Portrayals of Asian male in Hollywood films

Growing up watch Hollywood films was one of mine happiest memory, seeing people with superpowers, cars racing, action fighting, Disney cartoon, and horror films. When I was a kid, I never thought of racial of diversity. Until now I start to recognize there aren’t many movies that have Asian leading role. Asian are being stereotyped in movies and TV shows.   My family moved to the U.S from China in 2006, school experiences was quite different and interesting. What I meant for “interesting” is nothing in a positive way that you think, it was fill with stereotyping jokes that makes you feel uncomfortable. Going to school in the United States, kids often make fun of my appearance by saying things like “Chinky eyes”, or ask me “how do you blindfold a Chinese person? Put floss over their eyes.”

Here some questions that I have:

  1. How are Asian males portrayed in TV shows, ads, and movies?
  2. What are the stereotypes that the media has on Asian males?
  3. Why aren’t many leading roles for Asian?
  4. How come in Hollywood films, they often desexualized Asian?


For my research, I was able to find some very helpful resources; a Documentary films ‘The Slanted Screen: Asian Men in Film and Television’, an article called ‘Why Hollywood Won’t cast Asian Actors’, a section of ‘I Am Bruce Lee’ that talks about his thought of Hollywood stereotyping and discriminatory practices, and others that supports my topic.


Asian American are the fastest growing racial group in America, but in Hollywood films there is still discrimination against Asian by desexualized them in the movies or stereotyping about their appearance and the way we speak . In the documentary films ‘The Slanted Screen: Asian Men in Film and Television’, actors, film producers, and writers were expressing how they felt about what Hollywood did and how they tried to fight against it. During the silent era of Hollywood in the 1910s and 1920s, Sessue Hayakaw was of the biggest starts. He played the leading romantic roles, or villains. “Many people know Rudolph Valentino, He was a sex symbol of earlier Hollywood. But don’t forget, Sessue Hayakawa was prior to him, and according to some researcher Sessue Hayakawa was the first sex symbol of Hollywood.” — Mako Iwamatsu. According to Mako Iwamatsu, Asian did have successful romantic roles in the history. How come later on Hollywood decide to take it away from Asian actress? In the films, it addressed that “Hayakwa would not only be the first but one of the last Asian leading men to star in a Hollywood production,

Mako Iwamatsu recall one of his memory meeting with the executives of Warner Brothers and the Vice president about why did they use David Carradine, A Caucasian actor playing the Chinese Character in “Kung Fu.” And he told us that the Vice president said “If we put a yellow man on the tube the audience would turn the switch off in less than five minutes”.

At the time, caricatures of the inscrutable oriental dominated the big screen. Hollywood would usually cast non-Asian actors to play these nefarious roles. Even up till now, Hollywood still doing that to the movies that supposedly have Asian actor playing the leading role. Casting Caucasians actor to play the role of the Asian character. In the movie of “Ghost in the Shell”, a movie that base on the Japanese manga comics. They decided to use Scarlett Johansoon to play the main Asian character.

Back to the documentary films “The Slanted Screen: Asian Men in Film and Television”, James Scott lee talks about the movies that he casted as the famous marital art master Bruce Lee, ‘Dragon: The Brucee Lee story’. In one part of the movies, Bruce Lee( James) and his wife (Lauren Holly) are sitting in the theater and they are watching the ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.’ He describe the character with big buck teeth and big glasses, portraying what’s supposed to be a Japanese old man. He said “He’s playing somewhat of a caricatrue on that person.” Asian actors was desexualized, giving a stereotyping role. What’s the reason for doing this? Is so, the Whites can consolidate their position in the America? Mako Iwamatsu decribe Bruce Lee the “New phenomenon”. Bruce Lee changed the way that other American people think of Asian. It make them proud to be Asian. Because of Bruce Lee, martial art fight movies became a popular genre at the 90’s time. But that didn’t stop the discrimination in the film industry, Bruce Lee was unfortunally just end up being a another stereotype. Bobby Lee was saying “Bruce lee definitely made it harder for Asian men, in terms of the bar of what people saw you as.” He told us there was once people came up to him and asked him do you Kung fu.

From the documentary films ‘I am Bruce Lee’, it talks about how Bruce had a disdain for Caucasians playing the part of Asian characters. He also said how the old movies are always being stereotyping, making fun of the Asian peoples’ eyes, and making the sound “CHOP CHOP”. Bruce Lee’s widow Linda Emery talked lot of how Bruce was struggling in Hollywood, because racial factors. Racism was mention many times later in this documentary. Bruce Lee tried to fight against this, and wanted to make change of all Asian. In his whole life in America, he wanted to prove himself, to others that Asian is good as the White people. One of his famous quote “You know what I want to think of myself? As a human being. Because, I mean I don’t want to sound like ask Confucius, sayyyyyy–(joking) but under the sky, under the heaven, man, there is but one family. It just so happens that people are different.”I think he meant that all human being are created equally, but just different color. It was such a tragic of Bruce Lee’s death, if not I would for sure that he would change the racism problem in Hollywood. Maybe because of him there will be more Asian actors in the films industry.

In a conclusion, racism in Hollywood it is still happening. As a new generation, we can fix this and make it better. I think Hollywood should consider giving Asian Americans more leading roles, more chance to shine on the screen and take away those stereotypes.






Works Cited


Chow, Keith. “Why Won’t Hollywood Cast Asian Actors?” The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Apr. 2016. Web. 21 May 2017.


I Am Bruce Lee Documentary. Dir. Pete McCormack. N.p., 07 July 2014. Web. 17 May 2017.


The Slanted Screen: Asian Men in Film and Television. Prod. Jeff Adachi. Infobase. N.p., 02 Dec. 2010. Web. 17 May 2017.






Double Standard-Sexualization in the Music Industry


The music industry is considered a vicious business and known to chew female artists up and spit them out throughout their careers. This industry is very successful in many ways and one way is by advertising the female artists in the magazines, newspapers, television sets, social media, and on the billboard. They are not the only industry doing this. We see other industries like cosmetic and fashion are known to sexualize their actress in hopes of increasing their product sell. One example of the females being hyper-sexualized in music videos is looking at several 1980’s videos where female dancers wore tight, fluoro-coloured spandex gym clothes while exercising something you see at the gym but in a more sexualized way.


Recently, several artists from different genre have been standing up against female being sexualized in the music industry and mocking male artists who continue to sexualize. Female are sexualized in many ways over the years and it’s not a new thing, but the artists that are fighting is new. Although their methods have received criticisms. Which I bring to you a question do we as a society accept certain people to stand up for how female are sexualized against others? And why?


Hyper-sexualized music videos are known to receive thousands of likes on social media, which further on promotes and encourages the companies’ objectification of female. Although the argument is blaming the industry, that isn’t quite true, we as a society are also blamed as well. The problems aren’t the artists, directors or even the companies, but instead the popular culture in continuing to like and award artists who objectify females and how they are going on about it. They encourage female artists to dance in a certain way in order to survive in the industry, whether it’s twerking, or dance in a seductive way to get themselves to the top. Another problem is the society’s double standard issue where the society criticizes female artists from body shaming, dancing, clothing, singing and much more. It’s common that everyone is different in their own way and artists are no different in that when they state their argument or message through their music.

