Media portrayals of interracial couples reflect the historical experience of Asian
Americans in this respect: mainstream American society accepted Asian feminine sexuality
more than a century before it accepted Asian American social and political equality. Thus,
the fact that in mainstream media, Asian American women are more frequently paired with
white men than Asian American men are paired with any women, ethnic Asian or otherwise,
primarily reflects the dominant media power of white men, which is not necessarily
sympathetic to social progress for Asian Americans.
A longer essay elaborating the asymmetric media representation of Asian American women
and men is cached here from the Pomona College website.
|The Joy Luck Club, perhaps the most successful film to feature a predominantly
Asian-American cast, has been widely criticized for its negative portrayals of Asian men.
As in Amy Tan's book, interracial relationships with white men are invoked as a metaphor
for assimilation into American culture. The disparate treatment of the otherwise
coordinate experience of Asian-American women and men serves to emasculate Asian American
men by misrepresenting their attitudes towards women as un-American and uniformly
chauvinistic and misogynistic.
||In sharp contrast to the mainstream media's full acceptance of white male-Asian female
couples, the popular movie Sixteen Candles portrays white female-Asian male couples
as inherently absurd. Gedde Watanabe's Long Duk Dong is assigned the role of ethnic
freak. The sound of a gong heralds each of his on-screen appearances, reminding the viewer
that race is at the forefront of his character's meaning.
|Nowhere is the disparate treatment of Asian-American women and men more apparent than
in television news. Despite the recent breakup of the Connie Chung and Dan
Rather anchor team on the CBS Evening News, Asian American women continue to be
vastly overrepresented as local anchorpersons, usually in combination with white male
co-anchors. Not one instance of an Asian male/non-Asian female anchor team has been
observed anywhere in the nation. Asian American men in broadcast journalism continue to
serve primarily as Asia-based correspondents or as junior reporters.