Disheartening stereotyped role

Nagoya

The April 7 column When East Marries West, titled “Texting in the proper context,” was brought to my attention the other day. In it, not only has the writer, Thomas Dillon, objectified Japanese women as a group of vapor-heads with “walnut-eyes,” he also pigeonholes himself into a stereotypical role created by a few white Western men who assume that their every move is being documented by the women around them.

There once was a niche market for this kind of writing in the form of a comic strip titled “Charisma Man”. It was a genre of humor that pandered to the white, male, English-conversation teacher in a frat-boy styled magazine.

To find this tripe in a national newspaper is disheartening and disturbing. I don’t need to stick up for Western men or worry that their reputation is being soiled by one column in a newspaper. And I certainly don’t need to defend the intellect of Japanese women; they can do that on their own.

However, I believe it necessary to speak up when I witness such openly sexist hogwash written in a national newspaper.

Would this column have made it past the editor’s cut in any respectable publication overseas? Is Japan an exception, where a national newspaper can publish a column devoted not only to objectifying Japanese women but also to having these women appear as dimwitted gold diggers? Why are articles that denigrate Japanese women acceptable forms of humor?

And why is there not more of a backlash? Two reasons come to mind: First, many of us have become so desensitized to this sort of base objectification of Japanese women that it barely registers on our radar. Second, perhaps like me, most Japan Times readers just don’t read Dillon’s column.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

sarah mulvey