Example One: Country Music

Maddie & Tea are two female country artists and known for their 2014 hit New single, “Girl in a Country Song”, which talks about how females are portrayed in various of country music. These artists grew up watching and liking some of the stereotyped country music videos but often disliked the content, so they flipped the script on their music video. This hit single turns the tables on many country artists who sexualized females in their music videos. They used male actors and also showed the viewers how overall male actor’s used female in their music videos. Maddie and Tea also wanted to show how males also used the stereotype of country girls wearing to what looks to be cowboy boots, shorts, and cowboy hats.

Issue: This song got some criticism over what reviews label the song as an Anti “Country bro”, which is known as a subgenre of mainstream country music originating in the second decade of the 21st century. The girls were highly criticized because they mocked artists for sexualizing female, being an anti-Country Bro and using some similar of beats from Country Bro songs in their hit.

Example Two: Pop Music

            Jennifer Lopez is among many successful artists in the music industry for over a decade. In her recent new single, “I uh Ya Papi” produced in 2014 generally received positive views because of the catchy rhythm and the fun beats that Jennifer is known to have in her songs. Her songs are greatly known to have a mixture of Hip Hop, Pop, and Hispanic tones and much more making her own style and common to dance in the clubs as reviewers have put it. “I Luh Ya Papi” Featured guest vocals French Montana and was directed by Jessy Terrero. The video was filmed in Miami, Florida where it had random males shirtless or better yet half naked men’s laying down on the yacht tanning while their skin glowed to perfection obviously Lopez was sending a message how we normally see females doing that in many music videos and overall making it rather difficult for producers to even film it. She flipped the script.

Example Three: Hip Hop

            Here we have Nicki Minaj in her many famous music videos, “Anaconda”. Nicki is greatly known for her rapping talent and is considered the most successful female rapper. In her song, Anaconda she slashes the recent objectified songs made by Sir Mix Alot called “Baby Got Back” where it celebrated female for their bodies, but mostly those who have larger behind yet. Baby got back was introduced while the popular cultures were also introduced to “twerking” a dance where evolves intense movement of the behind. Many females celebrate participated in these activities where they shook their behind. This dance was so popular that Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj performed it at the VMA’S awhile back. In the song of Anaconda Minaj states “My Anaconda don’t want any unless you got buns, Hun”. In this video, Minaj’s response to comments that are stated in her lyrics to the song of “Baby Got Back” and to other countless songs that objectifies women. Throughout this song, Minaj celebrates females of all sizes and race and cuts off at Banana stating that no matter what they do or how they want to do female own their body at their end of the day. She states Feminism and female empowerment in controlling their bodies in ways they choose and not other people.

Issue: Nicki Minaj’s was highly criticized in her “Anaconda,” music video even though she exemplified sexist and racist double standards in our society that have become normalized in pop culture. Viewers have comment harsh words for Minaj referring as a “plastic” and “fake.” According to the parody, any woman who uses surgery for cosmetic purposes is considered trash and pathetic, despite it being a personal choice not fit for public judgment.


Example three: R&B

            In the video, Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I. are engaging in their stereotypical male roles, as the aggressors and dominant individuals. According to Wood, men are commonly perceived as dominant, sexually aggressive, powerful, and likely to engage in these activities. The song and video were fighting the double standard of females in music videos. Blur lines take the video to a new level where it highly sexualized the females in the music videos from pulling one female hair and telling her he knows she wants it to referring them as animals. Women are socialized in music videos in many ways in media in general and for that, it was actually good to know that some male artists are aware of this situation and are disagreeing with it.

Issue: Robin Thick was heavy criticized for this song because of the mass objectification of female in the music video and his actions pulling one of the girl’s hair and telling her that he knows what she wants, therefore, it questions whether female voices and their decisions.

In conclusion we are aware that female are bodied shamed, sexualized and often judged for who they are, we are aware of this any much more because there are many scholars who have researched about gender bias and stereotypes within our culture. One scholar tells us that we as a society have created a norm on what is considered normal to the viewers like a male sexualizing female and what’s abnormal when female flip the script. This norm has made it rather difficult for female artists to fight being sexualized when viewers are judging them on how they do it or how they look instead of the content. Every artist that is fighting this stereotypes is doing it for themselves in a different way, but the overall message is their actions should only be judged for who they are and not all the women as a whole. An example of this idea is seen from the text when Christina Aguilera, a pop genre artist says “she is fighting for her rights to be sexual without being called a slut.” (Lo 2004)



Rudman, Laurie A., Janell C. Fetterolf, and Diana T. Sanchez. “What motivates the sexual double standard? More support for male versus female control theory.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 39.2 (2013): 250-263.

Vandenbosch, Laura, Dorien Vervloessem, and Steven Eggermont. ““I might get your heart racing in my skin-tight jeans”: Sexualization on music entertainment television.” Communication Studies 64.2 (2013): 178-194.

Vandenbosch, Laura, Dorien Vervloessem, and Steven Eggermont. ““I might get your heart racing in my skin-tight jeans”: Sexualization on music entertainment television.” Communication Studies 64.2 (2013): 178-194.

Levande, Meredith. “Women, Pop Music, and Pornography.” Meridians, vol. 8, no. 1, 2008, pp. 293–321., www.jstor.org/stable/40338921.

In Hip-Hop, double Standard for women Persist by Emily Holdgruen, produced by the Educators Reference Complete. URL:http://go.galegroup.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/ps/i.do?p=PROF&sw=w&u=s1185784&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA383922738&asid=0764e43226172963f4e63af2873bf004.%20Accessed%2014%20May%202017.&authCount=1


Robin Thick; Blurred lines featuring Pharrell and T.I from Pharrel label Star Trak Recording produced by Pharrell and directed by Diane Martel Published on 20 Mar 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyDUC1LUXSU

Jennifer Lopez, “Luh Ya Papi”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4oiEhf9M04

Maddie and Tea, “Girl in a Country Song”,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MOavH-Eivw

Nicki Minaji, “Anaconda”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDZX4ooRsWs

Asian-American Females in American Pop Culture

As a Korean female growing up in America, I’ve consumed a lot of American media/pop culture. One thing I couldn’t help but notice was the underrepresentation of Asian-American roles, especially females. Something that was troublesome for me growing up was being labeled with pre-conceived notions from people who did not know anything about Asians. The only knowledge that they had were from seeing roles played by famous actors portraying Asian stereotypes which only supported and further solidified their pre-conceived notions. Being that one of my biggest identifiers is ‘Asian-American female’, I decided to research and analyze different forms of media in order to find out whether or not more recent forms of media have changed in their representation of Asian females or if they still only portrayed stereotypes. I found a mixture of both stereotypical and more realistic/accurate representations, however, in comparison to the underrepresentation seen as a young child, I think that there’s slowly been a shift towards more accurate representations which definitely takes down many boundaries and lessens stereotyping.

13 Reasons Why- Courtney Crimson

13 Reasons Why, in short, is a Netflix series based on the book written by Jay Asher. It follows a high school boy by the name Clay Jensen who’s on a mission to uncover the horrifying truth behind his classmate/crush, Hannah Baker’s, suicide. The series is broken down into 7 tapes for a total of 13 reasons on her decision to end her life. Each side of the tape describes one individual and their wrongdoings to Hannah; Courtney is Hannah’s reason #5.

The character, Courtney Crimson, is played by an Asian female, Michele Selene Ang, as the ex-best friend of Hannah Baker. On the outside, she is a “nice girl”, intelligent, caring, friendly and generally liked by her peers. On the inside, she’s manipulative, selfish, uncaring, cowardly, and unconcerned about others. The only thing she cares about is her reputation. She uses Hannah only when she wants something such as a ride to a party or when she wants an adventure. Courtney is adopted by two gay fathers and she suppresses the fact that she’s attracted to females.

