A & M 「Part I: Asian Masculinity & Identity」

Posted on May 21, 2016
Lets start of with a quote. This one is by Junot Díaz,『Boston Review

“And yet here’s the rub: if a critique of white supremacy doesn’t first flow through you, doesn’t first implicate you, then you have missed the mark; you have, in fact, almost guaranteed its survival and reproduction. There’s that old saying: the devil’s greatest trick is that he convinced people that he doesn’t exist. Well, white supremacy’s greatest trick is that it has convinced people that, if it exists at all, it exists always in other people, never in us.”

If you try and tell your white friends that you have dating problems, and that Asian men face an unfair disadvantage in the dating world, they will probably tell you that you are deluded for thinking so. They may in fact snigger and laugh at you for saying something like that. Thinking again, this is probably the stupidest thing that you can do. Don’t go to your white friends to try to get them to sympathize with you, because they probably won’t. What do you do then? You should probably turn to your Asian friends. Some of your Asian friends will probably have sympathy for you; they probably have experienced the exact same thing that you have. But some may also call you deluded for thinking so like your white friends. It’s best to ignore those guys.

What about Asian girls ? Can you have some sympathy from them?.... it’s probably best not to gain sympathy from them either. Your probably expecting to gain some sympathy from the Asian sisters too right? In fact, I do too. The truth however, is more muddled. You won’t get any sympathy from your Asian sisters either. But don’t lose hope, some of them can see through the bullshit for the truth. So what’s the problem with Asian women then?

The problem is with Asian Feminists. Asian Feminists are what you call normal feminists. Except for one thing. Whereas traditional Feminism is about dismantling the Patriarchy, the definition of Feminism in Asian circles is about dismantling the Asian Patriarchy. There’s nothing wrong with that in Asia, where Asian men hold the power, but what about in North America? As Asian men, we don’t hold much or any power in America. All the institutions in this country whether Legal, Cultural, Political are controlled by white men. So logically Asian feminists should be attacking the white patriarchy right? Yet, Asian feminists still have a problem with us. We are, apparently Patriarchal, yet we do not possess any of that patriarchal power.

Then there are women like this  —  「I’m an Asian Woman and I Refuse to Ever Date an Asian」. Source : XOJANE

I’m an Asian girl. I don’t date Asian guys. Yep, I’m one of those that date lots and lots of (mostly, but not always) white guys.

Why? It’s simple: I’m a racist.

I date white men because the term “model minority” grosses me out. I date white men because it feels like I’m not ostracizing myself into an Asian ghetto and antiquated ideas of Asian unity. I still see myself as a minority. And with that, pretty soon comes connotations of “outsider.” And I don’t like that.

Dating white men means acceptance into American culture. White culture.

Wait, What? What the hell ? How did things come to this? To explain that, we must tell the story of our own identity. Because the history of the Asian American male experience is inextricably linked to what we experience today.

Throughout the 1900s, stereotypical images of Asian American men were seen in cartoons, Broadway shows, film, and television shows. White actors put on “yellow face” and taped their eyes to appear Chinese or Japanese. The movie character Dr. Fu Manchu was an Oriental mastermind who typified the lack of heterosexuality and the Yellow Peril at the same time (Espiritu). The buck-toothed bumbling image of Asian American men could be seen in movies such as 「Breakfast At Tiffany’s」, while the nerdy, lustful image could be seen in 「Sixteen Candles」. In the Broadway production 「M. Butterfly」, the effeminate image of Asian American men became intertwined with issues of sexuality when the lead character was a cross-dressing Chinese male spy who falls in love with a British male spy (J. Chan). South Asian American men became equated with turbans, mystics, and quickie-marts in shows such as 「The Simpsons」 and the film 「The Guru」. 「The Joy Luck Club」 became a mainstream Asian American movie that had very few, if any, redeeming Asian and Asian American men. They were portrayed as misogynistic and cheap, and their Asian American women love interests turned to relationships with White men. Source

Asian men have always been portrayed negatively by the white supremacy. From white actors that have put on “yellow face” to appear east Asian, too Asian characters that embody the worst qualities (i.e. Nerd, lustful, effeminate). But what is most suspect might be the constant pairing of Asian females with white males. It isn’t a coincidence that there are so many films always pair the Asian female with the white male.

And heres more. Here’s a partial list of films, all with WMAF pairings. Think of how many AMWF pairings are on screen. Walking dead」..... and ?

A Partial List of Films With WMAF pairings
  • 1907–1927+ 「Madame Butterfly」
  • 1922 「The Toll Of The Sea」
  • 1989+ 「Miss Saigon」
  • 2004 「The Beautiful Country」
  • 「The Expendables」 (can’t remember which one)
  • 1985 「Rambo: First Blood Part II」
  • 2013 「Ninja: Shadow Of A Tear」
  • 1989 「Kickboxer」
  • 1984 「The Karate Kid 1」
  • 1986 「The Karate Kid 2」
  • 2010 「Karate Kid」 (reboot)
  • 2008 「Iron Road」
  • 2003 「The Last Samurai」
  • 2013 「The Wolverine」
  • 2013 「Make Your Move 3D」
  • 2013 「47 Ronin」
  • 2014 「Fist Of The Dragon」
  • 2009 「Ninja」
  • 1991 「Showdown In Little Tokyo」
  • 2002 「The Transporter」
  • 1993 「Joy Luck Club」
  • 2008 「The Forbidden Kingdom」
  • 2012 「The Man With The Iron Fists」
  • 1997–2002 「Ally McBeal」 (tv series)
  • 1999 「Payback」
  • 2000 「Shanghai Noon」
  • 2003 「Shanghai Noon 2」
  • 2012 「Safe」
  • 2007 「Live Free Or Die Hard」
  • 1960 「The World Of Suzie Wong」
  • 2001–2011 「Harry Potter」 series (Sorry for ruining your childhood)
  • 2008 「Bangkok Dangerous」
  • 2006 「The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift」
  • 2006 「The Fast And The Furious 7」 (AKA Furious 7」)
  • 2013–2015+ 「Mistresses」 (tv series)
  • 2010 「The Social Network」
  • 2014 「The Interview」
  • 2015 「Blackhat」
  • 2014 「Marco Polo」 (tv series)

