Saturday, March 2, 2013

Misconceiving Illusion

            Asian American women are viewed as geisha girls, lotus blossom, and dragon ladies. People have developed an image that does not represent every single Asian American women; in fact it might not even represent any Asian American women. These types of stereotypes hurt Asian Americans and people that actually think that a particular image fits every Asian American.
            In a book by Sheridan Prasso, The Asian Mystic, he explains that backpackers travel to Asia to meet new exciting people, like the people they see in their favorite “Asian-based” movies, but once they get to their destination they find out that they are not any different from the people in America, “Asians they’d met were just as practical, materialistic and interested in making a buck as people back home” (Prasso 16).The media creates stereotypes that foster the illusion of the typical Asian American woman; they use the same stereotypes in almost every movie, as if they didn’t know that the misconception was hurting anyone. “Traise Ya-mamoto, an associate professor at the University of California-Irvine has noted, adding that such misperceptions can ‘cripple careers’ when bosses or colleagues expect an Asian woman to act demure, docile, or ‘nice’ because of her ethnicity,” (Prasso 15).
            Stereotypes also hurt people that have made an impact in the world with their academic knowledge. Dr. Pasuk Phaogpaichit, a Cambridge-trained economist and author of one of the most influential books ever published in Thailand says that she is first looked as a women, second as a Thai, and third as an economist (Prasso 15) . She has worked so hard for her Dr. title and people show her disrespect by seeing her as a sexual Thai woman. She states that when speaking abroad to economic experts accompanied by her English writer husband, economic experts usually tend to shake her husbands hand first as if though he was Dr. Pasuk. When corrected, they are surprised that a 52 Thai women, not the tall British man, is the economist. “ Even after delivering an important economic paper, she gets the impression, based on questions posed afterward, that they’re hearing her words through a filter: as a woman first, as a Thai second, and only third as an economist and academic. Not even knowledgeable professionals can escape the misconceptions set by the media. 
             Many Asian American people have to go through racial comments set by stereotypes almost every single day, because the media has portrait them as model minorities, dragon ladies, non-English speaking foreigners, or smart Asian old men. It is as though white Americans stay in control by promoting stereotypical images of successful people, from different ethnicity's other than white, in order to prevent particular groups of people from being looked as dominant. People that are not being targeted by these stereotypes, might not know that these stereotypes set by Americans hurt those who have to deal with these stereotypes in a daily basis. An Asian American girl that created a YouTube account, to let people know that these stereotypes do not portray who she is, states that its angers her when people see her stereotypical and she wants to advice people that stereotypes do not represent who she is. She never describes who she is, but by the sound of it, stereotypes do not represent her.

Works Cited 

"The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, & Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient". PublicAffairs. April 5, 2005. 

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