Courtney is Hannah’s fifth reason for committing suicide. At the winter formal, she rats out Hannah to another classmate and denies the fact that Hannah and Courtney kissed. This was due to the fact that she cares so much about her reputation and doesn’t want people to point fingers to her fathers for the reason that she is also gay. This makes Hannah hate Courtney as false rumors start to circulate throughout the school.

One thing that I noticed specifically with this film was that all of Courtney’s characteristics did not follow ‘traditional’ Asian stereotypes. For example, she was adopted by 2 American gay dads, is a lesbian, lies, and only cares about herself. It was interesting to see that these were not qualities normally portrayed in American media in relations to Asian culture. These are rather more widely seen in America where there is less shame connected to sexuality. In addition, the role of Courtney could have easily been replaced by a different actress and it would have played out the same way. There was no connection to her being Asian that would have changed the story or timeline of this show. I really liked that about this show in particular as it did not have any stereotypes that I could point out which was really different from other movies/shows that often correlate Asian roles to fulfill certain stereotypes.

Grey’s Anatomy- Cristina Yang

Grey’s Anatomy is an American medical drama television series on ABC that has a total of 13 seasons and has recently been renewed for season 14. The series consists of fictional lives of medical tragedies and the lives of physicians, surgeons, and interns.

Cristina Yang is a character played by Sandra Oh first as a graduate from Smith College and a fellow surgical intern to Meredith Grey, Izzie Stevens, George O’Malley, and Alex Karev. She becomes best friends with Meredith Grey, and later becomes a cardiothoracic surgeon at Seattle Grace. She is married to Owen Hunt, the head of trauma surgery. In addition, she is a “double doctor” as she holds an MD from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley.

Cristina had on and off sexual encounters with the chief of cardiothoracic surgery, Preston Burke, during her internship years which led to an accidental pregnancy. She was set to marry Burke who abruptly called off the wedding and moved hospitals. She later meets Owen Hunt, an army trauma surgeon, who fixes her up after being stabbed by a falling icicle and the two hit it off well.

After some research, I came to find that the role that Sandra Oh played was not supposed to be of Asian descent, which I found interesting. This led me to think why? Who was supposed to play the role? What type of character did the writer have in mind? Something else that I found out was that she held an MD/Ph.D. which makes her a double doctor and in a sense you can say that this is a stereotype in that “Asians become doctors” but in this show, where all the characters are doctors, I don’t think that it can be portrayed as a stereotype. But rather it was refreshing to see the differences in characteristics and diversity of the various doctors and characters that played these roles. I think that it definitely allowed the show to have a wider range of audiences and fans of the show.

I love that the show went into depth where you could really go to see the type of person Cristina was and really get to feel her personality play out even though she wasn’t the ‘main’ character. She was a frequently seen supporting role to her best friend Meredith Grey. Her personality consists of sass, sarcasm, confidence, hard work, straightforwardness, and she was extremely good at her job. However, you also got to see the more vulnerable side to her as well through her love life. She had a strong vibe to her but when she was with Owen, you could tell that all she wanted was love and to be loved. Through her complicated relationships, it made her a more interesting character; something that is not seen quite often in Asian-American roles. Again, a trend with Cristina Yang’s character was that there weren’t stereotypes that were portrayed with her character and the part would have held the same storyline with a white actress.

Counterargument: Harry Potter- Cho Chang

To shed some light on how Asian females can be portrayed in a stereotypical way, I chose to use Cho Chang as a prime example.

In Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, the 5th installment of the movie series, an Asian female character by the name Cho Chang is seen. The character is an Asian female played by Katie Leung who fulfills the role of Harry’s first crush. After this introduction, Cho is only seen in scenes where Harry is associated with her; for example, when Harry asks her out to the dance, or when exchanging awkward hellos across the halls.

In the fifth installment, Cho returns and joins Dumbledore’s Army club against her parent’s wishes’ to train in actual magic and spells against Umbridge who would rather they didn’t learn magic at all. Within this year, Cho and Harry established a relationship that didn’t go so well. In one of the scenes, Cho’s previous boyfriend, Cedric, recently passed and she wanted to open up and grieve about him to Harry. However, Harry briefly gives acknowledgment, then kisses Cho.

It was interesting to see that Cho Chang was used as a token character, merely a placeholder in the movie with little character development. Mainly she is used to help the main character develop. As seen earlier, her main role is first being seen as Cedric Diggory’s love interest and then after his death, seen as Harry Potter’s love interest with a brief relationship. For example, after the death of her boyfriend, Cedric, she goes to Harry to talk and grieve about her loss. However, Harry did not console her very long before going straight in for a kiss. Regardless of any other characteristics or skills that she has, she is looked as a girl with a pretty face that is Harry’s love interest.

On the contrary, I thought it was strange that the movie did not really go in depth or elaborate on Cho Chang’s other abilities. She is very intelligent, part of Ravenclaw, and she has great skills as she is part of the Quidditch team as the seeker. An important part of the movie’s storyline that is merely skimmed over is that fact that she helps Harry find the Ravenclaw’s diadem which is a Horcrux containing Voldemort’s soul. Even though it was a big part of how the movie would progress, her part was not emphasized or given much credit.

Same name, different image…Grace Lee as Asian America: A Film Review of The Grace Lee Project (2005)

The film director, Grace Lee, addresses the question of “What’s in a name?” She noticed that she had a very common name among Asian-Americans which led to a sort of identity and stereotype formed around that name of “good Asian girl, quiet, well-behaved.” However, in the review it states that “Overwhelmingly, Grace Lee was a good girl, obedient, and quiet, often a devout Christian who played a musical instrument like the violin, and almost always an overachiever in school. It quickly became apparent that a monolithic Grace Lee identity had formed, inculcating many of the most common stereotypes associated with Asian-Americans” (Lee, 2006). In order to analyze and see if the identity and stereotype around the name really held any water, Grace Lee decides to embark on a journey and travel the country to interview other women that share the same name. Grace is able to meet many women and while some certainly did share and fit the image, others did not (ie. goth artist).

I think that this film review really captures a side of Asian-American identity that I wasn’t able to put into words. I certainly feel as though there is definitely a “stereotype” that society commonly puts on Asian women as “good, well-behaved, overachiever, etc.” that puts a lot of pressure onto individuals and have experienced first-hand as well as witnessed many young females that have a hard time finding their true identity because they feel conflicted due to all the labels they feel obligated to uphold.

Asians in America: A Demographic Overview

It’s frustrating to meet people who have pre-conceived notions of you before they get to know you. Or to speak to someone over the phone, then meet them for the first time in person to hear, “Oh wow, I didn’t expect you to speak such good English,” “Your pronunciation is so good.” It always catches me off guard because as someone that’s lived in America all my life, it’s not something I think about. Here are some interesting demographics from the American Immigration Council (2012).

  • Asians are the fastest-growing racial group in the United States and now comprise one out of every 20 people.
  • Two-thirds of all Asians are immigrants, the majority of whom have put down firm roots in this country.
  • Nearly three-fifths of foreign-born Asians are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote, and over half speak English “very well” or better.
  • Nearly half (48.1%) of employed Asians age 16 and over worked in management, business, science, and arts occupations in 2010.
  • Asian businesses and consumers sustain millions of jobs and add hundreds of billions of dollars in value to the U.S. economy.