One has to ask, why are there so many films with this type of couple? Why isn’t there a single film where AMWF is represented? This is social engineering at its finest. If you don’t believe that Asian men are emasculated by white society, then ask yourself this question: What is the purpose of such underhand tactics if not to emasculate asian males?

The Concept of Asian Masculinity
In a study of Asian Americans and identity, Kohatsu (1992) found that men were significantly more aware of racism than women. This finding is not surprising considering the historical and cultural oppression geared toward Asian American men.

It isn’t surprising that Asian men face more racism then Asian women. The typical portrayal of Asian women in the media is a women that is submissive, exotic, and a sexual geshia. But it isn’t women that have to put their self out there, it is men. Hence, men feel much more racism then women. For other men, they might not be associated with a stereotype at all. But as Asian men, it seems most women think of as stereotypes, instead of the human beings that we are. And as discussed earlier, Asian men have faced the most oppression in all three spheres of public opinion: Legal, Political, and Cultural. So under this oppression, we must not let White supremacy control our narrative. We must create our own masculinity as defined by us.

Asian American masculinity is a concept that has been mostly externally defined (J. Chan, 2001; J. W. Chan, 1998; Espiritu, 1997). With the locus of control largely being external, the impact of racism and a racialized gender identity on Asian American men could create negative self-evaluations due to a failure to live up to others’ expectations.

J. Chan explored the popular images of Chinese American men, finding that archetypal images of being effeminate yet also kung fu master were used to relegate Chinese American men to a lower social status than other groups.

Within the framework of hegemonic masculinity, Asian American masculinities are then subordinated, as are other forms of masculinity, such as those among men of color, gay men, and bisexual men. Some of the existing literature on Asian American masculinity focused on White perspectives of Asian American men as effeminate and asexual while at the same time patriarchal and domineering (J. Chan; J. W. Chan; Cheng, 1996; Chua & Fujino, 1999). These contradictory and competing images of Asian American men serve not only to uphold the cultural and institutional racism in society but also to confuse the development of Asian American men to the point where their self-images are in reaction to those popular images as opposed to being internally defined (J. W. Chan; Espiritu; Liu, 2000, 2002).

The concept of Asian Masculinity, from the start has been from the onset, defined by whites. They haven’t given us a chance to define our own masculinity, and they never will. From the onset, our masculinity has been subjugated by white men. Masculinity is not as simple as just a simple idealism of what it is to be a man. There are particular ideals in different societies to what a man should represent, and that is easily seen.

In America however, the masculinity that american society idealizes does not include us. But why hasn’t it included us? Because this was instigated on purpose, in order to emasculate us; these stereotypes serve to uphold the cultural and institutional racism to prevent us from developing our own male identity. So stop beating yourselves up over stereotypes, none of them are true. We need to define ourselves as men without resorting to reactionary measures like “I’ll go to the gym more, I’ll do more self -improvement, so I can get girls!!!”

In Cheng’s (1996) studies on masculinities in organizations, college students had to select among their classmates people who would serve as leaders for group projects and what values they needed to possess. He found that all the leadership values students were looking for were based on hegemonic masculinity. What naturally followed was the selection of mostly White men to be group leaders followed by White women who emulated masculine behaviors. Of all the racial and gender groups, Asian American men were the least likely to be chosen for leadership positions within their class. Students cited meritocracy to rationalize their decisions. However, when Cheng analyzed all the selected leaders based on merit alone, the Asian American men were more qualified than the students who were selected.

In other words, even though we are more qualified, we are not allowed to be leaders because we are asian. AKA the bamboo ceiling, it exists because of RACISM. “Holistic” assessments that penalize us are because of racism. People that say we study too hard or play too much violin and piano? Racists.

He found that supplemental forms of oppression existed for Asian American men whereby their masculinity and sexuality were intertwined. He contended that the queerphobia in Asian communities, privileging heteronormativity within the Asian culture and denigrating queerness with Whiteness, presented supplemental forms of oppression that did not replace mainstream racism and queerphobia. In addition to feeling oppressed within the Asian American community, queer Asian American men may also feel oppressed within the queer community with the appropriation of U.S. Orientalism that exoticizes and colonizes Asian American men into hypersexually desirable beings. Kumashiro cited the inversion of privilege and oppression within both the Asian American community and queer community as new forms of oppression

Think you are the only one being emasculated, and stereotyped? Wrong. Oppression of Asian American men exists and oppresses men who are homosexual. Queer Asian American men are also oppressed and excoticized. Whether we are gay or straight, all Asian men are oppressed. We are all in the same rocking boat, whether we like it or not.
Read 「Part 2 of Asian Masculinity & Identity」 Here.

A & M : Awaken your inner Asian
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