Asian Male Sexuality and Stereotypes

Something that has been very shocking and very real to me is the portrayal of asian males in the media. We read about it in our readings this week and we also saw it in the documentary and clips that complimented the topic, as well. I think the biggest thing that sticks out to me is how unfair the extremist options for portrayal are. It’s true– asian males have either been villainous and conniving, or geeky and pathetic. It has been seen all throughout historical pop culture. Not only that, but on top of that, they’ve also been portrayed this way by white males in yellow face. Can it get more offensive and appalling? I think it’s so shocking to see that the movies in which they are portrayed this way are classic American films such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Here are these iconic films that represent America and its modern culture, and yet riddled on the stage is such a problematic representation of Asian Americans. You are either laughing at the male on the screen or running away in fear of him. There typically isn’t the Asian male romantic lead. And as seen in the slanted documentary, even if they are in a “lead” role, they are found in the role of a side kick. For example, Jackie Chan could be a super stud in a film from Hong Kong, but the goofy character in an American film. Even worse is some of these asian characters are treated like animals! They are just laughed at and treated like a foreign science experiment. In more modern films, a “small penis,” is usually the basis of their humorous literal and figurative exposure on screen, as seen in the Hangover 2. While it may be fun and games, I never realized how big of a connection there is to the effect these portrayals have on actual asian american males in society. It can be so impactful and while I can’t say it is a direct effect of the pop culture history, I think it is safe to say that it doesn’t help an Asian American young man to feel good about himself, when all he sees of himself is small penis jokes and nerdy lonely buck tooth boys. I feel that I have seen this among some of my asian male friends who don’t really value themselves and think they are not good enough. It is really sad, and I think that–while I don’t have proof– changing this portrayal could have a very real positive effect Asian American males and how they feel about themselves. I think I also really like the final ending quotes in the reader today, which addressed possible solutions for this by suggested shifting the umbrella definition of what it really means to be a man. I am all about this and think that men also should not feel that they are confined to this either super attractive/angry male or really sad, lonely, and geeky character. I really felt strongly about that phrase and think that shifting that understanding would be really meaningful in the specific work.

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