This is important because as we see more diversity with a growing Asian population, it’s valuable to not restrict people to stereotypes that may be seen commonly in the media. Not only will breaking these boundaries help build a stronger community, it’ll help share ideas for a more innovative future.

To sum it up…

From the examples that I chose, I was surprised to find out that ⅔ of the characters took on a more regularly seen ‘main’ role and not just a minor, supporting role. I was also pleased to find that in these more recent films, there were very few Asian stereotypes that were seen such as speaking little English, being a “goody two-shoes,” “straight-A student,” bad driver, quiet good girl, exotic, etc., that were many of the characteristics seen in the brief moments played by a token Asian female character in many older films.

Another surprising and interesting pattern that I noticed was the fact that any of the Asian characters played by these actresses could have been replaced by any other ethnicity actress. All the characteristics portrayed by these characters that might have ‘not fit the Asian stereotype’ would not have been seen if they were replaced by a white female actress.

Overall, I think that there has been a shift in Asian-American female portrayal in the media which definitely takes down many boundaries and lessens stereotyping. Although there are not nearly as many Asian or other actresses of color as there are white actresses, as America and the media diversifies, I see a potential for growth in the types of roles and number of roles Asian and actresses of color will be able to take on.

Learning Moments

Prior to the extensive research that was done over the course of this class, I had only thought about how the media used Asian characters to portray stereotypes. I saw lots of comedic Asian characters that would play these roles just to “fill” the spot which only solidified these nonsensical stereotypes. Taking a different approach, I was able to search, find, and analyze more recent films that not only did not follow the traditions but rather made it a point to not make it any different from the role being played by a white actress. This was something that I had never realized and allowed me to have great appreciation for these films.

A big wake up call was during week 3 where we analyzed“A Brand by Any Other Name” by Douglas Rushkoff. I was surprised to find out how much background analysis is being done in advertising and marketing certain brands to target children. It’s interesting to think about the many changes that have resulted from only being able to consume media to being able to interact with it. The Pokemon example that Rushkoff uses illustrates the fandom perfectly in the way that it started off merely as a tv show that kids would watch for entertainment. Then, with the rollout of the video game, the storyline consists of adventures that were portrayed on the tv show (collect monsters). Finally, when Pokemon cards were invented, it created a tug on kids as they needed to collect (by buying more cards) in order to be a “better player.” “Pokemon teaches them how to want things that they can’t or won’t actually play with. In fact, it teaches them how to buy things they don’t even want. While a child might want one particular card, he needs to purchase them in packages whose contents are not revealed. He must buy blind and repeatedly until he gets the object of his desire.” When I read this, it led me to see how much of a vicious cycle of advertisement Pokemon had been the entire time. It’s really taught me to take a step back when getting sucked into convincing advertisements and ask myself whether or not it’s something that I really want or if I want it for the brand.

Finally, one of the most helpful assignments was the annotated bibliography where we had to find good, reliable secondary sources. By taking the time to figure out how to sort through many articles and navigate to find a reliable source through using specific keywords, I have learned to efficiently find scholarly articles that I will use for the entirety of my college and professional career.

Works Cited

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Dir. David Yates. Perf. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., 2007. Film.
  2. 13 Reasons Why. By Brian Yorkey. Dir. Jay Asher. Perf. Katherine Langford and Dylan Minnette. A Netflix Original. Netflix, 2017. Web.
  3. Grey’s Anatomy: Season 1-10. Dir. Chandra Wilson and Kevin McKidd. By Shonda Rhimes. Perf. Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, and Sandra Oh. American Broadcasting Company, 2005. TV show.
  4. “Asians in America: A Demographic Overview.” American Immigration Council. 26 Apr. 2012. Web. 20 May 2017.
  5. Lee, Grace. “Grace Lee as Asian America: A Film Review of The Grace Lee Project (2005).” Ed. David Lee. 15 (2006): 63-66. Academic Search Premier [EBSCO]. Web. 12 May 2017.

Women in technology and the perceptions that exist around them


Today women are seen in a diverse array of fields including piloting, engineering and even on the front lines of combat in war zones. Though we see women trying to take charge and engage themselves in many fields that they are passionate about, is it a worthwhile pleasant achievement or is it a path filled with obstacles? A lot of us are aware of how women have to juggle between different roles starting from being a mother, daughter, wife or even the only candidate who earns for the family. This post will highlight the struggles and the stereotypes that exist about the women in technology that make their success curve stagnate or even end. Many obstacles exist in the lives of women that include: unfriendly office atmosphere, constant taunts from co-workers, demotivation or inadequate support from family etc. that often result in a women’s professional life to either end or show no improvement. Will the situation for women improve and what role does popular culture have in this topic is what this blog post will cover?

Portrayal in pop culture and media:

 Women are portrayed in a very particular manner in each source that I have found. Some of them portray women as a treat for the eye or a source of entertainment while others show the unruly work environment and harsh comments that they listen to as they work. I was very surprised to see the reception of women to be in a certain way in each movie or source that I observed. I collected sources that belonged to different time frames to be able to compare the changes in the perception of women in technology fields. It will be interesting to see the evolution of women in the technology industry. The media sources that I use emphasize the pain and the complicated situations that women go through to have a decent footing in their jobs, however, it hasn’t managed to show how women today are slowly trying to combat the male dominance or chauvinism in the industry to build a world for themselves.

The first source that I observed was the TV series called Knight Riders that was broadcast in the 1980s. It was one of the most popular TV series of the time and well known for the unique storyline and concept that was technologically advanced. The plot was based on the lives of engineers in a crime investigation and justice firm that made use of an artificial intelligence driven advanced car. The program was called the Knight Rider Two Thousand (KITT) Pilot Program and the objective was to save and protect as many people as possible with their bullet fast ideas and car. The chief technician and engineer of the car was a lady named Dr. Bonnie Bestow played by Patricia and her role went through several ups and downs with every season. She was initially portrayed as a person with little or no experience and contribution and is clearly irked with her coworkers, but as a few episodes pass by, there is a change in her behavior and she is shown as a woman who talks only when required and is the only person who can fix the software and technical difficulties of the car. It is amazing that the main lead of the show saw her as an intelligent person who is an excellent problem solver. I think the problem that seemed to sometimes annoy her was the unnecessary commenting of her coworkers and the constant discussions they had, to demotivate her and provoke her to leave. Such disturbances and frequent conversations can often force a person to give up but in this case the female character came out unperturbed.


Dr Bonnie in KITT car


I think the highlights of the show that served as evidence to the way Dr. Bonnie was treated include: the pranks that her coworkers played on her when she was engrossed in work, the constant arguments that they had around her, unnecessary provocative acts and the hostile environment that she was being put in at times. This correlated to my thesis by proving that women often had to go through many more obstacles than male counterparts though they were genuinely talented and truly deserved their jobs.

The second source that I used to show the portrayal of women in tech was the recent movie “Hidden Figures”. The journey of three women in NASA is shown and there is a racial comparison and discrimination that is highlighted in the movie with respect to the African American women. Despite their hard work, perseverance and their struggle, initially they were not rewarded for their contribution. The story picks up momentum in the middle, where the African American women learn new skills and work hard towards a satellite project that would benefit the nation. They are noticed for their contribution and slowly get accepted in an American dominated work environment that treated them as people of color and unskilled workers earlier. The transition shown in the movie tries to narrate the untold story of three women but also shows the hardships that African American women faced to fulfil their dreams of becoming successful scientists or engineers in NASA. Small details in the movie like the difference in treatment towards the African American women, segregated toilet, distance between the working spaces of the African American and the American people, struggle to be educated in an only   whites’ college and difference in rules and legislature between men and women are depicted very well. I think the movie served its purpose of narrating the wonderful story and showing how three women had a very big role in launching one of the most prestigious projects that made the USA what it is today.


