In other news, there's a guy roaming the streets of Tokyo grabbing women's heads and forcing them into his crotch. His name is Julien Blanc, and according to Gawker, this video of his dating workshop — yes, he runs a dating workshop — went viral this week and sparked an international outcry:
Citing a Daily Mail report, the Japan Times writes that Blanc charges $3,000 a head for advice on how to attract women. He runs his workshop through Real Social Dynamics, a "dating company" that peddles physical coercion and psychological manipulation as "pickup" tactics for socially awkward men.
Blanc is not the first of his kind. The pickup artist (PUA) community earned notoriety when it was documented in the 2005 bestseller The Game, and has long been reviled for the misogyny that fuels its tactics. But the video reveals another component — a racist undercurrent that speaks volumes about the links between these two forms of oppression.
"If you're a white male in Tokyo, you can do what you want [to a woman]," Blanc says in the video.
He goes on to advise his pupils, "Just grab her ... I pull her in, and she kind of, like, laughs and giggles. And all you have to say to, like, take the pressure off is just yell, 'Pikachu' or 'Pokémon' or 'Tamagotchi' or something ... I'm just romping through the streets, just grabbing girls' heads like, head pfft [sic] on the dick, head on the dick, yelling 'Pikachu' with a Pikachu shirt [on]."
Yeah. This would be troubling without all the colonial overtones and sexist cultural presumptions, but in the context of widespread fetishization around Asian women — who are framed in Western culture as either exotic and hypersexualized or demure and submissive — the racial implications take on the same power dynamic as the misogyny.
These are not mutually exclusive. Throughout history, racial inequality has empowered the oppression of women and vice versa, a disparity most apparent in the unique health care access barriers women of color face, among other things. That Blanc feels entitled to treat Japanese women in a way that, presumably, he would not treat white women betrays how unavoidable this connection is.
It's important to consider these issues in tandem, because they are constantly colluding with one another. Luckily, an Asian-American woman named Jennifer Li caught Blanc's video on Tumblr and launched an online campaign that eventually reached the man himself, according to the Japan Times. Gawker reports that three hotels in Australia, where Blanc was slated to run a series of workshops, barred him from the premises as a result of this external pressure. And as a final blow, Australia has now revoked his visa altogether.
It's satisfying comeuppance for a man who's may have single-handedly destroyed our collective faith in the human race. With any luck, the oppressive structures he so readily employs are similarly dismantled moving forward.