“Remember that it’s both possible and even necessary to simultaneously enjoy media while being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects.” — Anita Sarkeesian, culture critic and host of Feminist Frequency
I have a sad, terrifying confession to make: I’ve been listening to Priyanka Chopra featuring Pitbull’s “Exotic” on repeat at the gym, in the car, at work, and even at home. I’ve been screaming out the lyrics when possible. I find myself involuntarily dancing along to this anthem. I’m not immune to its infectious charm — it’s a certifiable “summer jam.” See for yourself:
This anthem is the pinnacle of a pop conundrum: It’s exploitative, it’s derivative, it’s trashy. It tokenizes Indian identity as its centerpiece for Western audiences. However, it’s also an excellent case study in how an American entertainment market constantly seeking to promote homogeneity has stacked the odds against Indian performers — so much so that they have to play into existing stereotypes in order to get a proper foothold into the market.