As Ang observes, images of Asian women have been used in Australia to represent successful multiculturalism. This is achieved by virtue of their being presented as desirably feminine and identifiably different, which also serves to maintain their marginality. Images of Eurasian women work somewhat differently to achieve similar objectives in the global market. They represent an effortless cosmopolitanism beyond location, ancestry, citizenship and language and their inclusion in this discourse is achieved by virtue of being differently sexualised and racialised. They are called into the familiarity of white/sameness as well as the sexual allure and dissimilarity of exotic Otherness.
Eurasian femininity plays on sameness as much as difference, its hybridity buys back into male rationalisations of female sexuality and dominant white western notions of beauty. This is how Eurasian femininity is admitted into the repertoire of white sexualised femininity and comes to represent homogenising and universalising notions of beauty, fashion, style, youth and sexuality. Eurasian images are thus implicated in the commodified production of desire. They appeal to men because of their associations with the power of the West and the power of whiteness, and to women because of their association with women’s power bases in the West, namely economic independence and provocative sexuality (Schein). Moreover, in cultures where dark skin is associated with manual labour, western assumptions of white aesthetics and superiority overlay local histories of class and elitism. In short, Eurasian iconography replays hybrid representational forms and historically con- tingent stereotypes to construct itself as a vehicle for global and Western commercial values. Stereotypes are inconsistent, non-synchronous and play on the desires of the pinioned and positioned…
…Eurasian/mixed race can be taken to represent a form of new-age me ́tissage mixedness comprising cosmopolitan hybridity and diasporic transnational mobility. Its racial ambiguity and almost white femininity points as much to the spectacular success of global markets and media as to progressive civility or openness to ‘others’. Old categories are reassembled to provide profitable variations and instant enchantment which fleetingly assuages fears of the indeterminate, the other and the ‘mixed’.
written by Julie Matthews, “Eurasian Persuasians: Mixed Race, Performativity and Cosmopolitanism,” Journal of Intercultural Studies vol 28 no 1 Feb 2007.
Unfortunately however, the theorisation of mixed race is limited in Australia (Perkins), Britain and to a lesser extent America (Gilbert). As noted earlier the new ‘politics of difference’ and notions of hybridity, diaspora and syncretism, derived almost entirely from theories of Black cultural identities and productions, have rendered the Asian (and mixed-race) experience invisible, silent, transfixed and ripe to be ‘translated by the (largely white) anthropological gaze’ (Alexander 557).
Despite the proliferation of new vocabularies, there is a distinct reticence to explore their relationship to bodies and intermixtures. For the most part ‘race’ is theorised through the discrete binary matrix of black or white skin colour. Recent interest in whiteness theory has done little to challenge this and advance our understanding of mixed-raced positions such as described by Perkins in terms of:
a non-white, non-Indigenous, yet non-ethnic Australian - a position that is neither black nor white, nor marked as newly arrived and marginalized within multi-cultural exoticism.
Julie Matthews, “Eurasian Persuasians: Mixed Race, Performativity and Cosmopolitanism,” Journal of Intercultural Studies vol 28 no 1 Feb 2007.