Opinion: Latina Stereotypes Still Rule TV and Films
Latina stereotypes - the hot mami, the sassy spitfire, the shy maid -have been around forever. It’s time to see some smart Latinas represented.
What Latina stereotypes do you see in the media?
"It is no surprise that Asian women are the most popular women of color in porn, given the long-standing stereotypes of them as sexually servile geishas, lotus blossoms, and China dolls. Depicted as perfect sex objects with well-honed sexual skills, Asian women come to porn with a baggage of stereotypes that makes them the idealized women of the porn world. In most sites and movies specializing in Asian women (“Asian” being used in porn as a shorthand for a whole range of ethnicities), we see a mind-numbing replaying of the image of Asian women as sexually exotic, enticing, and submissive in both the text and pictures. Using words such as naive, obedient, petite, cute, and innocent, the Web sites are full of images of Asian women, who, we are told, will do anything to please a man, since this is what they are bred for. It seems from these sites, however, that Asian women are interested in pleasing only white men because Asian men are almost completely absent as sex partners.
The introductory text on Hustler’s Web site Asian Fever sums up the way Asian women are caricatured in porn: “Asian Fever features scorching scenes of the sexual excesses these submissive Far East nymphos are famous for. No one knows how to please a man like an Asian slut can, and these exotic beauties prove it.”’ Notice here how Asian women are defined as being super slutty thanks to their assumed sexual excesses, submissiveness, skill, and beauty. Their supposed submissiveness is eroticized as they are presented as completely powerless to resist any sexual demands men may have. Their powerlessness is further enhanced by the ways these women are “childified”-they are presented as naive, innocent, and lacking any adult agency. The more childish the woman seems, the greater the ability of the male to exploit and manipulate."
Gail Dines, Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked Our Sexuality (via wretchedoftheearth)
Ah yes. This thing.
Slanty eyes? Check.
Nón lá knock-off? Check.
Buck teeth? Check.
Engrish? “OKAY FERRAS, LET’S ROCK DA JOINT.”
Reference to fortune cookies? Check.
Mock Chinese? “Shanghai-HongKong-Egg-Foo-Young, Fortune Cookie Always Wrong! Hehehe, dat a hot one.” BIG check.
I mean, I always knew this part of the Aristocats was extremely racist, but when you lay out all the different pejorative Asian tropes, it’s AMAZING how much they crammed into a three-minute musical number.
What if mermaids were real but the Japanese have already turned them all into sushi?
"In American popular culture, black women often appear among white women as magical figures. These modern mammies, like their nineteenth-century counterparts, are capable of solving white women’s personal crises without ever hinting at the depth of their own oppressive circumstances. For example, the modern Mammy made several guest appearances on the wildly popular HBO series Sex and the City. Though living in New York City, the lead characters—four white women—rarely encountered black women. The few African American women written into the script appeared briefly, with little character development, and were often capable of magically comforting the white women and solving their problems. A black woman chauffeur takes Carrie Bradshaw out for a midnight meal after her book party. Her presence immediately soothes Carrie, who has reported in an earlier scene that her ‘‘loneliness is palpable.’’ After Miranda becomes a single mother and has trouble quieting her colicky baby, the Emmy-winning actress Lisa Gay Hamilton shows up as a neighbor, never seen before or after, to assist her. She brings a vibrating chair that immediately quiets the infant, reinforcing the notion that black women instinctively understand child rearing in ways that white women do not. When the first film version of Sex and the City hit theaters in the summer of 2008, Academy Award–winning actress Jennifer Hudson was cast as Carrie’s feisty young assistant. Although her movie role is much more significant than the sister cameos in the series, Hudson’s ‘‘Louise’’ is able to fix her boss’s love life, website, and personal files even though she is two decades younger. These updates of the Mammy caricature are hardly limited to Sex and the City. Contemporary popular culture is replete with black women characters with an instinctive ability to ‘‘help Whites get in touch with their better selves.’’"
Melissa Harris-Perry Sister Citizen; Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America (via brashblacknonbeliever)
In a time where Asian Americans are slowly making their way into pop culture with roles that don’t pigeonhole them–Lucy Liu in Elementary, Mindy Kaling in The Mindy Project, John Cho in Go On–the role of Lilly takes Asian Americans a step back. All we see is a rehashed, played-out representation of the meek and submissive Asian woman. Asians as a whole are a feminized race, and yet Asian women bear the double burden of simultaneously existing to two groups that are both supposed to be submissive. We see the product of this double burden in Lilly, expected to be so docile as both an Asian and a woman that she can barely even speak.
