Shimizu’s book referenced some of the more controversial examples of emasculated Asian American men in American pop culture. She cross-analyzes between this stereotypical purview of Asian men with her previous book in the Introduction that dealt with the Hypersexuality of Asian American women and how in both instances Asian Americans fail to fulfill a more “normative sexuality.”
I believe that this is a highly important piece that much like how historically white lawmakers and politicians opposed and banned Asian men from interracial marriages, the same occurs in the media today. Asian men are the bane of existence. The butt of the jokes. Arguably, there have been some instances where this is not the case like the recent Maze Runner movie. However, as this was taken from a highly popular book who had featured the lone (read: lone) Asian man who is portrayed as the “smart” one, this is more of an anomaly that he’s actually portrayed as the cool character.
Another popular reference that was discussed in class was the movie, Big Hero 6. Now much as I did agree with the popular opinion that it was cute – it was also whitewashed from its original comic. Granted, the original had its problems and they did, for once, tried to still have it seem to portray Asian Americans, but the fact remains that it lost a lot “To make the comic palatable to the American viewer.”
You can read more about it here: http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/7/7157579/big-hero-6-is-much-weirder-than-you-think
Despite these “cool” options the fact remains that there are little opportunities for Asian American men to be portrayed as anything other than an emasculated man except in four major exceptions in my opinion. Also, all three examples while they may not be emasculated they are at the very least never given a chance to be anything more than asexual…
1) Much like the Bruce Lee example Shimizu outlines, they are in some way martial arts related, in which case (ooh so foreign).
2) They are the ENEMY that needs to be eradicated and are just EVIL. Olympus has Fallen is a good example of how quickly movie watchers are to forget that at least this story is fiction.
Racist twitter posts here: http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2013/04/olympus-has-fallen-anti-asian-slurs/63742/
3) They’re a monk. (I actually can’t really recall a movie or anything really recent, but there was a CSI episode way back that I remembered watching that featured Buddhist monks. So yeah…)
4) Like the documentary we watched in class, Forbidden City, USA, Asian American take it upon themselves to make the roles that are not provided elsewhere. Notable examples – Wong Fu Productions, Jubilee Project, etc.
Shimizu also recounts though that the solution to this problem should be “beyond just the correction of stereotypes or the attempt to gain equal access to patriarchy.” Is there a straightforward answer on fixing how the media portrays Asian Americans? Probably not. However, we as consumers, should still try.