A Need for Agency

The Hypersexuality of Race by Celine Parrenas Shimizu focuses on this idea of productive perversity. Shimizu discusses the significance of the hypersexualized image of Asian/American women. She says it is something inescapable when represented in the media. No matter what, the strong stereotypes and presumptions are and will forever be a part of Asian/American women in the media. The point Shimizu is trying to make is that, if Asian/American women are going to be hypersexualized, Asian/American women taking on these roles should challenge the perception with productive perversity. In other words, taking these unusual ideas of Asian/American women and proving them wrong.

An effort to eliminating the dominant perception of Asian/American women, would be almost impossible. For something as changing what has been deeply embedded in the public eye through influential movies of the past, would require a change in the racial system that was socially constructed and influenced by historical events. As mentioned in the Panethnicity lecture given by Dr. Dina Okamoto, such a movement would require a revolution.

Here’s a video by Nigahiga where he discusses Asian Stereotypes and goes ahead and displays the ways Asians can take them, embrace them, and challenge the idea surrounding them. It is true that stereotypes will not simply go away. However, a way for Asians to show agency is through deconstruction.


On another note, I found it relatable when the Slaying the Dragon documentary mentioned how Asian women are seen as passive. As much as I wish that I wasn’t living up to the perception of Asia/American women, I believe I am this way simply because I was brought up to be and the media I saw of other Asian women validated why I felt I needed to act passive, or submissive, or docile. With this passiveness, I never felt that agency in changing the way people perceived Asians. I felt that these stereotypes were in some ways true and thus, I felt no need to challenge their perceptions. With time, I found the significance in the need of this agency. Growing up, I did not even know I was being influenced by a socially constructed portrayal of how Asian/American women should act. I accepted it as it was because I thought, that it is.

I am so glad for being informed and for gaining this knowledge because I feel like I had been living with my eyes open, but my conscious closed. Being awake and seeing that we live in a society where white hegemony is a thing, allows me to feel the agency and the need to pass along this new found knowledge.


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