An Asian actress could have played any of those other roles, but somehow the “quiet” trait–one of the biggest stereotypes about Asians–was the one assigned to Lee. In the same way that we hear jokes about Asian homelessness being a myth, a “Fat Lilly” or a hypersexualized Lilly would not have been seen as believable characters because these are traits not typically associated with Asians. But passivity? That’s something that Asians can always do. This was a conscious choice to make the character as easily understandable to the audience as possible, and drawing on racial stereotypes is one of the most efficient ways to do this.
The saddest part of all of this is that Lilly could have been a really badass character. Lee took beatboxing and scratching lessons with a DJ in preparation for her role, and yet we’re only given a two-second glimpse of her scratching in the ICCA finals (thought it was a pretty cool two seconds). But these possibilities are left behind in favor of boring, humorless “quiet Asian” jokes.
Maybe this wouldn’t have hit quite so hard if the only other Asian female were portrayed as a normal human being. Enter Kimmy Jin (Jinhee Joung), the Korean roommate of protagonist Becca (Anna Kendrick). If the Dragon Lady trope was watered down and embodied in an 18-year old college roommate-from-hell, it would take the form of Kimmy Jin. Though the movie only draws on the “cold and mean” aspects of the Dragon Lady, it draws on it pretty hard. Kimmy spends the majority of her screen time glowering at Becca, spurning any friendly advances she makes, and associating only with her brethren from the Korean Student Association.
Kimmy is initially so unrelentingly cold and silent towards Becca, that Becca even questions her ability to speak English. Hey Becca, here’s a thought: maybe Kimmy hates you because you assume she can’t speak English based on her race. Becca the protagonist also has a strange compulsion to refer to her roommate by her full name. It’s almost as though she’s afraid the viewers will forget Kimmy isn’t white if she just uses her first name. We get it–she’s Korean. You can just call her Kimmy.
Again we get a portrayal of an Asian who remains distant due to her lack of talking, who is not easily understood as a person and ultimately remains somewhat “mysterious.” What we end up walking away with from Pitch Perfect are two poor, highly limiting representations of Asian women in film. Asian women are either quiet to the point of having a speech pathology or, if they can talk, they are still cold and won’t say much to you. Either way, they are shown as being different, with that difference solidly rooted in their race."
ICYMI: Nisha H’s review of Pitch Perfect and how it plays the Asian American female characters on the R today! (via racialicious)
President Obama used a new word during the presidential debate on Tuesday night to describe the masses of immigrants he’s deported during his tenure. He called them “gangbangers,” as in:
“What I’ve also said is if we’re going to go after folks who are here illegally, we should do it smartly and go after folks who are criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students, not after folks who are here just because they’re trying to figure out how to feed their families. And that’s what we’ve done.”
The line was a curious one, given the reality of Obama’s deportation record, which has been marked by mass deportations to the tune of nearly 400,000 every year carried out at a clip unseen by any prior president. The Obama administration has defended its “smart” enforcement tactics by, as Obama did on Tuesday night, pointing out that it makes a point to deport those who have committed serious crimes and are a threat to their communities and national security. And yet, data collected over Obama’s tenure show that among the close to 400,000 people who are deported annually, far from being “gangbangers,” the vast majority have no criminal record whatsoever."
Julianne Hing, “Who Are Those ‘Gangbangers’ Obama’s So Proud Of Deporting?,” Colorlines 10/17/12 (via racialicious)
got shown this image in class today, apparently this is how to differentiate between chinese and japanese people… because the japanese were ‘bad’ and the chinese were ‘good’ (post pearl harbor)
Your History of US Racism lesson for today.
And while such sexism and racism is relatively predictable from the tabloid press and bitter US coaches, the more liberal media and all kinds of “sports scientists“ came out publicly raising their well-educated eyebrows over Ye’s performance and analysing her race down to her last stroke. I can guarantee you that Ledecky’s swim will not come under anywhere near the level of scrutiny as Ye’s. Of course, I have no idea whether either of them are on drugs. Both their tests have come up negative but it’s possible that they might still be found positive in years to come as technologies catch up with each other. But I’m no more suspicious of Ye than I am of Ledecky, or of any Olympic athlete for that matter. And whatever happens from here, the level of quasi-scientific objectification of Ye’s body and performance that has already taken place (overwhelmingly by white men), is overtly reminiscent of an Orientalism that has formed the basis for shameful histories of sexual violence and racism.