This relates to my thesis by means of highlighting how women wanted to build their career in technology fields but had to put in more effort and time trying to prove themselves rather than simply turning in their ideas and participating in group meetings. They were often either ignored or were never given the deserved respect and credit for the work they did.

The last source is an ad by a tech company: Microsoft. The ad tries to cover the perspective of girl children, their dreams and ambitions. Starting with a beautiful question as what do they want to be, we see answers like cancer specialists and scientists. we see how they are shown a glimpse of a working prototype of their future via the virtual reality headset. At the end, a donning image of the statistical information is shown with the graduation percentage of women from STEM fields being as low as 6.7%. The motive was to educate children and show them the future without directly stating the reasons. After researching the ad further, I found out that there were several reasons why this ad was formatted following a sequential order of questioning, getting an answer, giving an opportunity to look into the future, a shocking but truthful reality check and then the final reaction to the revelations made. This was interesting as it manages to appeal to the viewers conscience and inculcates a never say attitude in children. The ad was not only promoting its support to women and its product but was also inspirational and served as an eye opener.


Microsoft: Make what’s next ad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5soEtBwH0Y )

This artifact or primary source highlights the change in the women popular culture depicts women today. It shows how female children are given an opportunity to experiment and see their options before deciding what they want to pursue for a career. Today women have their own groups and organizations that promote women empowerment and have the ability to create sustainable job opportunities for themselves.

A second deeper thought on this:

The secondary sources in my view served as an extension to these movies, TV shows and ads that portrayed working women and show how they were impacting their professional ambitions and dreams.

I used three main sources as my secondary sources and their titles are self-explanatory and serve as a mirror to the situation. The articles or journals include:

  1. Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?
  2. Women in Technology: The Evolution of a Simple Program That Works
  3. TechnoCapitalism Meets TechnoFeminism: Women and Technology in a Wireless World

In all the three articles above, the keys points highlighted are the hostile environment women need to fight and the impact it has on their career curve and growth. They show the grief and the impact of the unsustainable work environment and the unwelcoming sarcasm that exists around women. Some famous stereotypes that are often talked about are that women are instinctively dumb and need more time to process and react to situations and they cannot be the final decision authorities or need review before final approval. All these traits or assumptions have been shown in the movies/ shows as well and these articles and journals restate these issues and have shown how women have started to create a stronger community to support and fight these obstacles.

These artifacts and journals highlight how women are constantly coming up with their self-created job opportunities where they have the freedom to express their views and execute their plans without any judgement or obstacles. Women empowerment, self-confidence and decisiveness to achieve are some qualities that we see in women today. Though there still remains plenty of hurdles for women the world has become a little more accepting towards woman entrepreneurs but the growth rate either stagnates or gradually increases based om the disruptive job market and extensive gender inequality.


From the above analysis, we can see how the portrayal of women in the media has flourished. Initially women were either depicted taking care of their children at home or doing strenuous mechanical jobs or non-technical jobs but now there is a great emphasis on women in tech as seen in the Microsoft ad and in the recent business school studies. Though this transition is great and has managed to stimulate and persuade women to join STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, there is still a barrier in the actual job market that awaits them. The hostile environment makes it more difficult for women to secure their jobs despite their genuine talent. Today there is a 2% increase in the number of women in technology. Though we have multiple organizations that try to get in more women into the techno commercial world, the results and figures would look better if they were welcomed and understood in a better way. Getting rid of the stereotypical image of how women engineers are, would make their stint in the tech industry longer and more effective. They would be more successful and would discover great breakthroughs in the industry.

Learning moments:

  • One of the most valuable resources that was a learning moment for me was the weekly reading assignment where we were required to describe the article/ video without any personal judgement. It taught me how to keep away my personal thoughts to ideologies related to any topic prior to observing and documenting the facts analytically.
  • Another learning moment or resource was the annotated bibliography and the research analysis worksheet where the primary and secondary sources were listed and a relation between the topic and the sources was established. The importance of having different kinds of sources and extracting information from them to serve as evidence was understood at that point.


  1. Wajcman, Judy. “TechnoCapitalism Meets TechnoFeminism: Women and Technology in a Wireless World.” Labour & Industry: A Journal of the Social and Economic Relations of Work 16.3 (2006): 7-20. PSU Library. Web.
  2. Mundy, Liza. “Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 05 Apr. 2017. Web.
  3. Crumb, Jean Marie|Fenton Ray. “Women in Technology: The Evolution of a Simple Program That Works.” ERIC – Education Resources Information Center. N.p., 26 Apr. 1984. Web.
  4. F. (2016, August 14). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK8xHq6dfAo
  5. M. (2017, March 07) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjahbGqZu6U


Empowering through Asian Sterotypes

Empowering through Asian Stereotypes

Being an Asian American, you find that stereotypes are based on assumptions usually coming from what you see and hear around you. Coming from Japan and moving to Hawaii, I experienced all types of stereotypes being that Hawaii is a melting pot with a diverse community of people.  In this day and age, where technology is rapidly advancing, stereotypes that are portrayed in popular culture and media can affect the way one thinks of another. To discuss this issue, I analyzed the T.V sitcom “Fresh off the Boat”, a sports article from BleacherReport on basketball player Jeremy Lin, and an online article talking called “Getting the Message: Media images and their Stereotypes and their effect on Asian Americans.”  I will be implementing these sources to bring attention to the stereotyping of Asian Americans and how the Asian community has successfully combated this issue through popular culture.


In the research analysis, one T.V show that I used as a source is  “Fresh Off the Boat”. Fresh off the Boat is an American sitcom based on the book Fresh off the Boat: A memoir by Eddie Huang. The show depicts how Eddie and his family who moved from Chinatown in Washington D.C to Orlando Florida and the adjustments that the Family has to make being that there is not a large Asian population there. Many people found the title of the show “Fresh off the Boat” to be offensive, implicating that the immigrants are arriving to America off the boat. This can be dated back to the 1880s when people were migrating over from different countries to come to America. As you can see, this was a long time ago, and seems outdated and irrelevant because immigration of Asian Americans happened generations ago.  One thing I noticed about the show is that Eddie the character and narrator, tries very hard to try and fit in and mentions that that’s all he was trying to do. He wears shirts with famous black rappers as that is the culture for young kids. He was getting teased about his accent so he kind of goes against his culture and adapts to fit the one that surrounds him. His mother is having a hard time adjusting as well. She is used to her ways in Chinatown and finds American culture rather odd and different. His dad is ambitious and believes in the American dream as he owns a cowboy themed restaurant trying to make it in the business.

