I think discussing the stereotypes of Asian and Asian American women in the media has resonated the most with me out of all the topics we have covered so far in class.
Watching Slaying the Dragon was extremely interesting, because the older Asian American women felt that they didn’t realize they started these stereotypes, and were simply acting in the roles that they were given. Now, they look back and have weight on their shoulders, because people blame them for creating these molds for Asian American actresses to fit into, but it was writers and directors that made this happen, not the actresses themselves.
A stereotypical role for an Asian American woman would be to play a prostitute in a film or TV show. This was started by the movie, The World of Suzie Wong (1960), in which actress Nancy Kwan plays “a hooker with a heart of gold.” While the concept of the Asian prostitute has been an unfortunate stereotype in the US ever since immigrants began coming from Asia, Kwan’s role as Suzie Wong sort of set the standard for the next several decades of film… sadly creating the perpetual street-walker character issue.
Another common role for Asian American women is the dragon lady, a concept that grew into popularity later in the 20th century. Asian American women get sucked into roles as villains, using their sharp wits and evil minds to fight the heroes of the stories, such as in Kill Bill.
When shows portray Asian American women as everyday people (rather than prostitutes or assassins), they are often so whitewashed that the audience does not get to see any Asian culture or background whatsoever. Hopefully in the future, there can be better representation of the amazing Asian American women that work in show business with more interesting and accurate roles.