Asian-Americans in the Media

Growing up, I would watch movies and tv shows with mainly all white actors and a couple of people of color, or none at all. I’ve noticed the lack of Asian representation in popular culture. Both my parents are from Vietnam, while I was born in the United States. Growing up being Asian in America comes with some sort of stereotype. I haven’t faced any type of stereotype personally, but I’ve seen some stereotypes in school and/or in public. I’ve also seen Asian stereotypes portrayed in popular culture. In television and movies, Asian parents are portrayed as “foreign”, meaning that they speak in a thick Asian accent, and being extremely strict. It’s not common to see an Asian as a lead character, and they’re normally seen as a supporting character. Some common Asian stereotypes are that they are super smart, they can’t see clearly, and are nerdy looking. They’re being negatively portrayed in the media which gives society the wrong impression of Asian-Americans. For this project, I’ve decided to explore the identity of Asian-Americans in hopes of learning more about how they are being represented in popular culture.

Fresh Off the Boat is a comedy television show that is loosely based on Eddie Huang’s biography of the same name. The show focuses on a Taiwanese-American family of 5, who moved from Chinatown of Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Florida. The character, Jessica Huang, played by Constance Wu, speaks in an Asian accent, while Randall Park’s character, Louis Huang doesn’t have one. In real life, Constance Wu doesn’t have a thick accent, and on the show, you can tell that it sounds fake and not authentic. Another stereotype that is portrayed on the show is that Asians are overachievers and really smart. One character is seen as an overachiever and expects everything to be perfect, while another character is very intelligent in school and mature for his young age. 

With the success of her show, Constance Wu wanted to look at other projects that would make a social and cultural impact. Crazy Rich Asians is an American romantic comedy film that follows a story of a Chinese-American woman who travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family, only to find out that they’re the richest family of Singapore. This film became the first major Hollywood film with an all Asian cast in 25 years. Not only do they have an all Asian cast, but they also have a female lead played by Constance Wu, who plays Rachel Chu. Asian-American women are hardly ever in the center of the entertainment industry and they’re normally in the background or being objectified. Rachel was raised by a single mother who immigrated to the U.S. Her mother worked hard and sacrificed everything to create a better future for her daughter. I relate to this because my parents were Vietnamese immigrants who moved to the U.S. to create a better life for me. Their sacrifices and struggles are something women today are still facing. Rachel is depicted as a strong independent woman in the film, because she struggled with her boyfriend’s family’s objections to their relationship, and ultimately she had to pick her boyfriend’s happiness over hers.

In the media, Asians are stereotyped to be shy, bully victims, and being good at math or piano. With the release of the film, it featured the all Asian cast playing many diverse character types that will help change the view of Asians in the media. The film also focused on the culture of Singapore with the food and language that was spoken in the film. Some people have criticized the film for failing to represent the true diversity of Singapore, but I think that it still represented the Asian community because they can all relate to some scenes of the film. The writer’s of the film wanted to focus on the emotional journey when traveling to your homeland for the first time because your cultural identity splits.

There are other films and television shows that portray Asian identity, but I chose to analyze Crazy Rich Asians and Fresh Off the Boat because I can relate to them. Asian-American actors are fighting to be visible and not ignored in Hollywood. Constance Wu and other Asian-American actors are advocates for their own visibility and called Hollywood out for taking Asian roles and replacing them with Caucasian actors which can be known as “whitewashing”. For many years Hollywood has been casting white actors to play Asian characters because they believed that white actors attract more audiences and would raise the box office. Asian stereotypes in the media are portrayed falsely which can be disheartening to viewers watching those shows and movies and how it can affect the Asian culture. It can be hurtful and annoying because everyone is expecting the Asian community to act and look a certain way based on how we’re portrayed in popular culture.

How BTS has transformed the music industry.

When talking about Asian artists in the music industry in America, there aren’t many that you could recognize off the top of your head.

Asians in the music industry are considered a minority group because before BTS, there weren’t many that I personally could think of. BTS debuted in South Korea in 2013 and like any other groups, they weren’t that popular but compared to other kpop groups they had it the hardest because their company, Big Hit, was grew with BTS so there weren’t many supporters or a good background to start with.

Image result for bts first bbmas

And by 2017 they were the biggest k-pop group by being the first korean group to be nominated for the BBMAs and beat Justin Bieber who has won the BBMAs for 7 consecutive year. And since then, they have won 4 BBMAs consecutively. This is a huge deal! No other Asian artist have achieved this and they technically have paved way for other Asian artists as well. And BBMAs aren’t their only achievements, BTS also made history by being the first k-pop group to perform at the AMAs which really solidified their group status of not just in genre of k-pop but entertainment as well! BTS was also the first k-pop group to be invited to the Ellen Degeneres Show, The Late Late Show with James Cordon, and on Jimmy Fallon. Their recent achievement was performing at the Oscars.

From Youtube to Billboard charts, they have broken records with every new album they have come out with. Other than Youtube and Billboard charts, they have taken over every other media platforms.

Image result for bts pictures

A lot of people wonder why they are a huge deal but I say they deserve all the hype that they have right now. BTS has changed the music industry by becoming one of the biggest musical acts in the world without making an English language song. In one of the many interviews they had, they were asked if they would ever make a song in English and not Korean, they said they have chosen to remain true with their k-pop root instead of looking to cross over with an English hit. RM, the group leader replied, “We don’t want to change our identity or our genuineness to get the number one”. One amazing thing about BTS is that they are still able to have an emotional connection with fans through their music even if it isn’t in English. I think that’s something that is unique and rare. And if you haven’t checked out BTS yet, do it and I promise you won’t regret it! Ps. They have one of the biggest fan base in any artists currently.

