The Submissive Asian Girl Stereotype

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.)

—mod Jess

there are tons of posts like that but it still needs saying

don’t exclude sex-repulsed asexuals

don’t exclude aromantic asexuals

don’t exclude asexuals and/or aromantics who happen to be emotionally reserved or ‘cold’

don’t exclude neuroatypical asexuals and/or aromantics

don’t exclude asexuals and/or aromantics who are also rape survivors or in general had bad expiriences with dating

don’t exclude asexuals and/or aromantics with poor social skills

don’t exclude people of a certain orientation just because they ‘fit a stereotype’

Glendale, Missouri police officer removed from duty for Ferguson comments.

This makes four officers that I know of who were removed from duty due to actions and comments. You think it isn’t about race? That these officers are fair, not overly violent, and police evenly? When you have criminal justice scholars, professors, textbooks, and research telling you that the system is racist, you won’t believe it. People like you are the problem. Facts do not mean anything, when it forces you to re-examine your own prejudices. Cognitive dissonance is a bitch.

I repeat: these stereotypes are dangerous. Reducing Asian women into a sexual object is not funny, it is not flattering. It is perilous. We can see this when Asian women are subject to race-targeted sexual violence. The racist nature of the crimes go unrecognized and unpunished, as if there is nothing wrong with choosing a rape victim because she is Asian.

In Spokane, Washington, two white men and a woman specifically hunted random Japanese women in an elaborately planned scheme to kidnap, rape, sodomize, torture and videotape them. Their motivation? According to police reports, the rapists had a sexual “fantasy” and “fixation” about young Japanese women, who they believed were “submissive.” (The very same beliefs so blatantly bandied about by Gawker and some of its readers.)

During a one month period in Autumn 2000, the predators abducted five Japanese exchange students, ranging from age 18 to 20. Motivated by their sexual biases about Asian women, all three used both their bodies and objects to repeatedly rape - vaginally, anally and orally — two of the young women over a seven hour ordeal.

In Spokane, one of the attackers immediately confessed to searching only for Japanese women to torture and rape — and eventually all pled guilty and were convicted. It clearly was a racially-motivated criminal case. The victims also believed they were attacked because of their race, the prosecutor told me.

What is astonishing, however, is that the district attorney failed to bring an additional charge that would have tagged the crimes as motivated by racial bias. The police also neglected to report the crime as a “hate crime,” as demanded by the Justice Department to keep accurate statistics of all bias-driven crimes. Although the attackers all received long sentences, an important opportunity to raise the nation’s consciousness was lost. We, as a society, were told that it’s not a hate crime to rape an Asian woman because of her race.
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the lyrics to ‘Pretty Boy' are so on point with issues, gender roles and assumptions concerning the ‘flower boy’ image of some idols (of course, particularly Taemin in this song) in Korea as well as the idea of what makes up a man according to society. 

Just because a man is ‘pretty’ doesn’t mean that he can’t be manly. 

Just because a man is emotionally sensitive doesn’t mean that he isn’t manly. 

Just because a man looks pretty doesn’t mean that he’s always full sparkles and glitter and marshmallows or whatever the fuck some people used to think Taemin was made up of, and this song just perfectly conveys how he really feels after years of cooing and coddling from fans, seniors, and (probably) peers. He’s a grown man now and wants to be seen as one

Thank you Jonghyun for penning the incredible lyrics. If the fandom hasn’t already, I’m sure that through this album a lot of us are seeing Taemin as a 상남자  (real man, quote Jonghyun), even if he is the eternal baby of the fandom <3 

Lyrics to the song here

i’m really sick of the ‘male/female’ natural interest dichotomy. growing up, males are asked to go help fix cars and mow lawns etc. and females aren’t. then, as you get older, men laugh like ‘lol u don’t even know what a radiator is’ and it’s like no we weren’t socialised to ‘like’ that stuff. it’s not because we’re naturally bad at mechanics or physical labour - it’s because we were never taught. they don’t teach us as children but patronize us when, as adults, we don’t know much about it. 

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Watch: If Latinos said the stuff white people say to them it would sound super offensive

Irony (n): When you ask someone from the second oldest ethnic group in the United States if they’re here “illegally.”

Welcome to being Latino, where you’re frequently treated like a cultural alien no matter where you’re actually from or how long you’ve been here. These and other slights pepper BuzzFeed’s new video “If Latinos Said the Stuff White People Say,” which humorously redirects racially insensitive assumptions toward the people who might otherwise express them.

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cardozzza said:

Hi, FYWH! I'm writing a thing, and the story centers around two queer women. I've been frustrated that all the LGBT+ books I could find centered around tropes like 'everything that happens is because you're gay!' or 'your family will abandon you!'. Are there any other tropes I should be aware of?

There are a few other common ones that you probably know of, but I’ll go ahead and list out:

The Villainous Gay/Murderous Trans Person/Violent Bisexual - This all stems from the same idea - there is something inherently wrong with being queer, and that will manifest in terrible ways. It’s also taking advantage of ‘gay panic’ and the fear of gay people being attracted to straight people by translating that fear into murder and violent actions.

Curing the Lesbian  - This is one thing that only, only happens to women who like women - the idea that lesbians can be ‘cured’  of only liking women by that one special guy’s dick, always through sex, always changing them to like men instead of realizing they are bisexual. It goes hand-in-hand with the narrative that women who are lesbians just have something against men, that their attraction isn’t legitimate.

The Gay Best Friend/Sidekick - The GBF you know - he’s the one who knows all about fashion and is a great listener to his straight girl friends, and that’s the only role he serves. There’s a whole movie about this. The Sidekick is more common in books that are trying to do better, but to me they still have a lot of the same problems - they are a secondary character who is the single person not straight, and that takes up much of their personality and purpose.

While there are more (and people are welcome to add their own), your basic safety net is ensuring that your characters are people first, and their sexuality does not drive all of their actions, motivations, or personality. See Also: