Who are you? Sandra Oh or Hanna Mae Lee?

Who are you? Sandra Oh or Hanna Mae Lee?

Connie Chung and Suzy Wong are both representations of Asian American women in media and art. Connie Chung is the academic, loyal, dependable, and hard working Asian woman whereas Suzy Wong is the domineering, sexual, pretentious, and rebellious Asian woman. In modern day media, Sandra Oh who plays Christina in Greys Anatomy is a representation of the independent, sexual, and strong head Asian woman. Oh plays a competitive surgeon who has a sexual and intimate relationship with a white male surgeon, Owen. Yeah, again, reinforcing this thing we call white superiority and “send-the-white-man-to-save-the-Asian-woman” phenomena. He does, indeed, “save” Oh by offering her a job and “divorcing” her for her best interest. It’s quite interesting how media continues to portray Asian women as in company of white men and/or needing white men to save her from some situation. Again, reinforcing this racial and gender hierarchy prevalent in America. Another profound example is Hana Mae Lee who plays “Lilly” on the popular Pitch Perfect. Lilly is both figuratively and literally voiceless, kind of strange, and a whole lot of corky. The name itself,Lilly,says a lot about how producers want her character to be perceived. Lilies are soft and have a certain tenderness to its name; hence, Lilly is perceived as the quiet, submissive, and gentle Asian American woman.
Stereotypes of Asian American women is extensively portrayed and reinforced through media. This is more detrimental than meets the eye. The term Asian American is an umbrella term. There are various ethnicities and cultures that fall within this identity. Stereotypes often undermine cultural diversity and instead, groups people into the same category and “ethnicity”. For example, when people first meet me they assume that I am Filipino or some type of Pacific Islander. One often concludes that I am not “chinky” enough to be Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, not “ghetto” or “dark” enough to Cambodian or Vietnamese, and not “FOB” enough to be Hmong. Stereotypes, like these, contribute to the “idea” or “image” of groups of people and often undermine individuality. To me, it is difficult to be an individual and to embrace my uniqueness as an Asian American woman when stereotypes like exoticism and submissiveness are believed to be inherent traits.


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