Effects of Media on Teens

Media is a huge part of society today and will continue to increase. There is no doubt that media has given us more opportunities and success, but at the same time it comes with its side effects. Technology and media can be very addicting especially due to the constant easy access to todays teens who have a tv, smartphone, tablet, and game console. Today teens are staying indoors and playing video games or scrolling through social media rather than going outside to be active and social. With the constant use of technology and media more and more teens are starting to mature too early, become depressed, and lack social skills.

I want to spread the knowledge of effects of media on teens and give my personal insight from what I have seen and experienced growing up since I am now a young adult. I have seen and compared how children are raised compared to my generation and I have seen how different generations of teens have acted. I have noticed that with all this new technology parents are resulting to it in order to discipline their kids or get them to calm down when they are out in public. This is causing the kids to be dependent on technology and without it they don’t know how to act or have proper manners. Another thing I have seen is that with teens they are starting to disrespect their elders more and more and even trash properties that they get to use such as bathrooms and schools.

Teens are getting addicted to social media and technology which is coming with some side effects such as depression and sleep deprivation. Kids are staying up late and not getting enough sleep during their prime years of growing and are causing problems for their future selves. Another problem with being addicted to media is that they are constantly on social media getting pumped full of information that may or may not be true. With this there are people out there in the world that are posting fake news on purpose in order to get a laugh out of people or just for their own fun and it is hard to spot the fake news. In the pamphlet I have included the link to a website that teaches you the basics of the SIFT technique which helps you determine if the information is true or not. Along with this you can see catfishing or even cyber bullying due to people hiding behind the screen and doing whatever they feel like.

Overall teens are getting more and more addicted to technology and media and the world is becoming more and more dependent on it which is going to have some health side effects in the future. The main effects are depression and sleep deprivation which is not good for health. Technology is both good and bad, but the world needs to be aware of these problems and assess what could happen in the future if this keeps up.

I have put together a pamphlet that explains the main issues with media and its effects on teens and all includes some statistical data that will make you think differently about your teen using media and technology. Feel free to read or even access and print to display for others to learn more about it. Also follow the links to find out more facts that may help you.

Pamphlet: file:///C:/Users/Ryon/Documents/Sinq/Final%20Project.pdf

Social Media Impact in 2020

Social Media Impact 

Social media is everywhere in 2020. If you ask a random person on the street if they have a smartphone in their pocket with either Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, the odds are, they say yes. People often argue if it is wrong or right. Below is a small list of pros and cons to understand both sides. 

Benefits of Social Media: 

  • World wide connections
  • Keep in contact with distant relatives
  • Get inspired
  • Receive information fast 
  • Brings brand awareness to small companies

Downfalls of Social Media:

  • Bullying
  • A false representation of reality
  • Fake news
  • Waste time 
  • Less human interaction

Examples of Each

Connection: I can build a friendship with someone who lives in England and eventually travel there one day to meet them.

Keep in contact: It is hard when family lives in a different state. My half brother’s step sister created a Facebook group with our family to be able to keep up with her fast-growing little boys. 

Get inspired: this is what I use social media for most. Seeing other people strive for excellence keeps me motivated to be a better person. 

Receive information fast: Currently, information about the coronavirus every day has been able to make people aware of updates and steps they should take in order to stay safe. 

Brand Awareness: Most businesses are brought up by seeing ads on TV or through influencers’ social media. When celebrities post about a product, many people want to buy it because they trust the source and want to be more like them. This brings sales to companies. 

Bullying: It is easy to hate on people over the media. By the touch of a button, you can send a very cruel message. Those words hurt people in a big way. 

False representation: Not everyone is as happy as they look in their pictures. It can often make us feel like we are the only ones feeling sad and down. 

Fake news: Fake news is everywhere. Media makes stuff up just to get a reaction. Don’t believe everything you see. 

Waste of time: often, I find myself scrolling through Instagram and not be able to stop. I will stay up till 2am rather than getting the sleep I need. 

Less human interaction: Media forces us to talk through a screen rather than in person. This can cause miscommunication. 

Growing up, I was always taught to be myself. When I was younger social media wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now. Now looking back, I can notice a considerable attitude change when I got my first type of social media app, which was Instagram. I remember being twelve years old, scrolling through the feed wishing I was as pretty as the models and celebrities I could see through my phone. As the years went on, I got more and more down on myself for not being the picture-perfect person I thought I had to be. Here’s the thing I didn’t know: not everything on the internet is true. Most posts by celebrities are heavily edited. Below I will compare my Instagram to Kylie Jenner. 

What is the difference?

Kylie Jenner is one of the most known young women in the world. Her social media platform is heavily influenced by what people want to see. In order to keep or increase her 164 million followers, she must post things that grab attention. I tend to post things that matter to me the most, including my fitness studio, friends, and skiing. In all Kylie’s posts, she seems to be posing and not have a smile on her face. I post pictures that I am genuinely happy in. We can also notice that all her photos are very edited. 

Why does this matter? 

After assessing both Instagrams, it is evident that we are two completely different people. It is easy to slip into the thought that we have to look perfect in every photo because our icons do. The false reality of social media can cause depression and self-doubt. Kylie could be going through a tough time, but we would never know because her social media looks so perfect. It is essential to teach our younger generations that it is okay not to be perfect. Let them know the only important thing is to strive to be the best version of yourself. Do what makes you truly happy and share those real raw moments with others.