Earlier this week on Jimmy Kimmel Live, everyone’s favorite yeast infection impersonator spoke, in a shout-y voice, of many things. Her vacation plans, her upbringing, and her autobiographical documentary were all topics of conversation. But unfortunately for Katy Perry, it seems the above clip is destined to overshadow those other things around the internet today, for it contains everything we love to latch onto like a dog with a meat-scented rag: fashion, idiocy, and potential racism.
The clip begins innocently enough as Katy discusses her love of Japanese culture. Her sister, you see, was once upon a time sent away to reform school for stealing lingerie from Macy’s, so her parents started inviting Japanese exchange students to live in her room. She thought these exchange students were just a riot, what with their funny foreign ways and their Hello Kitty and their cleanliness and their eating with sticks and their…are you uncomfortable yet?
In case that answer is “no,” she then sunk even deeper into what was probably supposed to be self-parody and said, “I’m so obsessed with you, I wanna skin you and wear you like Versace.” Well then! Sounds like someone doesn’t want to be let back into Japan. Is Katy Perry secretly a serial killer?
While I don’t think she was trying to be racist, I do think she unwittingly highlighted (in a less subtle way than say, Gwen Stefani) the vaguely Orientalist fascination Western fashion people have with Japan. Yes, the country is full of cool and colorful shit, but it’s still not okay to treat Japanese people like so many designer handbags. You cannot actually fit them in your pocket, either.