Asian American Women in Porn, Reading Notes

It’s interesting to learn about Asian/American females in porn. In this week’s reading, Shimizu traced the representation of Asian American women in porn in different time periods, from white porn stars in yellow face in stag films in the 1920s, to “real” Asian/American actresses in stag films in the 50s, to the Golden Age of porn from the 70s to the 90s, to contemporary porn. By analyzing porn, Shimizu emphasizes the racial formation of Asian American women through sex. In other words, Shimizu argues that Asian American women is racialized through sex, and sexualized through race. In every porn that Shimizu analyzed, the race of the Asian/American porn stars trumps their identities and roles/characters. The presence of racial difference alone is enough to render the otherwise normal and boring vanilla sex exciting, as in the case of stag films in the 1920s with white porn stars in yellow face. According to Shimizu, porns also exploit many stereotypes of Asian American women and turn them into sexually desirable objects. For example, common characters for Asian/American porn stars including Kong Fu dominatrix, dragon lady, lotus blossom, prostitute, China town girl, and war bride. Intertwined with culture and the colonial history of the East, these roles are specifically tied to the race of Asian American women. It’s the exotification of Asian/American women along with the sex scenes that yields tremendous pleasure for viewers. Without the racial indicator, these characters would be illogical, dull, and unconvincing. From Shimizu’s analyze, we can see how sexuality, gender, and race intertwine to produce certain images of sexual pleasure.

An interesting point that Shimizu argues is that Asian American porn stars and their hypersexuality portrayed in porns contribute to the sex-positive discourse. This discourse, Shimizu further argues, might open space and possibility for Asian American women to break away from traditional gender roles and explore their sexuality freely.

Angel Ruiqi Ye

Week 8 Blog Post – Porno

On Monday this week we briefly discussed the extent of Asian American representation in the adult film industry. First, we talked about what pornography is and what fuels its popularity. Men make up the majority of people running the industry such as the directors and producers who earn most of the profits. This means that films are marketed by men and for men. However, an Asian American woman named Annabel Chong challenged this statement in a very interesting way.  I was very confused at first at how the world’s largest gang bang could be a good thing! She wore a plain white shirt with the word “slut” scribbled on the front proudly despite the negative denotative meaning of the name. I think her objective was to project an outrageous statement that she is a free-spirited woman who is comfortable with her sexuality and unafraid of getting what she wanted. In a way, wearing the shirt allowed her to embrace her own choices and silence any critics who disagreed with actions. I personally didn’t think a gang bang could have a deeper meaning so Annabel’s story was informative.

The other short film we sampled in class was Forever Bottom. I was dumbfounded the entire five minutes or so as we watched the man imitate sex with only his movements and sounds. I couldn’t make reason for why the camera was positioned the way it was or why it occurred at various locations. Judging by the energy and intensity of his acting, I believe that the message is that being on the receiving end of sex doesn’t make the person a victim, inferior, or weak. There is strength in choosing what you like even if it appears submissive. Similar to Annabel Chong, the man in the bottom position goes against popular opinion to prove that there is no proper standard and that preferences may vary from person to person.

Week 8 Blog Post- Ting-Wei Yang

This week instead of focusing on writing on Fresh Off the Boat, I decided to write on the topic in class this week. Fresh Off the Boat is now getting a lot like a norm for me. FOB, just like any other comedy shows I watch, is becoming my weekly routine and I think its contents are all relatable so I guess there is nothing new that I can say besides saying it is relatable to my childhood. I may bring some references back to the blog posts but I will not being talking about the show entirely.

This week we focused on pornography. In Celine Shimizu’s book, The Hypersexuality of Race, she talked about how porn is racialized. The most predominant viewers are white males and how porn are racialized is mostly by their title. For example, Geisha Girl (1948-55), Philippino Couple (1970-71), Japanese Rape (1970-71). The idea that these stag films are made for white male audiences is just wrong. Would white people porn called White Couple? No! These films are produced to the white males’ liking and that is what earns the porn industry money. Other than the names of the films we can also identify the region or race of the people by looking at the room decorations. “…location or place and decorations certify their difference, rather than objects on and of the body. Thus it would seem that the Mexican and Latina bodies are rendered through space…Specific furniture and architecture prominently mark the scene as racially different in Latino stags, while bodily objects make women recognizably Asian.” This is very true in some sense because when producers produce porn then tend to make the porn authentic. Authentic as in making the films more like the ethnicity of people in the films.

From this one point, we can see that there are many ways we can look at stag films not just for purely entertainment but we can break down the scene, setting, the characters these performers are playing and deconstruct who the audience is and for what purpose. The porn industry is a rather large industry where hundreds of millions of dollars are being made each month, so of course a lot of thoughts have to be put into porn.