Anon asked: This is a very stupid question I’m sure but, umm, okay… So when writing diverse characters, staying away from stereotypes is important, and research is important to do that. Part of that research is watching and reading entertainment made by that culture. Got that.
So, what do I take away from media that perpetuates the stereotype within that culture? I’m thinking specifically of the stereotype of Asian women being small, demure and submissive. They seem overwhelmingly (to my white western eyes) portrayed that way in anime and in live action movies. A least the “good” women are submissive. The rowdy girls are comedic side characters or … evil? The same thing you get in western black and white movies from the thirties and forties etc. A lot of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, seemed about preventing a young girl from being powerful to me, and I expect I’m missing context but I don’t know what it is.
A lot of the time I just want to go “Screw it, she’s going to be a sexy mining engineer who drinks beer and picks daisies,” because that’s what I like writing, and yet that also seems dismissive. I don’t want to just ignore the culture because I’m white and that’s easier, but then when I do need a cultural reference they seem to tell me those heroines aren’t part of it. That they’re too western.
Do you mod’s have any suggestions on how on navigating this?
Expand the works you’re consuming—I don’t know what you’re looking at, but I do know of dramas/movies that certainly don’t perpetuate the stereotype of small/demure/submissive girls being the ideal (Surplus Princess, Legend of the Condor Heroes, and Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber, for example, have heroines who are far from demure and submissive, and the narratives certainly don’t punish them for it. And I really don’t think they’re few and far between.)
It really seems like from your question that you haven’t looked at a lot of media just yet if that’s the impression you’re getting re: Asian women. There’s a myriad of personalities portrayed among them in Asian works, and while the demure, submissive type is definitely one of those, it’s also not the only one that’s portrayed as a positive. Pinning millions of women down to one personality type seems dismissive.
I mean, as an East Asian lady, I don’t see why there couldn’t be a sexy mining engineer who drinks beer and picks daisies. We’re not a monolith, after all, and while I don’t think you’d be able to find a perfect match in Asian works, you’d at least be able to find some heroines with some of those aspects. (e.g. Evangelion, at least, has Misato Katsuragi, who is a totally kick-ass heroine, and drinks beer, and is hardly submissive.)