Saturday, November 10, 2007

How Asian men are portrayed in movies by Asian-American women

. . . or, What the Fuck, Sister?!

Watch enough movies by Asian-American women movie-makers, and it's easy to begin wondering, do our women hate us?

Case studies:

Joy Luck Club, starring Ming-Na, by Amy Tan, 1993.
Double Happiness, starring Sandra Oh, by Mina Shum, 1994. (Canadian film)
Red Doors, starring Jacqueline Kim, by Georgia Lee, 2005.

I'm not a movie aficionado, so the fact I can name as many as three movies by Asian-American women that alarm me as an Asian-American man is a bad sign. To this day, I can't stomach any work by Sandra Oh because of her role in Double Happiness.

As far as movie messages go, feminism that's generally critical of gender relationships is one thing. We're in modern times, and while we may sometimes be uncomfortable with feminism as men, we support our sisters. As well, when confronted with racism in our popular culture, it's a struggle for our people, but we are willing and able to handle those outside of our demographic group who demean us. We understand that carving our niche in American society is a progressive generational struggle.

However, when our sisters, as exemplified by Mses Tan, Shum, and Lee, whom we rely upon as our life partners, emasculate us, and inject their hateful image of Asian men into popular culture, we have no defense for their back-stabbing betrayal. There is nothing we can do about Asian-American women who denigrate us, and worse, idealize non-Asian men as deliberate counterpoints to their caricatured portrayals of Asian men. Because these women are the forefront of Asian-American representatives, they legitimize anti-Asian male stereotypes like no one else can.

I don't understand: why do Asian-American women hurt their brothers like this?

I spotted this revealing tidbit about Red Doors in an interview with movie lead Jacqueline Kim:
APA: Were you surprised by the intense reactions about how there were no Asian guys?

JK: You know it's something we saw that would probably come, but the three guys who were playing the boyfriends are such lovely and varied actors. I think two of them were originally supposed to be Asian American, and we lost them within 24-36 hours of shooting, both for visa issues. But, I personally think -- Georgia's experience was growing up in Connecticut, where I think they were one of three Chinese American families. I grew up in Detroit, where we were one of three Korean American families, so I mean, white boys were just... who you date.
* Emphasis mine.

"Visa issues"?! Again: What the Fuck, Sister?! Where did Georgia Lee film this movie - Antarctica? * What, she couldn't find Asian-American male actors - with American citizenship and the other necessary credentials - either as her first choices or emergency fill-ins to play the boyfriends? Kim then immediately contradicts her excuse by saying that "white boys" are the accurate characterization of her and Lee's dating background, meaning that white actors properly represent boyfriends in the Asian-American woman's experience, anyway. She strongly implies that the "visa" explanation is just a tossed-out excuse and white actors were meant to play the boyfriends all along. They don't even care. The lack of regret and easy dismissiveness from our sisters in their choice to represent their brothers negatively in American culture is dismaying.

* Red Doors was filmed in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a tad late to the show but I agree.

Visa issues? That's interesting because Georgia Lee also stated that the original actors were Asian. Jane Chen, one of the producers, stated the actors were Leonardo Nam and the other was Wong Lee Hom.

First of all, I sincerely doubt that a small, no name, production company was able to book a widely popular singer from Asia.

Second, Chen stated that Leonardo dropped from the project to star in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants so I doubt it was a visa issue considering that movie was shot in the US.

See, they can't even get their lies straight.

1/11/2008 9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man... I didn't watch any of those movies, and I doubt I ever will. I think it's a conspiracy. In any major motion picture where the hero or lead actor is a white male, he always ends up banging the female costar which is usually a minority. Now watching movies like this over a long period will make minority females feel that it is the only way to go. On the other side, Jackie Chan or Jet Li never got no ass in any movie, not even from asian females. They are usually portrayed as Geeky, Nerdy, or a character that speeks broken english. But anyways... I'm not against interacial dating, but don't do it because it's trendy... or it goes with your Louie bag, or all of your girlfriends are doing it and you don't want to feel left out. Maybe these delusional women feel insecure about their culture or are just ashamed that their Fathers were asian and wish that he could of been white.

2/02/2008 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am really into Asian-American culture. I have been obsessed to the fact that I travel accross America to find it. I couldn't even focus on going to graduate school because I have never felt at home in America.

I think I need to stop going on the internet in search for Asian-America, because it reallys depressed the shit out me .

12/21/2009 5:59 PM  

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