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Pet Sins December 1999 Issue
East Asian women in American pop culture - predictable roles and limited functions

Yellow women in American movies and advertising more often than not fall into one of the following categories: love interests to white male characters (pretty' trophies to make white men look good); players in a story that highlight the supposedly extreme sexism of Asian society (vehicles establishing Western moral/cultural superiority by virtue of implied contrast), and exotic marketing props.

They appear in lead and token roles very frequently, considering that their male counterparts are, more often than not, conspicuously absent.

Bits and pieces of 'progressive feminism' thrown into the fiction may disguise the racism behind casting decisions and character designs, but it will probably do us little good to be in denial about the true intentions of the 'mainstream' media. Those of us in the creative industries can see for ourselves the limitations imposed upon our Asian brothers and sisters, and choose to create better stories and fairer roles. Those of us who consume entertainment can do so more mindfully and tailor our viewing and reading choices to support the under-represented.