Unable to offer any actual evidence that Ye was doping, media attention turned to her training regime. Whereas sports enthusiasts generally pride themselves on how hard “their” athletes train and how much they want to win it “for team GB/Australia/ team USA/insert country here,” the Internet was suddenly full of scathing attacks on what, having never been to China and having no understanding of Chinese culture, they assumed Ye’s tortuous training regime and nationalist indoctrination to be. Images from a Chinese article about unhappy children at gymnastic training camps were taken out of context by western journalists to prove how heinous and inhumane the “brutal training camps“ of China really are. Whereas identifying sporting potential at an early age and receiving a sport scholarship to live and train at a specialist institute is held in the highest prestige in Australia, the US, and other western countries, the same practices in China were deemed barbaric, heartless, and reflective of China’s vicious one-party “totalitarian” regime.
Now, I don’t have room here to go into the details of the Chinese political system and the life chances or “happiness levels” of an average Chinese citizen compared to citizens of multi-party western states. But no one reacted to Michael Phelps’ highly anomalous 17 Olympic gold medals by opening up a debate about the various problems of the US political system and the desperate measures that US athletes go to in the hope of Olympic glory. And at any rate, anyone who thinks human rights violations and standards of living are significantly worse in China than they are in, for example, the US, needs to have a critical think about the criteria they are using to make those judgements. None of this is to say that they aren’t massive problems with the Chinese state but, ultimately, it has to be asked why it is that when a young Chinese woman wins an event in a white-dominated sport, white men the world over feel both the need and entitlement to prove that she must have either been cheating or that she’s subject to a tortuous training regime unthinkable in the liberated west. So, true to every bad Hollywood movie you have ever watched featuring an Asian woman, she must either be a villain or a victim. In actual fact, Ye Shiwen is the hero in this story, and it’s about time we let her have the credit she deserves for playing that role in these Olympics."
The only thing I’m going to say about Sarah Keenan’s right-on breakdown of the racism and sexism on full, waving display against Ye Shiwen is:
No photos of Gackt?
But… He’s gorgeous…
My apologies, I’m just not into men who wear more makeup than I do.
But for those of y’all who like pretty mofos….
In terms of what people find attractive, to each their own. But subtly digging comments like “I’m just not into men who wear more make up than I do” is condescending, mean-spirited, and it’s aimed at both men who don’t fall into stereotypically masculine appearances and at people who find them attractive. I actually have a ton of issues with this blog. On one hand, it’s great that Asian men are getting attention and being seen as sexually attractive. That’s fantastic. What I DON’T like is that the owner of the blog is not only non-Asian, but also has professed their “love for Asians” many times. I talk a lot about fetishes that end up objectifying Asian females, but it’s pretty disturbing regardless of the gender. I’ve spoken to friends who have also experienced the Fetish, such as getting stereotyped as bottoms or submissive simply because they are of Asian descent.
Racial. Fetishes. Are. Not. Good.
Another exam’s tomorrow so nothing special for today, just a sketch of Mattie in Native American clothing. When I have more time I’ll draw him and Alfred as Native Americans 8)
Which Native American nation is this character from?
Is your character a person who has earned the right to wear the headdress?
Why have you chosen to portray your character in a stereotypical Plains headdress in the first place? Are you aware of how few Native American nations actually use this style of restricted headdress? Are you aware that women do not wear them at all? Do you know anything about what a person must do in order to be allowed to wear this?
Are you aware that when you say things like ‘Native American clothing’ and then produce a drawing like this, that you are doing the equivalent of saying, “Here is someone in Asian clothing” and then depicting an ao dai, as though that one Vietnamese article of clothing represents all ‘Asians’?
Please avoid perpetrating stereotypes this way.
"I absolutely reject the premise there is anything wrong with Black people “talking white”. It is as if to vast swathes of the privileged white left and impoverished Black community diction, education and a mastery of thought is somehow “white”… comrade, how wrong you are to say that after decades in academia I’m acting white. I’m being black. I’m being black everyday a cop pulls my car over for a “routine stop”, I’m being black each time I look in the mirror, and I’m damn well being black when I school young fools out of the myth our race is too ill-evolved to be both black and accomplished."
Elaine Brown, Secretary of the Black Panther Party, professor of sociology. (via ifury)
Exactly. There is no such thing as “acting white.” Blackness is its own fucking entity that is rich and multifaceted.