Our Mission Statement

We are committed to educate and inform others on the social atrocities that stereotype and hurt women.

You need to commit to make the change.

Together, we can make a difference!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Asian American Women: Suzie Wong Sterotype

Asian American women have been portrayed in many sexual stereotypes for years. The many stereotypes include the images of dragon lady, dominatrix, sluts, whores, easy Asian girls, and a hooker with a heart of gold. This last image was made popular from films like The World of Suzie Wong (1960). The main character was portrayed as submissive, passive, and exotic, with a desire to sexually please her man. Because of films like this, today Asian American women are born into a world of hypersexuality that forms and shapes the general consciousness.

Films such as The World of Suzie Wong (1960), Madame Butterfly (1932), and the Broadway play Miss Saigon (1989) formed the “Suzie Wong” stereotype of a submissive and erotic Asian woman.

Suzie’s sexuality can be contained within her Chinese exoticism, wearing a Chinese-cut dress: “cheongsam”.

Suzie Wong stereotyped Asian women as truly “feminine”, content at being passive, subservient, dependent, domestic, and slaves to “love”. (Marchetti, p.116)

In the film the Flower Drum Song, the main character’s role is as a “good” woman, but she cannot resist the call of wild music and dances inappropriately. Her “true identity” is as an untrustworthy entertainer who derives pleasure from revealing and manipulating her body for public display, barely dressed. (Shimizu, p.82)

Today on TV and in films, Asian American females portray characters such as prostitutes and sex slaves. (Shimizu, p.12) It is difficult to find Asian women in roles beyond sexual ones in today’s mass media. UC Berkley Professor of Asian American studies, Elaine Kim has argued that the stereotype of Asian women as submissive sex objects has impeded Asian women’s economic mobility and has forced increased demand in mail-order brides and ethnic pornography. Today the exotic image of a woman in a cheongsam is even more sexualized and made popular by celebrities.

In popular media today some characters combat the Suzie Wong image. In the past Asian female characters would choose to kill themselves when forsaken by a white man, love interest, such as in Madame Butterfly and Miss Saigon. In the film Sideways (2004), Sandra Oh’s character instead beats up her white male love interest when she finds out he is engaged and has treated her love as worthless. (Shimizu, p.268)

Sandra Oh plays many positive, strong, smart, sensitive, multi-layered characters today such as a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy. The Disney film Mulan portrays a young Chinese female as a strong, confident woman who fights for her family and for China.


We think this video definitely portrays an asian's woman infatuation for white men.

Against the Asian stereotype

1 comment:

  1. It is good to bring this up, yet you should perhaps take a good look at The World of Suzie Wong again. Yes, she is a prostitute, thrown out at age 10, and a victim of violence, neglect and the sex trade. Does that mean that she was a submissive little sex kitten? Hell NO! I love her character for her strength, her creativity, her loyalty to her baby, her ability to form a mental/spiritual inner world for herself apart from her "dirty job". Really look at her character, though: she was pushy and tough, the "sexiest girl in bar", she didn't hesitate to at least try and kick that sailor's ass when he hit her, she did the best she could with the little she was given and she SURVIVED. She didn't fall into drugs or get set up with a violent bastard as a long-time client; she kept her baby, in spite of the threats for his bio-pa and had him kept quietly and nicely with amah. And she knows other women, she knows what that British bitch Kay is up to--Suzie is smart, inventive, tough. She's NO Madame Butterfly. I loved her character when I first saw the movie at age 9, and as an adult I've come to see many dimensions in her character each time I watch the movie: Suzie creates that bright inner world and essentially calls to herself the reality that she feels she deserves: to be loved and cherished by a good-hearted man. Hooray for her! Considering that she was a child who was raped and thrown out on the street to survive at age 10, to survive with her imagination and strength intact, in a world where women were always subjugated to men and expected to look to men to make their life better, I think she did very well. So what if she didn't become an intellectual or poet or political activist--she made happen what she willed and imagined so strongly and for that I respect her!