The reinvention of the new “Orient Woman”
According to Said, “Oritentalism”, the colonial stereotype is a complex
and contradictory process. It arises due to the fear of miscegenation, yet the “other” is
prefigured as being simultaneously an object of fear and desire. The “other”, on one
hand, a subject of suppressed, disgust and discrimination, the other, it is a dream, fantasy,
obsessions and desire. Therefore, it is fair to infer that the Orient is not a property of
bodies or something originally existent in human beings; rather it is the social construct.
Specifically, it is the product of the society’s dominant class – the Whites, the master-
narrative. Racial differences have been used as a basis for racial stereotypes, for instance
the White “norm” versus Non-white people. It is clear that racial identity is marked on
skin. It is undeniable that some stereotypes do/might have a basis of truth, however such
stereotypes do not take into the account of differences among the Orient. It is out of fear
and apprehensiveness that lead to the birth of such unjust stereotypes, the film “Memoirs
of a Geisha” directed by Rob Marshall highlights the irony of the stereotypes resulting in
fragmentations of identity.
Tan Boon Ting 2
“Memoirs of a Geisha” (Marshall, 2005) offers an interesting twist to our
typical story-telling, the women are no longer silenced, and the story is told through the
voice of a woman (though written by a male writer). It highlights the death of the master-
narrative, as it highlights the differences among the “other” women, the presence of
“Geisha” debukes the stereotype of women as “Angel of Home” perception (diversion of
the master-narrative). Identity crisis is a major theme in the film, at first glance, audience
is introduced to Sayuri as an innocent 7 year old and seems like your typical girl-next-...