The Hypersexuality of Race

Celine Parrenas Shimizu in her text The Hypersexuality of Race talks about the hypersuxuality of Asain- American women in the media. Many view this as  a negative and hurtful force, but she suggests “What if we reclaim the hypersexuality of Asain women on screen as both enslaving and empowering?” and I wholeheartedly agree.

Sure, the Lotus Blossom and Dragon Lady stereotype are stereotypes, but they can be used for visibility. I personally find the Dragon Lady theme is more empowering, although portrayed as evil. Lucy Liu in Kill Bill is a good example of this stereotype in the media. She is the head of a crime unit in Japan and not only is she the only woman in the group of crime leaders, she is also Japanese/Chinese/American. Although, I do not think the director was trying to prove anything,  there are cultural and gender themes that are important to withdraw from her role. Culturally she is showing that Asian-Americans can be in positions of power – and the same for women too.

I also think this role is important because it does not portray her character in a hyper sexual way. She is fully dressed and sex is not mentioned at all. This improves on the Dragon Lady archetype since she is not sexualized. Sure she is evil, but pretty much all the characters in the film were also. All in all I feel that this was a good example of Asian-Americans productive roles in the media.


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