“#HollywoodSoWhite”

                 Brody-Oscar-Whiteness-Machine-1200
                  In today’s world films they have a significant role in the way our society is shaped and how culture trends are created. We may think that racial issues is still an issue of the past only because we do not have people openly saying or doing racist things but even today we have realization that we are wrong. Racial issues are still happening now but are being masked in a way where visual and historic information are being manipulated and changed for the benefit of the White American. Films are being used for negative connotations of certain races to strip them from historic accomplishments, promote negative racial stereotypes, and making it nearly impossible for a minority race to assimilate into the American culture causing many obstacles which are nearly impossible to overcome. The race most affected by racial issues in films is the Asian American community, as they say, “The numbers don’t lie” when research was done that showed the asian community had never won an Oscar up until 2016 when Jackie Chan was awarded an “Honorary Oscar” because of his 55 long year career with over 200 movies produced. That is ridiculed that he was never even nominated in those 55 years of amazing movies which made his name and face a very popular actor in this country. But how do you get nominated when the roles aren’t being offered?  In the film industry it is nearly impossible for the Asian American male to land a leading role, not because they don’t speak english or because they’re not good actors but simply because of the white monarchy leaders in the industry that believe films would not be successful if the leading role was giving to an asian male. This has a huge impact on the way todays society and future generations view, treat, and assimilate to the Asian community. It is critical that we make a change in this “Hollywood So White” trend and get Asian  American Males the leading roles that they deserve.
            ​  A recent study by Michelle C. Pautz, an associate professor of political science at the University of Dayton, wanted to prove that certain blockbuster films influenced a persons personal opinion. Dr. Pautz simply created a questionnaire regarding the private midwestern  undergrad students views and understandings of the government based on before and after viewing two films; “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty”. She found that after watching the films, 20% – 25% of the students changed their opinion generally more favorable on trust of the United States government, as did their general optimism about the direction of the country. Dr. Pautz believes young viewers may be especially open to the influence of movies stating,“Younger people, particularly teens, are much more likely to be impacted than older adults because they are still developing and shaping their world views,” an email interview, “Since they are still being socialized politically, they are more likely to absorb all sorts of influences, including influences from film.”But it is difficult to say, she added, “whether that influence lasts years, decades, or a lifetime” yet “the influence of movies along with other factors may be quite substantial.” So what that article is stating is that some of the American people are so gullible on what they view from the films in a way that changes their whole way of observing and dealing with an issue. But it is not necessarily their fault because that’s what the studios intend when deciding to create a film. How they can manipulate or change a persons views in a way that is beneficial to the country or certain trends they wish to start-up. Many films are meant to be beneficial to the Caucasian race with “western ways” or whitewashing a film. Which causes many stereotypes and negative views about certain people based on their race and culture. For example Asian males are portrayed as a nonsexual figure, being stripped of their masculinity which significant judgments are made on their body figures, persona, and fashion .
​           Asian males stereotypes that are shown in films are either as a martial arts fighter with a crazy fit body, a nerd who is always shy, little, and not so popular in school, or being very feminine, small penis, and not being able to properly speak english. This causes a huge impact on Asian males as it begins to affect their physical and mental health. Hurting themselves because they wanna fit into the expectations that we place on them based on movies. These unrealistic body ideals and crazy martial arts fighting is expected by them which is impossible for any human being to master. This idea that the smartest kid in school is the asian kid is always very bad because it creates such a stressful environment to them to over work themselves and be set to high standards by parents. Lastly genetics, always judged on their bodies but you just can’t do anything about it. Some body structures just cant be changed  even with surgery so why is it ok to make fun of certain eye structures, short height, and skinny/husky bodies. This affects them at an alarming rate making it 70% more likely for asian women to start a family with a man of another race. The norm in films is for the male to be tall, white, muscular and have certain body features like colored eyes. This is supposed to be the attractive dreamy guy everyone wants and everything else that doesn’t look like that is unattractive.
               Young children (boys/girls) see these movies where the asian kid plays these stereotypical roles and it is embedded in them that this is the norm. Causing many asian kids to be bullied at a higher rate than any other race. Which can lead to them being medically depressed, cause them to start doing drugs to escape that reality, or start to hurt them self and think they are nothing in this world making them suicidal in some serious cases. Not only these problems are created but also things like the model minority issue. Asian parents begin to see all these films were the asian is super smart and becomes a doctor, and giving them so much glory on-screen that makes them create this way of thinking that they must achieve the Medical school and get  their doctorate degree or it means life means nothing. Imagine having a career picked for you by your parents that you feel o love or passion towards, all those amazing asian actors, and directors we could have had but never got the change to try this career path. Many asian kids grow up thinking they have no role in society other than whats portrayed in films which is crazy not being able to dream about being something other than that.
