Above are some images that come up when I typed ‘exotic…’ into google. (The search is on the black bar above the images)
Notice how it asks me to specify from exotic people to exotic mixed people and from exotic men to Native American men. Also take note of how the vast majority of the people shown are POC depicted in a sexual manor or in cultural outfits.
Miriam-Webster Dictionary definition of exotic:
1 introduced from another country : not native to the place where found
2 archaic : foreign, alien
3 : strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual
4 : of or relating to striptease
1 : one (as a plant or animal) that is exotic
A Yahoo post on what random people consider to be exotic. Some comments include
‘An exotic looking woman would normally have tan skin, long black hair, full lips, dark eyes and a toned body [think Jessica Alba].’
'To me people who are exotic to me are some africans from africa of coarse.Arabics are always been exotic to me,the customs and people. India as well and the persian area of Asia. But overall,g*psies are very exotic to me,'
Another Yahoo thread on what it means to be exotic and how to look exotic.
'Exotic is something you are not used to seeing everyday. Most countries and most races have GENERIC looking people who basically all look relatively similar. South Americans, blacks,Indians, whites etc. All races have there generic look… You are 'MYSTERIOUS'
Urban Dictionary definition of ‘exotic’ (included because its a good depiction of what the general population considers ‘exotic’ to mean)
being from asia, south america, caribbean, mediterranean, persia, arabia, etc… basically, anyone with tan skin, black shiny hair, big lushious lips, can dance and gyrate, curvy and smart. Exotic people have mysterious, alluring and sensual eyes. ALL will surrender to those eyes when an exotic girl permits a guy she likes to catch a glance of them.
Wikihow page: ‘How to Look Exotic’
You may either naturally or artificially tan to give yourself a darker skin tone… If you are olive-skinned or dark skinned, chances are you already look exotic!!
So lets quickly summarize:
Why is being called ‘exotic’ bad?
Objectification, fetishation, exotification, hypersexualization, perpetualism of stereotypes of PoC. It is problematic. So don’t so it.