Lack of Asian Rolemodels Even in Recent Media

I am talking about whitewashing and stereotypes. This is a topic that has been covered by many. Even John Oliver has covered this topic, but it would seem that there is not even traction yet or most  western companies just seem to outright prefer having a majority White cast in a increasingly globalist society.

Look at it this way, growing up, all the other children seemed to be able to fit into their role-models of various Marvel characters or whatever popular action flick was on. I mean, in the 90s and 2000s, there was what? Jackie Chan? even then, his role was one of mostly comedy mixed with action.

Of course, I am just putting recent examples but you’d assume that having actors like Steven Yeun or Vincent Rodriguez III on The Walking Dead and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend respectively, times would have changed. No, but it seems that many products companies have yet to catch on that have a positive Asian male character is going to detrimentally affect your final product, in fact it gives the millions of young Asian children living in the west a role model that I didn’t have when I was younger and this is a very important factor in development for self esteem in my opinion.

Having positive Asian male and female characters in western media would do much to mitigate the identity crisis and the issue of being a perpetual foreigner. Just having that casual immersion, knowing that despite Asian people looking different, they are still citizens of what respective country they belong to. It teaches kids that race should not be a barrier to entry. It also provides the impetus for more Asians into a more diversified career path.

The news of Doctor Strange whitewashing characters was made evident late last year but after watching the trailer, it just became more and more evident about how awkward it all looks.

Near the beginning of the trailer, I saw a person with black hair walking forward. I was like, oh great! This means there’s going to an Asian character in this movie, who isn’t going to be a negative stereotype hopefully. I was only rewarded later with an awkwardly dressed Tilda Swinton.

 

swinton-strange-header

Tilda Swinton sure looks the part

Yes, I lazily picked out a picture comparing Tilda Swinton and the Ancient One from the original source. It is lazy but just judging from the amount of comparative images on google image searches alone, shows perhaps there is some public support for the casting of Asian characters in Hollywood. Yes, the Ancient One can be pushing the stereotype of wise Asian old men, but if they can revamp him into a Caucasian women, why not into a young Asian male or female?

I mean, surely the days of Genghis Khan being played by John Wayne are over, but it does seem like it’s far too hard for them to cast Asian actors even in a supporting role.

Likewise, with Vikings, which I just could not proceed to watch. Yes, it’s a show that takes huge amounts of liberty in terms of historical accuracy already.

Yidu

Asian fetishisation…in Vikings? Why, just why?

But…why an Asian women slave out of all the possibilities you could have, and a love interest as well? I mean, does pushing Asian women into some kind of docile sex object role appeal to people? I should stop asking these stupid questions, because they do, unless the History Channel has been incredibly misled. They will certainly lose many Asian viewers except for the Asian women who have fantasies rubbed into them of some White guy coming to take them away for a green card to the west. I am speaking out of nothing here, but I’m going to take a guess that there were not many Asian viewers anyway so this was perhaps a poorly executed ploy to gain them.

Yes, of course me talking about it is going to have little affect, but getting the conversation out there again and again, will spread awareness. Every little bit counts in the long run of these negative stereotypes and whitewashing that persists within much of Western media.

EDIT: The blame game has already come out from Hollywood. China is the first target as usual. People don’t give a crap. There are heaps of shows with Tibetan characters in China. Unless they stick FREE TIBET signs everywhere in the movie, there will be no problem. I don’t get why they have to keep shifting the blame.

 

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Lack of Asian Rolemodels Even in Recent Media

  1. shiroyuni

    Not to mention those live action remakes of Japanese anime and manga that force-fit white people into clearly Asian protagonists, especially for those series that have strong cultural affiliations and subtext that lose its narrative significance when taken out of their original Asian context. *cough* Ghost in the Shell *cough*

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Michael Post author

      Oh dear, don’t remind me! The worst movie of all time in my opinion…Dragonball Evolution? or perhaps The Last Airbender? Dear, please make them not exist.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    2. swise

      Do you think western audiences are going to magically understand the “strong cultural affiliations and subtext” if Hollywood studios cast Asian actors?

