be culturally aware and sensitive. If China did not
contribute a third of sales, would its misrepresented citizens not
warrant an apology?

Background

Crystal Liu / Liu Yifei 刘亦菲

Crystal Liu / Liu Yifei 刘亦菲

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