I Am Defined by Film

In honor of my workshop on Thursday, October 15th, from 4:30pm-6:30pm in MOSAIC which is located in MOD A near the A.S. Print Shop and the Bricks Residence Halls, I decided to do a little reflection on the space API are given in the media. As a Pilipino-American ethnically and an Asian-American racially, I find myself either misrepresented or underrepresented a lot in the media. Historically, Asian-Americans have been represented specifically in film by white actors that are using yellow face. These are white actors that put on makeup to make themselves seem or look Asian. This would also be accompanied by a horrid Asian accent to complete the stereotypical picture of what was viewed to be Asian.

Mickey Rooney, a white American man, was cast to play Mr. Yunioshi, a Japanese man, in the renown film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In it he is speaking in a faux Asian accent, fuming and yelling every time Audrey Hepburn’s character arrives home late, buzzing on his door so he can let her in.

When Asians are given space in movies, they take on one of several different stereotypical roles. For Asian men, they would potentially take on the role of the effeminate hard-working Asian male who is probably good at math/with technology and not so good with women (i.e. John Cho from the Harold and Kumar films or Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles (1984). For Asian women, they would be probably be the submissive exoticized women or the dragon lady who commands with an iron first and a steel samurai sword (i.e. O-ren Ishii from the Kill Bill films). Now with that said, I felt that being Asian-American I was definitely represented in a stereotypical light, but as a Filipino-American I was not even represented at all. There’s no “real” space for Asian-Americans in Media, but when there is space given it’s one of two choices: a stereotypical role that is misrepresenting or doesn’t take the role at all. The institution of film has oppressed Asian Americans by providing them with no space or space that is limited to the confines of a box. A box that is supposed to represent Asians everywhere and yet makes Asians seem as if they are all the same. Our individuality is ignored, the diverse ethnicities of what comprises to be Asian are lumped together, and we are misrepresented as a singular monolithic entity, all of which is due to the institution of film defining what it means to be Asian.

If you want to know more about this topic, come to my workshop titled, YOMYOMF: Asians and Pacific Islanders in Media, on Thursday, October 15th from 4:30pm-6:30pm in MOSAIC which is located in MOD A near the A.S. Printshop and Bricks Residence Halls. As always, food will be provided!

 

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by IAN ZAMORA

image source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/81/3a/b4/813ab4bc02f799b564526af27cdd924a.jpg

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