The Hipster Grifter Actually Embodies the Opposite of the Asian “Submissive” Myth
/ April 20, 2009

The Internet has recently been ablaze with tale of the “Awakenings download.com/2009/style/hipster-grifter?page=0″>Hipster Grifter,” an adopted Korean girl with a huge chest tattoo from Utah that has been conning her way through Salt Lake City and the hipsterland of Brooklyn. Kari Farrell is petite, cute-ish, charming, and on Salt Lake City’s most wanted list for stealing something like $60,000 from a lot of people by being incredibly sexually aggressive (“I want you to throw your hot dog down my hall”) and telling unsuspecting, bearded men that she has cancer. Now there are nekkid pictures of her floating around, as well as tons of first-hand accounts of her incredibly intricate (and kind of hilarious) web of lies.

Jezebel has an interesting piece called “Did ‘Hipster Grifter’ Play On Loathsome Asian Fetish?“, citing the fact that everyone – but particularly Williamsburg hipsters – loves Asian girls. There’s a quote from somebody that says it’s “obviously rooted in some racist stereotype of the ‘exotic’ or ‘submissive,'” which is indeed a common stereotype for Asian women, and a factor in what makes them “attractive” to men of other races.

But – maybe I’m just naive – it seems that the “submissive” myth is just not as prevalent here in New York City, especially in Brooklyn, where plenty of hip young Asians run amok. Asian girls here do get a lot of attention for being Asian (a fact you can discern when someone approaches you and asks about your “background” or “where your family’s from” within 30 seconds), but it seems to me that in New York, it’s more of an aesthetic attraction rather than a stereotyped cultural one. There are so many Asians here (27.9% of NYU!) that it seems like fewer people – especially hipsters that think they’re worldly – have the misguided perception of a general Asian female submissiveness. That’s not to say that it doesn’t exist, because it certainly does, but I think that the plaid-clad, bearded population in Williamsburg is the least likely demographic to buy into it.

Kari Farrell probably succeeded in conning so many people by being charming and articulate, and being Asian probably didn’t hurt her. But the whole “submissiveness” thing, while still relevant, just doesn’t seem to apply as much in this day in age in this particular place. After all, it seems like she threw herself at as many “hot dogs” as humanly possible – sounds fairly aggressive to me.

Photo from maciekjasik

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