      47 Ronin cast lots of Japanese actors but the finished film bore almost no resemblance to Chushingura (the Kabuki play on which its based), and it was a complete flop in Japan.

      The reaction to Scarlett Johannsen as Kusanagi has been a lot more positive in Japan than in the US.

      Like

      Reply
      1. Michael Post author

        If you haven’t noticed, for the film 47 Ronin, they scrapped the entire movie in order to cast Keanu Reeves in a main role. The film itself was just a bad film.

        Like

        Reply
  2. Elvia

    Supposedly in Doctor Strange they wanted to avoid having a Tibetan Ancient One as the Chinese government might object.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Michael Post author

      There was also Hollywood blaming the lack of Black actors in movies on the Chinese as well. The Chinese government could not care less if you have a Tibetan in a movie, unless the person was wearing Tibetan flags around his body and shouting independence.

      There always seems to be a excuse on why Asian actors are not cast. For instance in the recent Ghost in the Shell casting…apparently Asian actors are not skilled enough now?

      Like

      Reply
      1. swise

        > For instance in the recent Ghost in the Shell casting…apparently Asian actors are not skilled enough now?

        Lots of Japanese people on social media are saying that Japanese actors’ English probably isn’t good enough. Certainly, fan-favorite Kikuchi Rinko’s English isn’t great, if you check out interviews on Youtube. Also, some people say that they’d rather have Scarlett Johannsen than some Korean or Chinese actress.

        The best solution would be to make it in Japanese with Japanese actors, but Americans don’t watch films with subtitles so that’s a non-starter.

        Like

        Reply
  3. Edward Newbauer

    The way Hollywood recruits actors for roles is simple, what will earn this movie the most money. Not total viewership or global social justice or cultural spite, but cold hard cash based on market research. There is your way to affect change.
    Put more asian actors in Hollywood if you want to see more asian actors. Have them work for pennies and studios will scoop them up wholesale. Most importantly, produce credible research that suggests asian actors will increase revenue in a variety of ways. Do this, and casting agents and studios will be clamouring for that asian flavor. If asian is too vague, make a specific country the focus of your campaign.
    Most importantly, by declaring that you care about the features and skin tone of the lead roles in films you are outing yourself as a bigot. Race isn’t real. Humans are all the same species and culture is a fabricated propaganda of government. Nationality is tribalism expand and warped to pit brother against brother and sister against sister.
    Return to the oneness of humanity.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Michael Post author

      You make a good point on that money is the end all for Hollywood but the consistent bias against Asian men especially within the Western film industry speaks otherwise. For instance the producer of Make It Pop, himself proclaimed for other personal reasons on not casting an Asian male. Race is very real, racism is very real. We can be idealistic about how we are all citizens of the world but sadly human relations are not there yet.

      Like

      Reply
  4. Marlon

    In general, I agree there’s too little Asian representation in the media, and I think it’s disgraceful how things like the Hunger Games and the Last Airbender were whitewashed.
    But in the case of Ghost in the Shell, I don’t really see how its any different to Hollywood remakes of foreign films/tv series like House of Cards (originally British), the Killing (Danish), Nikita (French), where they get remade with US actors for US audiences.
    I don’t think Japanese films should be treated specially just because Japan is an Asian country.
    I think there’s a tendency to see everything that comes out of Japan as somehow “typically Japanese”, even when it really isn’t and the same story would also work in other contexts.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Michael Post author

      It’s a mix match of issues to do with nationalism and race. With the Asian whitewashing, it’s more to do with race but Japan itself is more to do with nationalism (due to their negative outlook on other Asians).

      My main point stands about lack of positive Asian characters in media. We don’t need more self deprecating Asians in media. We need more Asian characters proud of their heritage. We don’t need more Asian women being subjected to Western fetishes, we need more Asian women who are just women.

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s