Typical Asian Stereotypes

In Fall 2016 term, I decided to take Popular Culture to learn more about society and how media and what not influences people. Over the course I researched some information regarding my identity and how it portrays in Popular Culture. I chose to do my research on Asian cultures and stereotypes within the culture.

While conducting my research I came across a few stereotypes towards Asians. Some of the stereotypes were a common stereotype and there were some that I never even heard. I chose to write about some of the stereotypes because, I got curious on how some of the stereotypes even got created? Some of the stereotypes that I will be looking into is, the “China doll stereotype”, how Asian actors know are portrayed in Hollywood movies and lastly why others think Asians must marry in their own race. One of the first stereotypes that caught my attention was the “china doll stereotype”. This caught my attention because many young girls like to dress up as a geisha or what not for Halloween. Some young girls even look up to Mulan. But there is a part in the movie where Mulan is dressed as a geisha. Here is a clip of the scene.


Typically in the Asian culture, a woman that is dressed as a geisha means, a woman is submissive, dominant, promiscuous, and is usually a sex icon. But there are also people who think geishas are just a fashion icon.

When I first thought of geishas or china dolls growing up I never thought much of it being a sex icon. But when I was finding some of the common stereotypes within Asian cultures, I learned that basically a woman that is dressed as a geisha, is a prostitute.

Another stereotype that caught my attention was Asian actors. When doing my research I noticed that there were not that many Asian actors in Hollywood, compared to all the other races. But one thing that stood out to me was if an Asian actor played in a movie, they all typically had the same role. They were either the villain, the nerd, or the person who knew karate.

For instance Jackie Chan always is a character who knows how to fight in almost all the movies he acts in.


Another stereotype that I learned within Asian actors in Hollywood films, is that the directors and producers portray the actors as a nerd, or the villain. Which I found kind of weird. Because most movies that I have seen portray that Asian actors as a good guy or a superhero of some sort and they usually have the actors play dumb. For example like London Tipton from the show “Suite Life of Zack and Cody”. Here is a clip of London Tipton learning how to drive- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW1QkW2jBu8

A stereotype that was brought up to me was, Asians marrying other Asians. I found this stereotype to be kind of true but then again biased. As I notice in my own personal family, all my family are married or in a serious relationship with someone of the same race. I also noticed this for all Asian races. I do not think that this stereotype is a bad one, but it kind of makes you open your eyes and think about all the stereotypes.

Overall within the research that I was conducting on Asian stereotypes, I learned quite a bit and how each stereotype occurred. I also found out some more stereotypes that I have not heard. I came to a conclusion that not all stereotypes are true, but can contradict itself.

In this class so far I thought that analyzing a commercial ad was interesting. I never thought that each commercial had a real meaning behind it. Also thought it was interesting how companies would try to persuade consumers to purchase their products, with relating to their audience.

Another thing that I learned was the difference between a primary and secondary source. At first I was super confused on what the difference was, but now I can pretty much tell the difference and choose the correct sources for each.

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About nskelly24

I am in my second year of college at Portland State University. I am majoring in Biology to pursue my dream of being an E.R. Physician. (By the way the baby in my profile picture, is not my child. He is my nephew.)

2 thoughts on “Typical Asian Stereotypes

  1. Hello nskelly24!
    I enjoyed reading your post. I always thought the same way, especially on how Asian actor played villain, the nerd, or someone who knew karate in a movie. I was a bit bothered by this because the Asian actors would often say that they worked really hard to get the role, but they don’t receive the recognition they should receive because people just take it as, “oh Asian playing an asian role”. It’s good that they get even the minor roles, but I feel like they should be given a chance to play the major roles as well. Your second point was very interesting as well, how Asians end up marrying Asians. I noticed this pattern around me too, and it would be interesting to see a serious psychological study done about this in the future! Nice work!

  2. Hey Naomi,

    This was a great post! I had no idea that a geisha symbolized that the wearer was a prostitute that completely blew my mind! You make a great point; diversity amount Asian film roles are very limited. When I think of iconic Asian actors, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and Jet Lee are always the first ones to come to mind. Although all of them have had very prosperous careers they were in a sense “segregated” in the industry. However, I also don’t know their point of view and whether or not they wanted to play different roles. Thanks for sharing your post with the class!

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