I found it interesting how Eddie wants to adapt to the American culture. Although his parents have noticeable accents, he does not. You can see it in the way he dresses such as wearing chains, jewelry, basketball jerseys, hats, and just keeping up on American trends. In another scene,  Eddie is invited to sit with other kids at the lunch table because he liked a particular rapper, however they kicked him out because he was eating noodles which they found weird. This was also another stereotype. In the asian culture, rice and noodles are a staple in the cuisine so it’s not a surprise during the scene where he brings noodles for lunch. However, the “Americans” on the lunch table looked at his food in disgust like they’ve never seen noodles before. There reaction was over the top and made it seem that was such a foreign item that does not belong in the U.S. Another interesting thing was just seeing how the family tries to adapt to the culture around them. The father tries to fit in by opening up a cowboy themed restaurant in Orlando Florida. He is pursuing the American dream which is why many immigrants come to the U.S so that they get that opportunity. He is optimistic and is obsessed with his restaurant. The mom however, does not enjoy the move and is having a harder time adjusting to the move and adapting to American culture. She does not like the other moms around their neighborhood but is forced to hang out and spend time with them. She does things that the other moms like, such as jogging and doesn’t understand why they do it. The show is about how the Asian culture isn’t “normal” and how it isn’t accepted by western society, forcing the Huang’s to feel obligated to adapt to the people around them.

Jeremy Lin Remain an American Icon:

A secondary source that I found is an article on BleacherReport, Jeremy Lin Remains an American Icon, Even Five Years After Linsanity . This article talks about the Asian-American NBA basketball player Jeremy Lin and his unorthodox rise to success on the court. The author talks about how big he was, especially to the Asian American community, even those who weren’t basketball fans. He broke down stereotypes and prejudice that dates back to the 1800’s with the Chinese exclusion act of 1882 and Japanese internment camps during World War II. The author, also being an Asian American, talks about him growing up during Jeremy Lin’s prime in Massachusetts. He was familiar to the stereotypes that was said about his race and identity as Asians, that they come to America and are automatically  labeled as smart, nerdy, dorky, and just not that good in sports, especially basketball.  Jeremy Lin defied all of that. Nobody thought that an Asian can actually make it to the NBA. He didn’t listen to the stereotypes that were labeled to his race and the criticism that came with it. During college, he was called many offensive words and terms. He recalls one time during a game where the opposing team’s fans chanted “Ch–k”. He didn’t let that get to him however and just ignored what they had to say and just kept playing ball.

Basketball is a large part of the American culture with many of the stars being some of the highest paid and well known people in America. So for an Asian to become a star in the NBA means that he was an icon to Asian Americans. He excelled in the spotlight where everyone was watching. Fans and Americans saw that he didn’t fit the stereotypes of Asians, how they aren’t athletic and can’t play sports. Yet Lin broke down those barriers. By making it to the league, Lin disbanded the stereotype that Asian Americans were not just good at academics and school, but expanded the limits to what Asians can do and inspired many Asian Americans to not fall into these stereotypes. He embraces this role and said, “I rep for all the Asians, I rep for all the Harvard dudes, I rep for the Cali guys, I rep for the underdogs. I take pride in it. It is not a burden to me anymore.”

Getting the message:

The final article that I found is called  “Getting the message: Media images and stereotypes and their effect on Asian Americans” by Mok, Teressa A. The article talks about how there is little amount of positive Asian American images and role models that are portrayed in mass media. This article discusses how the media does not often portray diversity for the the Asian American culture and how this may affect the perceptions on Asian Americans in western society. Mok also explains about how media can be a large source of information to how beauty is defined. This is important because of the lack of Asians that show up in pop culture and media such as movies and T.V shows. Media has a tremendous effect on society and especially pop culture because it’s how people receive information and knowledge on things. That is why with so few Asians being portrayed in media and popular culture, it affects how they are seen and what defines certain characteristics of the Asian identity. If Asian Americans aren’t portrayed without stereotypes, then people will still label them with those stereotypes. And when they are shown and made fun of, that’s how people will think that all Asians are based on what the media shows.

Learning Moments:

A significant moment that I had during the term was the discussion post from week 7, which asked us if we ever got tricked by the news we consume. We were asked if we were ever tricked by fake news and and fell victim to “clickbait”. Thinking about it, I realized that a lot of sources and information comes from media and such and noticed that they catch you by using titles that seem very interesting, however not true. It’s just a hook to get you to try believe something or make you think a certain way.  This was important because it made me realize how influential media can be in popular culture. Mostly all of the information that we perceive is through news whether it’s on TV or social media. You can easily be persuaded to one side of a topic through what everyone else is saying and not your own true opinion. That’s why I believe that media is what drives stereotypes to existence and to have them stay and be relevant because that’s what people follow.

All stereotypes come from assumptions, based on what you hear from an outside source and what everyone else believes. This is heavily influenced by media in popular culture because access to information and news is always a click away. However, not everything you read or see is true and you should never assume how a certain person is like based on their race, culture, or social class because every individual is different. Asian Americans have broken down these barriers and are fighting against this issue through taking stands within popular culture . Stereotyping still exists because of the way Asian Americans are portrayed on media. With media having such a large influence to the people, we can kill stereotypes by eliminating it from tv shows, movies, and articles and present people to who they truly are through their individuality and unique characteristics.

Works Cited



Asian stereotypes in Films

Have you ever seen a film that stereotypes Asians? If yes, did that film prove that Asians
suffer from stereotype threat in popular culture? In the Looking into the popular culture mirror project, I tried to discover as to whether Asians are stereotyped in films. From what I discovered, Asians are stereotyped in films for entertainment purposes, and a result it could cause insufferable damage to the Asian community.

For my project, I decided to explore how ‘Fresh Off the Boat’, ‘Watters World: Chinatown
Edition’, ‘Fox News’, and ‘Family Guy’ portrays Asians. I tried to answer the following questions about these films: How are Asians depicted in these films? What’s the purpose of these films portraying Asians in the way that they do? If there are stereotypes about Asians in these films, do these stereotypes cause any harm? I used these questions to help accurately depict how Asians are portrayed in popular culture.


Analysis of how ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ portrays Asians:
‘Fresh Off the Boat’ is a television show which features the life an Asian family who
recently immigrated to the United States. Both the mother and father of the Asian family in the film seem to not be familiar with American culture. As a result, they are dumbfounded at the American way of life. Achieving the American dream is the goal of the parents of this family.Moreover, Eddie Wong is a child in the Asian family in this show who struggles to fit in with the students at school. As a result, he does some unusual actions to get attention from his peers. Once in the film, he starts eating American food instead of Chinese food at school because his peers ridiculed him due to the appearance of his Chinese food. Overall, it appears that Eddie Wong’s goal is to get the attention of his peers.

Here’s the trailer for ‘Fresh Off the Boat:



Analysis of how ‘Family Guy’ portrays Asians:
In ‘Family Guy’ Asians are portrayed as intelligent people with thick accents. The most
prominent portrayal of Asians in ‘Family Guy’ is them having thick accents. Practically all Asians in this film have a thick accent. Moreover, Asians are shown to have advanced positions in the workplace in this film. A clip from this film demonstrates an Asian father asks his son in a thick Asian accent if he was a doctor yet. In another clip, an Asian is used as a human calculator. Moreover, another clip shows Asians standing in a line after school waiting at a location so they can be the first to arrive to school tomorrow. These clips are examples of how Asians are used in ‘Family Guy’.

Here’s a video of an Asian being used as a human calculator in Family Guy:



Analysis of how ‘Watters World: Chinatown Edition’ portrays Asians:
‘Watters World: Chinatown Edition’ is a segment that was shown on Fox News. In the
beginning of an episode of ‘Watters World’, a news reporter mentioned that in the presidential debate Donald Trump gave negative comments about the Chinese. Because of this, he says that they are going to send Jesse Walters to Chinatown to get an understanding of how the Chinese perceive Donald Trump. Throughout the rest of the segment, Jesse Walters makes racist comments towards the Chinese people in Chinatown. Remarks such as asking Chinese people if they know karate, asking them on how their cultural traditions work were done in this segment. At the end of the segment Watters tells the audience that he believes that the people in Chinatown aren’t well-informed about politics in the United States.

