Week 4 Blog Posts

Just as Asian American men are stereotyped and ascribed as polar opposites to the conventional American masculinity–effeminate and lack of virility–Asian American Women are also stereotyped. This time around the disparity does not lie within masculinity or femininity, but rather sexuality. According to the book, Hypersexuality of Race, by Celine Shimizu, it states that female Asian Americans are hypersexualized and play into the role of being either servile, aggressive, dangerous, or seductive. Shimizu addresses two terms that describes categorizes this attributes: Lotus Blossom and Dragon Lady. Lotus Blossom defines the servile aspect of female Asian Americans, while Dragon Lady defines the aggressive and dangerous aspect. Using these two terms Shimizu introduces examples that manifested these terms. From her examples, Shimizu talks about the various ways in which their performances as the Dragon Lady or Lotus Blossom acts as a productive way to resist Asian American and women stereotypes. For example, Lucy Liu’s role in the film Payback displays the productiveness by assuming the role as a dominatrix. In her role, although embracing the hypersexualized stereotype, is displaying a powerful character, who takes control and asserts her dominance on Mel Gibson, that undermines the submissive stereotype of female Asian Americans. Additionally, in a particular scene of Playback in which she stomps on Mel Gibson while delivering the line “Me love you long time” indicates a figurative crushing that is delivered to the derogatory line that persisted through the years.

While reading Shimizu’s book, I came to ponder on the definitions of Dragon Lady and Lotus Blossom. Although these two words are quite distinguishable from each other, I find that they go hand in hand when attributing it to certain female Asian American’s character. As I had this idea floating in my mind, I came across a particular text that seemed very relevant to my thoughts. Shimizu’s mentioning of Anna May Wong’s character in The Thief of Baghdad seemed to correspond with my thought. Wong’s character, a Mongolian slave, portrays both a dragon lady and a lotus blossom. As a slave she is seen as the lotus blossom, being submissive and servile, but her intentions to poison the princess depicts the dragon lady, dangerous. I would assume that this combination, is not favorable. However, Wong’s depiction of both a dragon lady and a lotus blossom, shows us that it is not definite for having only one term being ascribed to a person.

Overall, it may be my lack of exposure to Asian American stereotypes seen on film, but I have not noticed that Asian American females were hypersexualized. Until recently viewing the screenings of Lucy Liu, I thought that Asian American females were chiefly timid and passive.


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