Pitiful Asian representation in Hollywood matters, especially as anti-Asian hate crimes rise

Pitiful Asian representation in Hollywood matters, especially as anti-Asian hate crimes rise

Despite Chloe Zhao and Yuh-Jung Youn’s high-profile wins at the Academy Awards this year, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders remain massively underrepresented in Hollywood, and a recent study puts the numbers on it. The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative looked at the 1,300 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2019, and found that just 44 had an Asian or Pacific Islander lead or co-lead. And in the films that did have an AAPI lead, there was about a one in three chance that it was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Not only that: Just six of the movies had an AAPI woman in a leading role, and not a single one of those women was 40 years old or older. Nearly 40% of the films had zero AAPI characters, and 59% had no female AAPI characters. And when Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are represented, it … can be bad.

“Despite the more visibility of Asians in popular consciousness in popular culture, they are still not just quantitatively underrepresented, but they are qualitatively tokenized, isolated, and stereotyped, unfortunately, and they’re still not as complex as they could be,” report co-author Nancy Wang Yuen told USA Today. One way that plays out is in the hypersexualization of women and the emasculation of men.

This is particularly relevant in the wake of more than a year of high-profile demonization of Chinese people around the coronavirus pandemic, concurrent rising anti-Asian hate crimes, and the mass shooting at Atlanta-area spas in which six of eight people killed were women of Asian descent. Representation matters, and not to denigrate The Rock or anything, but the AAPI community is a little bit broader.

We’re at the end of Asian Heritage Month. Maybe take a couple hours to look up a movie or television show that lets Asian characters and Asian actors speak.

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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