Through the Eyes of Asian Men
Asian stereotypes are a product of prevailing myths propagated by various media, from books, plays, movies, television, to even historical propaganda. Generally speaking, the stereotyping of Asian women often swing to extreme types: the docile, subservient sexual object, or the dragon lady. Asian Americans only make up a small percentage of the United States population and live mostly on the west and east coasts of mainland United States and Hawaii. Consequently, the rest of the American population will most likely get their exposures to Asian Americans through television and movies. Popular media exposure to Asian Americans lacks one-on-one acquaintance with Asian Americans. It hinders the process that could help Americans from other racial backgrounds realize that the stereotypical characters in Hollywood movie productions are unjust and biased. Furthermore, these popular movies do not reflect the true individuality of the typical Asian American living in America. Hollywood has a tradition of portraying Asian women as exotic, subservient, compliant, industrious, and more than often, eager to please. These race and class stereotypes of Asian American women give the impression of what Asian American women are really like to other Americans as well as to Asian Americans themselves. This perpetuates race and class inequalities of Asian Americans by allowing these belittling Asian characteristics to appear repeatedly in society. The beliefs that Asian American women are weak or passive and allow themselves to be sexually and emotionally abused by men also prevail in common media. These stereotypes of a submissive, obedient Asian woman made up of sexual desires waiting to be rescued by a man were formed by mesmerized, ignorant Westerners who were not viewing Asians as people, rather as objects for their enjoyment. These Hollywood images of "easy women" have spilled over into mainstream images of Asian women. In result, Asian women are viewed for their sexual desire and hyper-femininity As mysterious and sexual, Asian women cannot be taken seriously by society. Ideally, these women are depicted as geisha girls, Oriental massagers, comfort women and prostitutes. With their main objective being to submit to their dominator's every desire, Asian women are seen as sexually desirable. The stereotype remains that all of their sexual fantasies lie in pleasing the man. Asian women also supposedly set the hegemonic female standards that attract a man. "Implicitly, these films warn white women to embrace the socially constructed passive Asian beauty as the feminine ideal if they want to attract and keep a man" (Espiritu). What Hollywood may have failed to portray about these Asian women is that they are prostitutes merely trying to support their families by offering sexual services to men whom they see rich. Because they come from poor families and lack education, some Asian women earn their living by these means, and preferring to sleep with a man due to his skin color has nothing to do with it. Their financial situation takes precedence over the act which they are partaking in. The media is often the only form of culture that many Americans are subjected to. Consequently, many stereotypes are formed from that medium. These stereotypes include the interfering Asian American woman that cannot keep her nose out of other people's business. The Asian woman is also supposedly sexually active, exotic, overly feminine and eager to please. This character is termed the "China Doll," and appears countless times in popular movies. Hollywood tends to characterize Asian women as prostitutes, yet fails to portray the hardships these women face such as trying to support their families. Asian American women are also depicted as passive and indecisive, and often times are treated as though they want to have sex with white men, even when they are verbally not agreeing. "Dragon Lady" refers to an Asian woman who...
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