Here’s the video of the ‘Watters World: Chinatown Edition’ segment:



Analysis of how ‘MADtv’ portrays Asians:

Miss Swan is an Asian character in MADtv who shown to not be fluent in English and to
have a thick accent. As a result, she struggles in communicating with others. One clip shows her going to a candy store and struggling to communicate with the store clerk. As a result, the store clerk is unable to understand what she’s saying to each other. In the background of this segment, there are people laughing to the responses that the store clerk makes to Miss Swan’s sayings.

Here’s a video featuring Miss Swan on MAdtv:



How are Asians depicted in these films?

In ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ the Asian family featured in the show are shown to be unaware of
American traditions. In ‘Family Guy’ the Asians shown are most predominantly seen to have thick accents, and to be highly intelligent people. Watters in ‘Watters World: Chinatown Edition’, made remarks that proves that he believes that Asians are masters of unarmed combat, and are dumbfounded about American politics. MADtv showed through the use of Miss Swan that Asians are not fluent in English, and that they have thick accents. Using all of this information, I deduct that the Asians in the films that I analyzed are depicted to be people with the following characteristics: intelligent, have a thick accent, masters of unarmed combat, unaware of American traditions, and are unable to speak fluently in English.


What’s the purpose of these films portraying Asians in the way that they do?

The films that I analyzed stereotype Asians. To me it seems that the stereotypes about Asians in these films are used to provide humor; all of the films that I analyzed are supposedly comedy films. I find that the purpose of stereotyping Asians to provide humor is most noticeable in MADtv; in MADtv one can hear an audience laughing in the background whenever Miss Swan makes an unusual remark using a thick accent with horrible English speaking conventions. In ‘Watters World: Chinatown Edition’, supporting the Republican party appears to be another purpose of the segment for stereotyping Asians. Many critics of Fox News have stated that Fox News favors the conservative agenda (Mitchell, Gottfried, Kiley, & Matsa, 2014). In the beginning of this segment a news reporter mentioned that Donald Trump made many negative comments about the Chinese. Watters at the end of the segment also mentioned that the Chinese weren’t informative about what’s happening in American politics. Lastly, I know that Donald Trump himself is a Republican. Using all of this information, I believe that this Watters World segment was done in an attempt to make the Chinese appear to be not informative enough about American politics to make reasonable counter arguments towards Donald Trump’s negative arguments about the Chinese. This segment doing this would further the political agenda of Fox News in helping make Republican arguments seem more valid, by supporting the then republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.


If there are stereotypes about Asians in these films, do these stereotypes cause any

Asians being portrayed to be socially awkward, highly intelligent, masters of unarmed
combat, and uninformed about American traditions were the stereotypes used in these films. Moreover, portraying Asians as socially awkward can downplay an Asian’s values on American culture (Tran & Lee, 2014). This is awful for Asians because they will have to reaffirm their status as a real American; it makes it seem like they don’t know American traditions. Also, perceiving Asians to be intelligent causes them to appear to be the model minority, which can result in Asian hardships in the United States to be ignored (Tran & Lee, 2014). 22% of Asians attend schools where many of the students in the school are impoverished, compared to the 9.5% of whites who attend schools filled with many impoverished students. This results in Asian students being more susceptible to end up impoverished as adults than white students (Glass & Orfield, 1994). As a result of this, I believe that stereotyping Asians to be intelligent is awful, because it can result in people not helping Asians who need financial help; I’m assuming that having higher intelligence results in one in being able to earn more money. Lastly, I discovered that discrimination practices such as stereotyping is proven to cause minorities mental health problems (Kim, Wang, Deng, Alvarez, & Li, 2011). This means that stereotyping Asians in any form is a horrible practice because it can cause them to get mental health issues.

An Asian mentally damaged.


Ultimately, Asian stereotypes in films for entertainment purposes can damage Asians
mentally. Moreover, it can result in people ignoring the problems that impoverished Asians
have. People can prevent Asian stereotypes from forming in their mind by refusing to watch films that stereotype Asians; this may help eradicate Asian stereotypes.


Learning Moments:

Week 1: I’ve noticed that the internet usually gives me information that I accept to be
true. I assumed that this meant that my opinions are similar to the majority of others. However, the online filter bubbles Ted Talk showed me that this is not true, because it proved to me that the internet was preventing me from seeing ideas that I would disagree with. Overall, this Ted Talk about filter bubbles proved to me that the internet is preventing me from understanding others perspectives. As a result, I learned that I need to clean my browsing history and cookies, and turn on my virtual private network all the time to ensure that I’m being exposed to ideas that I disagree with.

Week 5: The USC study about inequality in popular films showed how little minorities are
being used in American films. This study proved to me that American films are lacking in
diversity. Due to this I now know that films in popular culture are filled with caucasians. As a result I can help ensure that films don’t give me the inaccurate belief that the United States has little to no diversity.


Works Cited:
Glass, D., & Orfield, G. (1994). Asian Students and Multiethnic Desegregation.

Kim, S. Y., Wang, Y., Deng, S., Alvarez, R., & Li, J. (2011). Accent, perpetual foreigner
stereotype, and perceived discrimination as indirect links between english proficiency and
depressive symptoms in chinese american adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 47(1), 289-301. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0020712

Mitchell, A., Gottfried, J., Kiley, J., & Matsa, K. E. (2014). Section 1: Media Sources: Distinct Favorites Emerge on the Left and Right. Political Polarization & Media Habits. Retrieved June 6, 2017, from http://www.journalism.org/2014/10/21/section-1-media-sources-distinct-favorites-emerge-on-theleft-and-right/
Tran, A. G. T. T., & Lee, R. M. (2014). You speak english well! asian americans’ reactions to an exceptionalizing stereotype. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 61(3), 484-490.

Females Successes and Portrayals in the Workplace

“She’s blonde so she must be dumb. She is wearing glasses so she must be smart but socially awkward. She is not dressed very feminine so she must be a man hating lesbian. She is fat so she must be lazy.” These are some of the many stereotypes that are portrayed by popular culture media about females. Many individuals fail to realize how the media influences the way we think about people of a different race, nationality, and specifically gender. These sorts of widespread beliefs about women has negatively affected them in the workplace.  

Over the years, our society and mass media shows us women are discriminated in their workplace based on their gender. I feel like gender discrimination happens so often in workplaces because women are often seen less powerful and for that unlikely to rise to the top compared to men.


I decided to explore these three movies in how females are portrayed in the workplace and also in how they try and succeed in their future. “The Devil Wears Prada”, “Legally Blonde”, and “Erin Brockovich.” All of these movies show how hard the females had to try to get to where they wanted to be in life and career wise. I want to address these questions: What do these movies have in common and how are they different? What successes each female had? How are gender roles in the workplace seen?

