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“So now the flipside of stereotyping is that every Asian American actor is expected to know some form of martial arts,” Tisa Chang, director of the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in New York, told ABC News.
But before long, Hollywood began to portray all Asian Americans as martial arts experts.
“They’re most often shown in ads for business-oriented or technical products—smartphones, computers, pharmaceuticals, electronic gear of all kinds.” Although people of Asian descent have lived in the United States since the 1800s, Asian Americans are often portrayed as perpetual foreigners.
Even more alarmingly, she not only fetishized underage K-Pop stars, but also made various references to raping them.
While this particular woman’s racism may be one of those cases where you sigh to yourself, whisper yikes, and resist further engagement, it’s still indicative of a larger, and sometimes seemingly innocuous phenomenon of fetishizing and dehumanizing Asian bodies – a subject that I find myself all too familiar with.
In reality, Asian Americans are far more than the geeks and geishas Hollywood would have you believe. Not only does this stereotype surface in television shows and films but also in commercials.
Since the days of early Hollywood, Asian American women have played “dragon ladies.” These female characters tend to be physically attractive but domineering and underhanded. Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong played a series of these roles in the 1920s and contemporary actress Lucy Liu has more recently been accused of popularizing the stereotype. “Why is it that the screen Chinese is nearly always the villain of the piece, and so cruel a villain—murderous, treacherous, a snake in the grass? The Washington Post has pointed out that Asian Americans are often portrayed as technologically savvy people in ads for corporations such as Verizon, Staples, and IBM.
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