             Even the roles that were once being offered to them as the typical stereotype movies are being taken away from them and has of recent became a thing and a term’s created which is “Yellow face”In Hollywood, many times, Asian characters have been portrayed predominantly by white actors, often changing their looks with makeup in order to approximate East Asian facial characteristics, a practice known as yellow face.  Many films have been made with yellow face for example; “Balls of Fury” Christopher Walden plays Feng a parody of the yellow peril and Fu Manchu stereotype, “21” film is based on the true story where a group of Asian-Americans students and their teacher applied card counting to win significantly in gambling but the movie was shot with all white actors, and “Doctor Strange” where Tilda Swinton plays as The Ancient One who is the chosen one to posses all these ancient powers passed on to him. These movies were all blockbuster films earning crazy amount of money in box office and none were played by leading asian actors in which in all films the main character is Asian! This is a big problem that has been happening since the beginning days, but to still continue and be happening in the 21st century is ridiculous. It makes it extremely difficult for them to earn any living in this industry causing many good asian actors to go homeless or change careers because they got fed up with not being offered gigs. Most of the roles offered today often have to do with them playing a very feminine homo character, which sucks thinking of how big the industry is. Films could literally change a whole generations way of thinking.
​               I did a personal study and asked 50 random CSUN students to name at least 5 asian actors. Out of those 50 students only 8 were able to name 2 asian actors which were Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan the rest were not able to name any. I found that extremely crazy when I also asked those same students to name 5 American actors and 40 out of the 50 students were able to name 5 American actors. That itself tells you how unprecedented they are in the film industry. There are few leading roles that are offered to Asians but in those roles there asian culture is always being made fun off or criticized . What I mean by asian culture is for example like rush hour, Jackie Chan is made fun off for not being able to speak fluent english, for being a big martial arts figure, and for being scared of sexual intercourse with the female in the story. Another example would be the movie 21 and over; in which the asian figure plays the third leading role as a super smart nerdy kid whose father is super strict about him being a doctor and he’s just not into it but is made fun off for that because he’s going against the trend and wants to be a photographer.We may watch all these films and not really think about what is being shown or how it changes our though process but it really does, even if you say a racial joke it doesn’t make it ok It’s still racist and that’s just goes to show how society ha made that ok because it’s a “joke”
​​               The negative effect it has on society tells the young generation and current one that asian Americans are not capable of doing these amazing things and the ones that are can’t be played by Asian actors because the film will not succeed economically. So movie roles like being a super hero, romantic comedy, or simply playing a bad ass character are never even in the loop.I don’t understand why the asian male can never win the girl at the end of the movie?
                ​Not only does it contain a huge role in the opinions and beliefs that people have over certain events in our history but also economically having it being the fastest, largest growing business in the world. In 2009, studies showed there were over 6.8 billion cinema admissions that created huge global box office revenues of over $30 billion dollars. Also after combined in DVD and Blu-Ray sales with over $32.5 billion dollars amounting to over 1.1 billion units sold! Those numbers are significantly large in our global economy, in which could be going to Asian Americans but instead is being taken away and many actors end up being homeless to the fact that they are not able to get leading roles or any roles at that to even live a normal low wage life.
                In conclusion we need to make a change in making our film more diverse. We the people together can speak up to these big time incorporations and make a change for our future. The right stories need to be portrayed with the right ethnicity that the film is about. Why does a white male need to play every role? Even when the film isn’t about the white culture. We need to speak up and change it because it has evolved as a new form or racial issues ad as presented a race being highly effected by it are the asian American males. They are having a very hard time being assimilated into the American culture because of the ways they are being portrayed on the big screen. Kids are being harassed, made fun off, or having their dreams killed because society says they can’t be anything else other than a nurse or doctor based on all these stereotypes! Why is it that even Asian American women aren’t attracted to asian American males? Because the negative connotation that they receive and the unmasculent roles they play effected at an alarming rate where many Asian American males cant have a family or even experience the love scene because of how they’re portrayed to the world. We need to make a change because roles play a significant huge role in the society e live in and the future generations to come! So why not Asian Males? They can do everything anyone else can, we need to stand up and make a change and make Hollywood diverse!

Citations

A Review of Research on Masculinity Ideologies Using the Male Role Norms Inventory

Ronald F. Levant, Katherine Richmond

The Journal of Men’s Studies

Vol 15, Issue 2, pp. 130 – 146

First published date: July-31-2016

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Klein, Christina. “Hollywood Chinese: The Chinese in American Feature Films.” The Journal of American History, 97.1 (2010): 282-284.
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One thought on ““#HollywoodSoWhite”

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  1. I’m happy you talked about this because I stopped watching the oscars years ago because it’s completely white washed. It makes me so upset when a person of color makes an amazing movie but doesn’t win because of their skin color. But what makes me even more upset is when a person of color is portrayed by a white person. I really want to ask people in hollywood why they are so against hiring a person of color.
    Great blog!
    -A.K.

    Like

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