Asian Women Harmed by Portrayals in Media

Asian Women Harmed by Portrayals in Media

03.23.21
Photo: Walter McBride/Getty Images
03.23.21

The recent shootings targeting Asian women in three massage parlors in Georgia sparked a ripple effect of countless protests, social media posts and stories about the misogynistic and racist representation of their community. 

It is important to examine how America, the entertainment hub of the world, has humanized the harmful stereotypes of Asian women. Diet Prada created a timeline of the media’s controversial portrayals of them.

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

A film about the Vietnam War created by Stanley Kubrick included a scene where an Asian woman speaking broken English was offering two American soldiers sexual services. The stereotypical scene strengthens the media depiction of Southeast Asian women being sex workers and having little to no understanding of the English grammar using phrases like ”me so horny” and “me love you long time.”

Goldmember (2002)

Who doesn’t love a “happy ending?” The stereotypical phrase of the Asian community that belittles its women has been immorally humanized and rigorously shown in American television. One is in the Austin Powers series that showcased two Asian women acting as Japanese twins who seduce Powers into having a “top secret massage.” In the scene, Powers also marks off “threesome with Japanese twins” on his to-do list. 

Mean Girls (2004)

Yes, the iconic and much-loved movie also has racist and misogynistic depictions of Asians. The leader of the Asian clique in the movie, Trang Pak, had little-to-no importance than being the underage girl having an affair with the faculty member Coach Carr, an older white man. 

“Mostly Sex Stuff” Sketch (2012)

Stand-up comedian and actress Amy Schumer performed a sketch utterly mocking Asian women about their femininity. She attempts to jokingly say that Asian women have “the smallest vaginas in the game.” As if degrading a community of women by their genitalia is comedic. 

Kung Fu Vagina (2021) 

Yes, you have read it right. The viral music video “Kung Fu Vagina” was created by Kim Anami as a parody to the famous Carl Douglas’s 1974 song “Kung Fu Fighting.” Rather than leaving the original alone, Amani attempts to modernize the original lyrics of “everybody was kung fu fighting,” to the not-so-great lyrics of “everybody wants a kung fu vagina.” The almost three-minute video was directed by Shae Raven and features Anami plus other women in yellowface, clothed in stereotypical Asian clothing. The video has since been taken down on all platforms.

YR Media Statement in Support of AAPI Community
YR Media Statement in Support of AAPI Community