Week 5 Blog by Danny Truong, (Dr Ken, Asian American Sexualities Stereotypes

I learned quite a few things this week. I just started watching Dr Ken, a show with an Asian American actor (Korean specifically) playing as a Doctor in the Film. I have also learned the sexuality stereotypes of Asian American Men and Women.
Starting with Dr. Ken, I find that the show itself does not play upon Asian Stereotypes nearly as much as Fresh Off the Boat did. While Fresh Off the Boat had the stereotypes, the quirks and personality of Dr Ken himself could fit just about any person of any race. At first, I was somewhat disappointed. Fresh Off the Boat used those stereotypes to provide a good amount of Character development over the course of the series. Instead of being static characters, the characters had quite a bit of depth to them and the Stereotypes were used as an initial lure for the audience. However, while Dr. Ken lacked a lot of those those stereotypes of Asian Americans (they are still present, but they are downplayed), the characters didn’t seem to have that much depth to them. It was comparable to a sitcom, where many of the personality quirks existed solely just to make the audience laugh (there was a laugh strip that played over the show itself). This doesn’t allow for character development like Fresh Off the Boat. While there are a few stereotypical traits, there are many other traits alongside it. Like in Episode 3, where it is revealed that Jessica likes Stephen King movies, a very un-asian stereotype. Character development happens quite quickly and it is centered around showing that Asian American personalities are more than what just the Stereotype presents. In Dr. Ken, there is some level of character development, but it generally isn’t around Asian Stereotypes (unless there is a stereotype that Asians get irritable easily) and then developing them. Ken’s personality quirks include: highly irritable, paranoid about his daughter. Both of these aren’t unique to Asian American Stereotypes. It’s funny to watch and there is character development, but not related to Asian Americans. The only Asian Stereotype I can remember is when Ken’s parents came to visit. They questions they ask were “How is school?” and “Did you find a boy yet?(to the daughter)”. There is also some gibberish Korean as well, but in episodes full of random gags, it just blends into the rest of the gags in the episode. In short though, the show seems to be just proof to show that Asian Americans can act in a movie.
The Stereotypical sexuality for Asian American Men and Women is very unusual simply because of how opposite they are. However, on both sides, their respective actors have done a very good job at filling their niches and even making them better than they were before. For Asian American men, the Stereotype is that they are very non-sexual. They do not feel “sexy” at all, at least for women. There are other stereotypes that state that Asian American men are homosexual. The one of the reasons for this (as learned in class) is that this is suppose to help “prop up” the main lead’s ability to get a girl. For Asian American women, the lady is hyper sexual, and seems like she wants to constantly want to have sex with the male white lead. This is likely because the Asian women seems “exotic” and frequently, the media plays up this “exoticness” by having the male white lead take them. Yet, despite being pushed into this niche, the Asian Americans who have this role managed to construct their role in a positive way. Actors like Bruce Lee have defined what Asian American Masculinity means. As stated by Shimizu, writer of straightjacket sexualities, “we witness a noble warrior whose sexuality mush be sacrificed in his dedication to his community”(69). But this doesn’t seem to mean that Bruce Lee is a failure as a man. In fact, his characters are quite successful and seen in a positive light. He doesn’t just random have sex with the woman of the movie but instead only gives a light hug and moves on. Instead of masculinity being “who gets to sleep with more women”, Asian American Masculinity is equated with “Honor” or doing the right thing for the community. It still follows the “nonsexualized” role that the Asian American is supposed to have, while at the same time empowers the role. On the other end of the spectrum is the hyper sexualized Asian American woman. Women actors in these roles too have expanded their niche. Take Lucy Liu for example. It is not a common role, but she does an excellent impression of the “Dragon Lady” if given the opportunity to do so. She plays “O-Ren-Ishi” from Kill Bill. In this scene, (there is some fake gore) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prDCDmchtTg), she cuts off the head of someone who questions her leadership qualities just because she is Chinese American. Instead of being the passive “Lotus Blossom” that Asian American Women are typically depicted as, she takes a VERY active role. This is one aspect of the Dragon Lady; where take action very and are typically rather dangerous in media. Here is another example (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETegyBzAQnc). Here the character takes advantage of her sexuality to lure men to her charms to distract them so her helpers can get into the company’s systems to gain sensitive information. In short, despite the role given, Asian Americans take their role in strides and develop it to something that is empowering.


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