Thursday 18th January 2018,

Asian Americans

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Hooded Utilitarian: Hollywood’s Real Problem With The Asian American Male

posted by Randall

Sessue HayakawaIt started out so promising, but as they say in sports, its all in the follow through.

According to the blog by Em Liu in the Hooded Utilitarian, there’s been little follow though in Hollywood.

Sessue Hayakawa is the first Asian American leading man and the first Japanese American movie star. Liu quotes from a biography by Daisuke Miyao who called Hayakawa the first male sex symbol of the movie industry.

Since that time, there have been few other Asian American male sex symbols. There’s a great read in Wikipedia about Hayakawa’s career that’s worth a few minutes of your time.

Why have their been so few Asian American sex symbols since Hayakawa? Even in animation, there have been relatively few. Liu points out that Mulan remains the only Disney princess not to have an on screen kiss.

Liu writes:

“The problem with the representation of the Asian male in Hollywood is not that he fails to “get the girl”, but rather that he fails as a viable object of desire by another believably whole character. This is what was so revolutionary about John Cho’s role in the recently cancelled ABC sitcom Selfie (as usual, television proceeds when Hollywood hesitates). Cho never kisses his partner onscreen. But he succeeds in presenting an attractive, funny, thoughtful, and appealing male persona, desirable not only to the primary female lead, but to all viewers of the show as well.”
What do you think the problem is. Read Liu’s blog and let us know what you think.


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