Hollywood’s Depictions of AAPI Women Causes Harm

The world is still trying to process the horrific acts of violence towards the asian american and pacific islander communities. The shooting in atlanta not only brings up violence towards asians but the violence individuals in the sex industry face.

Looking back at popular movies like Mean Girls and Austin Powers we can clearly see how these stereotypes and stigmas given to asian characters in these movies perpetuate societies views towards these communities, especially the women.

In this article Why Tina Fey is in Hot Water With the Asian Community its stated “you can go much further back in Fey’s career and find serious issues with the 2004 film Mean Girls, which Fey wrote. The movie’s script promotes the idea that Asian women are promiscuous, specifically with the characters of Trang Pak (Ky Pham) and Sun Jin Dinh (Danielle Nguyen). Those characters’ names alone are an issue—one of the names is a mashup of Vietnamese and Korean surnames, as noted by actress and writer Mara Wilson. But perhaps the most troubling aspect is the fact that the two high schoolers are both entangled in a romance with their much older gym teacher, Coach Carr (Dwayne Hill), a joke that underlines the all-too-common fetishizing of Asian women.”

This clip from austin powers is cringeworthy and hard to watch. After a slew of easy and sleazy jokes surrounding their names they offer Austin Powers a “top secret massage”, perpetuating the stigma between asian women and sex work, especially massage parlors.

These just name a few, and it’s hard to believe these stereotypes don’t have anything to do with current violence against these communities. While nothing is perfect I suggest watching one of the following to cleanse your palate: Crazy Rich Asians (2018), Always Be My Maybe (2019), To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018), and Never Have I Ever (2020)

1 thought on “Hollywood’s Depictions of AAPI Women Causes Harm

  1. Other films with healthier depictions of Asian women that I would recommend are Minari (2020), Searching (2018), and The Farewell (2019).

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