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    Latest Topics


    Asian Representation in Western Film

    With the recent popularity of #StarringJohnCho, discuss the history of Asians in Western Television and Film and the possible reasons why there is so little Asian representation today. Why are there so few leading Asians in film, and why does Hollywood tend to stick Asians into stereotypical supporting roles?

    • Hollywood's formula at its most reductive is a film which attracts the largest consumer or the most specific one (camera angles, landscapes, fandom etc.). This isn't to say Asian America doesn't consume film. Rather, it means there is a presumed range of audience-consumers who watch films for pleasure and, as a result, won't care whether the portrayal of the Hero who exercises restraint and is later rewarded is White or Asian. But there lies the paradox: films which are enjoyable because characters express a philosophy or individuality audiences can live through vicariously means that there is an emotion or performed emotion which is accepted as universal. Justice looks like this, honour like that. However, this axiom (self-evident truth not up for discussion) has been established alongside, in response to, or disavowing a history which is, fundamentally, racist. The term carries hostile connotations, yeah, but it also speaks to a legacy of bad blood recognized and enforced by the law to keep the peace. Asians in supporting roles confirms what is imagined as quintessentially Asian. This specificity is something the cast, rather than the lead, should accomplish because authority, which the cast defers to the lead, is assumed to lack or exist in spite of such associations. Thus, the lack of Asian leads is because there is the implicit understanding that Whiteness is unquestionably located in a philosophy that aspires to transcend or progress past racialized and ethnic histories and identities. Bring an Asian into the picture to represent a role considered unhindered by this baggage and the narrative is disrupted. Most times, it is then critiqued for attempting to insert politics into a space reserved for enjoyment—and unquestioned for its White legacy. – JMIWrites 8 years ago
    • Great topic -- has anyone done this already? Asians are a massively underecognized ethnicity in film. As an asian american myself I am always on the lookout for asians in hollywood. – sophiacatherine 8 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    Great article! I love all four movies, and all four characters. Your analysis of all four characters was very insightful and made me think more critically about seemingly “strong” female characters, especially in Disney movies. Great job!

    A Look at 'Zootopia': How Its Heroine Plays in the Field of Fellow Disney Women

    I’m a bit late, but great job! I had the feeling Steve was depressed when watching the movies as well. Analyzing Steve in relation to depression symptoms was a great way to structure the article.

    Captain America: A Case Study in Depression

    Thanks for the interesting article! You bring up an interesting conversation about violence in media and its influence on society. I enjoy watching Criminal Minds, and I will admit it’s because I find stories about crime and serial killers interesting. Though I consciously do acknowledge that the violence depicted in the show is awful, it is so easy for me to just see it as a story. I would bet that a victim of horrible violence in real life would look down upon shows like Criminals Minds as it trivializes their experiences. Just like the proposed video game/violence relationship, determining if violent media truly has an impact on violence in society is an extremely complex and difficult question to answer definitively or even try to measure objectively.

    'Criminal Minds': Television's Violent Crime and its Impact on Audiences and Reality

    Great article! I binged the whole series the day it came out. As you mentioned, the complexity of all of the characters is what makes Jessica Jones great. The ambiguity of the characters’ intentions and their decisions is what made it so compelling – nothing in real life is black and white, and Jessica Jones has lots of grey area.

    Jessica Jones Punches the way for Female Superheroes

    Great article! I agree that Marvel is not likely to make a movie for Black Widow as she is, as you said, a great supporting character. It is unfortunate, since I think that a Black Widow movie would have paved the way for more female lead superhero movies in the future. In terms of a cost-benefit analysis for movie studios, they are not likely to invest in a female lead superhero movie until one is very successful which in turn is never going to happen unless a studio is willing to take a risk.

    Black Widow: Audiences' Expectations for Female Superheroes