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The Joy Luck Club - Essay Example

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Summary
The Joy Luck Club was a Hollywood movie that truly showcased Asian culture. It presented Asians as three-dimensional complex characters. They were real people, not simply the stereotype. It's these kinds of movies that make Asians feel that Hollywood values and respects their culture…
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The Joy Luck Club
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The Joy Luck Club

Download file to see previous pages... There is at the most only one Asian actor out of ten. And the Asian cast barely gets the top part. Unless he is Jackie Chan, he'd probably get only minor roles.
In my opinion, this should change. You don't need an Asian related plot in the story to cast Asians. There are plenty American citizens who have Asian origin. They are what you can call "All American" already.
Mainstream Hollywood films and TV shows often contain a stereotype Asian: geeky, foreign, martial arts expert, domestic or someone who barely speaks English. Take for example the TV series Heroes in NBC. It's about individuals having extraordinary powers, trying to save the world. The plot is very culture neutral. But take a look at the character Hiro Nakamura. He's Japanese and he has the power to stop time. Notice that he has glasses, looks harmless and a little geeky. In Grey's Anatomy - ABC's TV series about doctors, Cristina Yang is perhaps the only Asian woman in the series. She is hardworking and very driven. Again, like Hiro Nakamura, she is bordering on being geeky.
The movies are no better. In Charlie's Angels, Alex Munday - played by Lucy Lui, was the intellectual 'techy' geek. It doesn't matter that she looks gorgeous. She's an Asian woman, she has to be good with computers. In Two Weeks Notice, George Wade - played by Hugh Grant comments on how the good the maid looks that day. He tells her that she looks like a "young Imelda Marcos". The maid is obviously Asian. In The Nanny Diaries, one of the nannies is also Asian. Therefore, aside from being intelligent and geeky, Asians are also portrayed as domestics.
So how is it possible that Hollywood can make one movie brilliantly correct about Asian culture and make a thousand others that utterly misperceive the same Asian culture In my opinion, it's because of lack of thought.
You see, these stereotypes did not come out of thin air. In a way, they have factual basis. There are Asians who work very well with computers and Asians who are into martial arts or are domestics. And we cannot deny that there are Asian tourists who cannot speak English very well. It's true that not all Asians are like that, but they are the ones that stand out. They stand out because their different. Their image sticks to you.
Of course there are also Asians who have been living all their life in America. Who are American citizens and speak English like everyone else. They have embraced the American culture. And it's even possible that they have never actually set foot in Asia or any place outside America. They could be doctors, lawyers, teachers, writers, you name it. They are as normal as your average Joe. But we don't notice them because they are just like everyone else. Instead, we remember the geek, the nanny and the tourists.
In my opinion, this is how the stereotype began in the first place. And Hollywood just didn't take the time to change that. Therefore, even if they make one or two brilliant film about Asian culture, because of lack of awareness and thought, they carelessly continue to stereotype Asians in the rest of the films they make.
The Joy Luck Club did not break stereotype
People may say that Hollywood succeeded in breaking the stereotype. I do not agree. The success of Hollywood in portraying Asians a little bit more accurately in the movie The Joy Luck Club is because of two things. First, this movie was an adaptation of the book: The Joy Luck ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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