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Shilpa’s filthy hands

journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2009, 00:00 authored by Sean RedmondSean Redmond
The celebrity Big Brother race row centers, in part, on the preparation, handling and consumption of food. While the ritual of formal and informal dining is a key trope of the series, in this instance it is used to construct notions of difference and Otherness. Eating/not eating Indian becomes a symbol of purity and danger: of Shilpa's filthy natural self that somehow lurked beneath her glamorous exterior. If one eats Indian one is consuming the Other, with the potential to be taken over or spoiled by it. Shilpa, then, comes to stand for a complex and contradictory mix of Eastern/Oriental gender stereotypes. However, at the same time, the racialised grammar of representation used to mark her out as Other draws attention to the white bodies attempting to deny her wholeness. In choosing to eat/not eat Indian one opens up a dynamic space for an interrogation of whiteness to emerge. In fact, Jade, Jo, and Danielle become inferior signifiers of national identity in an age of global consumption. By contrast, Shilpa becomes 'surplus value', a supericonic sign that resists the name calling, fetishisation, marginalisation demanded by those on the show. The Big Brother race row may well be a text that directly speaks to the new post-colonial communication flows in place in the contemporary age.

History

Journal

Entertainment and sports law journal

Volume

7

Issue

1

Pagination

1 - 9

Publisher

University of Warwick, Warwick School of Law

Location

Coventry, England

ISSN

1748-944X

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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