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Asian/Asian Americans in Film and TV

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 908 words Published: 22nd May 2017

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Even in today’s society, minorities are being stereotyped. One minority that is largely stereotyped are Asians and Asian Americans. They are seen as immigrants, not as citizens, who hardly know any English. They portray every Asian American as if all are the same, and all are foreigners. They also think of them as rich, nerdy, yellow face, wealthy business man, intelligent, grocery/restaurant owners. Asian men and women also have distinctive stereotypes. Asian American male and female have been continually underrepresented in the media. While they sometimes appear on television shows, movies, and magazines, often times they are represented in a way which furthers the Asian stereotypes. The media often times does not portray the diversity that is inherent in Asian American culture.

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The characters that do appear in American media greatly affect how outsiders perceive Asian Americans, and how Asian Americans perceive themselves. Asian men are seen as submissive, evil villains, emasculated males, servants, sidekicks; unfriendly individuals, masters of Kung Foo, and undesirable male partners. If you look at this list it is long, there are even more general stereotypes that I have not mentioned here. So the media has not done a good job showing the real side of Asian and Asian American masculinity. Asian American women have two dominant stereotypes in mainstream American the Dragon Lady and Lotus Blossom.

Images of Asian in mainstream Hollywood motion pictures can be traced back to mid late 1800s when Asian immigrants first arrived in large numbers to the United States. Popular comic strips such as “The Yellow Kid” and ‘The Ting-Ling Kids” emerged in the 1890s and depicted racial caricatures of the Chinese American for mass audiences. (Portrayals in film and television 635) Asian American men have often been portrayed as evil villains, bad guys, and enemy combatants. Cruel villains such as Ming the Merciless, from the popular Buck Rogers film series. (Portrayals in film and television 638) Asian males have historically been depicted as either uncontrollably lustful or completely asexual. In another recurring Hollywood stereotype, Asian American men are emasculated, sexless males who are clumsy rather than threatening in their attraction to white women. Charlie Chan one actor who exemplified the completely asexual. Another example for this type of stereotype would be William Hung the American Idol castoff. One of the most common roles for Asian American males in Hollywood was and kind of still is domestic servants to whites. Some shows like Hawaii 5-0 the Asian characters are not as important as the two male cops and the other Asian character is the laboratory person who is onscreen sometimes. The two white males are dominant over the other Asian characters even though the show is based in Hawaii, where mostly you will find Asians.

Asian American women have two dominant stereotypes in mainstream American film and television. The Dragon Lady stereotype which typically portrays an Asian woman who is sneaky, untrustworthy, and devious, and who uses her sexuality as a weapon to deceive and take control of men. This has been portrayed by Chinese American actress Anna May Wong (Thief of Bagdad, 1924, Shanghai Express, 1932, Daughter of the Dragon, 1931). (Portrayals in film and television 644).The other widespread stereotype of Asian American women is known as the Lotus Blossom. This characterization presents Asian women as passive, sexually compliant and easy to seduce. Actress Suzie Wong has portrayed this character and both these stereotypes have been portrayed in many films and television.

I think these stereotypes came from the world itself, like people in America, or other countries. I think they did not like that Asian Americans were achieving high success and doing well in academics. Also having a high occupational job that pays high and being a complete race that is highly successful. I think these factors and some more made Asian American stereotypes, perhaps they were jealous of Asian American men and women. They found a way to discriminate, and make fun of us by using stereotypes. This will continue because it is like entertainment for the audience like a comic movie, or television. I would have to agree that it is funny, but it is not right.

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The stereotyping of Asian Americans or any race will continue and cannot be fully demolished. To lessen stereotypes there has been many organizations that want to get rid of stereotypes and racial discrimination. A few are organizations are Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) monitor television, motion pictures, print, advertising, and radio. Also NAPALC is a group of nineteen organizations, in a campaign against the lack of diversity in television programming. (Portrayals in film and television 648) You can do a few things to lessen stereotypes by educate yourself and others about Asian American stereotypes, have discussions about these issues, rethink your own stereotypes. Also think about what you can do to in your place of business to address these issues, particularly if you are a teacher, psychologist, pediatrician, or some other profession working with children. You can help the people become aware of this problem and by telling them how important it is not to stereotype people but to act as equals in this world.


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