Asians in Film: Update 1

So, I ran into my first set of problems right from the outset. For my project, I need to assess if a character is stereotypical. Naturally, I thought that I could just create a catalog of all indicators of stereotypes attributed to Asians. However, the more I tried to catalog it the more endless the list grew. Furthermore, many of the stereotypes were seemingly contradictory. For example, it is both stereotypical for Asian men to be considered weak and effeminate and it is also stereotypical for Asian men to be portrayed as predatory and dangerous ( This comes more from the WWII era). And the way that they are portrayed as either weak or effeminate are infinitely varied. It ranges from the way they talk, the way they dress, the way that they move around, etc. Sometimes movies even create their own riffs on stereotypes. For example, in the movie Sixteen Candles, a gong is sounded every time the Chinese exchange student, Long Luk Dong, Enters the scene. Obviously stereotypical, but there was no way that I would have thought to put it down as a sign of a stereotypical portrayal before I sat down and watched the movie.

This makes things hard since, to keep this project mostly objective, I need to set the criteria before I watch the films not as I’m watching these films. So, I decided instead of trying to catalog every Asian stereotype and the actions that go along with it, I broke down Asian stereotypes down along 11 general themes: Asians as Subservient to white hegemony, dangerous to “Western order”, Asian women as sexually available , competent at the expense of social awareness, foreign/unable to access Western culture, predatory, Asian men as effeminate, infantilization, mysticism , deceitful, and physically deficient.

Then, I plan to code each 30-second interval the character is on screen for the presence or absence of any of those themes. Thus I should be able to remain objective while at the same time

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