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Looking at Victoria Secret through the lens of the Matrix of Domination

I've been thinking about Patricia Hill Collins' Matrix of Domination when considering the recent Victoria Secret 'Sexy Little Geisha' product, which blew up in recognition recently thanks to Racialicious. Nina Jacinto notices, "When someone creates a collection like this, making inauthentic references to “Eastern culture” (whatever that means) with hints of red or a fan accessory or floral designs, it reinforces a narrative that says that all Asian cultures–and their women–are exotic, far away but easy to access."

I would go on to say that we need to apply the matrix of domination to our critical lens of technology, and consider the use of 'matrix' as a space that we can add dimensions in analysis. Along with race, class and gender, I want to think about capitalism, citizenship and technology In this instance. The image of a white woman in a geisha-lingerie outfit is a product of capitalist markets of production. The outfit itself is probably produced in sweat-shop like conditions in Asia (or Latin America) by the women that are being racially sexualized. Not only does this image reach back into the sexualized-orientalism of colonization, but it also hearkens to today's systems of sexuality and capitalism, where oversees factories are new forms of occupation. The new American orientalism intersects with capital production and puts a purchasing price on exoticism. Technology plays a role in reproducing and circulating American Orientalist tropes, the 'Sexy Little Geisha' is a far away one dimensional caricature that calls to the viewer to purchase their own, but the role technology as a moderator keeps the viewer in safe distance. 

There is also a lingering question of who is interpellated in the product/image? The citizen that exists here is a white woman, who can consume her identity and kinship by buying the product. The absent person, the Asian woman who is hinted at, is needed to be disappeared for the white woman to exist. Her absence, both in the production of the product and who the product alludes to, is part of how capitalism determines who is within the nation and who is on the peripheries. 

Since looking into this hot topic, my search engine algorithm on Google and Yahoo has targeted me as an Victoria Secret shopper. On my Facebook, images of black models in lingerie for Victoria Secret appears. In Yahoo, images of white models appear clothed. Another element of the the matrix of domination circulates after I have consumed this image, which is a calculation based on my searching to identify me as a consumer. Recently, a classmate said that his Facebook ads were about citizenship in the U.S. through asylum. He is gay and from Spain, so his own algorithm predicted from his surname that he might be from a country that does not have progressive gay rights laws. This ad itself seems to re-circulate the homonational myth that the U.S. is completely homophobic free and that anywhere that someone with a Spanish/Latino surname comes from is more homophobic. A question that we can think about in response to these technological interpellations is 'how does the algorithm attempt to determine inclusions and exclusions of citizenship?' 'How does it re-instate heteronormative identities?' and 'How are the ads/images in my feed determining my level of kinship in the Nation-state?' Using Collin's Matrix of Domination, we can see representations of gender, race and class in technology as complicated systems of power, interpellated on systems of citizenship and set on the stage of capitalism. 


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