I was reading a terrible, terrible book last night that I abandoned. But before I stopped reading it, the author described someone who was Asian as an “exotic beauty.” And then I threw the book on the wall and stomped on it and vowed to never, ever read again.
No, not really, because I was reading on my kindle, and I love that sucker.
But I did come up with the rant that you are about to read on the improper use of the word “exotic” by Caucasian authors. Ready? Set? GO.
Here is a map of the world as authors who use the word “exotic” see it:
And here is a map of the world as would appear by population density:
Image via The Telegraph
Do you see how the non-exotic lands are a little less populated? Yeah? Do you see how, if authors are going by the definition of exotic as, “outlandish, strange, or foreign,” that by sheer NUMBER, the thing that would be strange would be…white skin?
And YES. I realize this is about perspective, and to this author’s character, an Asian woman is “strange” or “foreign” to her. Except that this particular character lives in Seattle, where 13.6% of the population is Asian (by the statistics provided here by the City of Seattle). That’s more than 1 in 10 people. If I saw a beagle once for every ten people on the street, I would not call beagles “an exotic animal.” I would call them pretty damn normal.
So, dear author, I’M NOT AN EXOTIC BEAUTY OR ANIMAL. I am more normal than YOU in most of the world. WAY MORE NORMAL. And here? I’m as exotic as a beagle.