The Devil Wears Prada

This movie is about Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a new assistant for Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), who is the head of Runway Magazine. Miranda treats everyone however she wants and is the boss. Andy has to do whatever Miranda tells her to do, like asking Andy to do ridiculous tasks. Andy doesn’t give up, and in the end Miranda offers her top assistant position and offers to take her to Paris. However the catch is, Andy has to fire the current assistant that’s working for Miranda, Emily (Emily Blunt), and Andy’ friend, which she unwillingly does. Andy’s relationship with her boyfriend Nate also breaks up because she doesn’t see him enough. He feels that Andy has changed a lot and isn’t the same person she was before the job she got offered. The movie part where Andy’s in Paris, Andy learns that Miranda is to be replaced and warns her about that. It turns out that Miranda already knew about that. Miranda prevented this move by giving her replacement to Jacqueline, another job position which pays better. Due to that she had to withdraw her original recommendation for that position, her second in command at the magazine (Nigel). Nigel is disappointed and mad that he didn’t get that position. But he still stays at his current job because he thinks Miranda would do something in return for what she did to him. Andy criticizes Miranda for that but Miranda says that she did the same when she fired Emily. Andy realizes this so she quits and leaves to go back to the U.S. In the end of the movie, Andy gets a journalism job (her original goal in the beginning), with Miranda’s recommendation. She learns that it’s better to be who you are then what you are expected to be and act like. This movie basically shows how hard Andy had to work to become the person on the top. It also shows how nothing comes easy in life.

Overall, this movie shows how hard women often have to work to achieve their goal in a workplace. Andy struggled through her time while working for Miranda, it showed how strong and hard-working women are. She always focused on the positive enough though her life was hell when she was working for Miranda. She had to sacrifice a lot to get where she wanted to be. She had to break up with her boyfriend, change her style, and always work extra hours. Eventually, she stuck to the end where she was offered a job at another magazine by Miranda’s recommendation. One quote I found very true that was said by Nigel to Andy was, Let me know when your whole life goes up in smoke. That means it’s time for a promotion.” Things don’t come easy especially to females, they have to work hard to achieve what they want.


Legally Blonde

This movie is about a girl named Elle (the main character) who finds motivation to attend Harvard Law School. Her motivation is to basically win back her ex-boyfriend. But things change once she discovers the true passion for law. In this movie she was seen very girly, a dumb blonde, and someone that’s weak. I mean ‘weak’ as in weak to go above and beyond in being intelligent. She surprisingly got accepted into Harvard Law School and everyone was surprised, people were even making bets that she wouldn’t last it in Harvard til the end of the week. During the movie she proves to everyone that she’s not all that dumb but actually very smart, especially to her ex boyfriend. She proves it big, the part at the end of the movie where she wins a big case in court. I feel like this movie was to show how women can be anything they want to be whatever they look like.

legally_blonde_-_h_-_2016 (1)

Erin Brockovich

Erin Brockovich, is a movie about the actual Erin Brockovich. Basically the film is a dramatization of the true story of Erin Brockovich, portrayed by Julia Roberts, who basically fought against the energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). This movie basically describes an unemployed single mother (in the movie she is named Julia) that becomes a legal assistant for her authority (Ed) in this law firm. Before joining, she was a stay at home mother that was desperately looking for a job. While working at the law firm as a legal assistant, she finds out a cover up involving contaminated water in local community which is causing individuals of that community health problems. She basically helps the lawyers with this case and brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply. She shows real feminism and the power of the female’s body. People in the workplace seemed to always find her very sexy and didn’t take her seriously because of the way she dressed. She shows that dressing the way she does isn’t always bad.

This movie really goes to show how important it is for a female to be who she is and dress how she wants to dress. It basically emphasizes on how it’s the intelligence that matters to get somewhere in the workplace not always the looks but the looks are for sure a plus for a female.


What do these movies have in common and how are they different?

In all of these movies there is some sort of portrayal towards females and how they’re stereotyped in the workplace. In the movie “The Devil Wears Prada,” they showed how Andy was a second assistant and how hard she had to work for what she wanted to become. She was seen as a girl who was a tool to her boss. Her ex boyfriend especially has seen that, and basically said that to her. This movie basically shows that females usually get it a lot worse than males, as to promotion wise, position wise, and just in general. Females are usually not always at the top (not the head bosses), unless they look and act powerful like Miranda, the character in this movie.

“Legally Blonde,” Elle, the main character in this movie,was showed as a blonde, a not so intelligent girl who needs a guy in her life. Later on she was showed as a smart, determined girl who got what she wanted in life. She was stereotyped as being too girly and unintelligent by many people. People thought she wasn’t smart enough to get into law school because usually blonde girls weren’t seen as lawyers, but she proved everyone wrong at the end.

In the movie “Erin Brockovich,” Julia that played the role of Erin, always got stereotyped as being a sex object. She was always judged by others of how she was dressed especially in her work place. She was just a legal assistant that barley was important in the law firm, but she proved to everyone that she was actually something and that she could do and find anything.

What’s different in all these movies is the type of setting the females were in and the type of jobs they were working at. Each had their own struggles and challenges. Each movie ends in many workplace successes for these women.

What successes each female had?


In the movie “Devil Wears Prada,” Andy achieves her dream job goal; to become a journalist. She does that by putting in her extra hours each day for her assistant job. By working hard and realizing the truth about herself, she achieves to be a journalist with the help of Miranda’s (her boss that runs the Runway Magazine) recommendation. “Legally Blonde,” in this movie Elle puts her mind to the test to become the best student and lawyer she could be by studying extra hard and seeing her true passion for law. The “Erin Brockovich” movie, Erin shows her true self and doesn’t let anybody at her work bring her down. She works extra hard to find why the people of a city were contaminated by the water. She’s the one that discovered what contaminated the water supply of a city in California. Each female in these movies has to work hard to achieve their goal, like to be a great lawyer everyone can rely on.


How are gender roles in the workplace seen?

Compared to males, females are often seen as less powerful in the workplace. Women usually earn 80 percent of what men are paid according to “Gender Inequality and Women in the Workplace” article. Women are usually the ones seen as caregivers to children and the ones that stay home. In the “United States: What do you think are the most important issues facing working women in this country today?” it shows that more males are promoted and advanced in workplaces than females. About 72 percent of men received promotions by 2010 compared to 65 percent of women according to the 2008 Catalyst Survey. Women really have to try twice as hard to achieve in life, while men can achieve easily. And according to “Women in the Workplace 2016” article, women are 19 percent to be the ones that have c-suite job positions which is such a little percent compared to the men. And as of the overall successes in jobs between these two genders, they are quite the same today compared as to when they were back in the day.



Women are often seen as less qualified and incapable leaders than men even to this day. They are usually discriminated by the gender in the workplace and always seen less powerful. Over the years, the workplace for women has changed beneficially for them. Women are now handling more leading job positions and get paid quite the same as men get paid according to “United States: What do you think are the most important issues facing working women in this country today?” statistics. Nowadays, you’ll not only see women taking care of children at home but males to since more females are working. Women are taking on bigger roles in workplaces today than they were back in the day.Women-men-differs

Learning moments:

I’ve learned to dig deeper into sources to find the hard facts that could be useful for my project. It really gave me a new understanding by digging deeper into sources I found reliable. I’ve learned how to properly tell if a source is legitimately reliable or not by going on the URl’s and checking out from where these facts were actually coming from. Knowing this, it could really come in handy for me throughout my years in college especially when writing research papers.

Another thing I have found very interesting and shocking was on Week 5. I found that week very eye opening since the topic for that week really grabbed my attention. It was about the Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race, and LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014. The statistics really shocked me, I didn’t really know how much people were misrepresented and portrayed in films especially other races than whites and females. It really made me think of how much diversity there is in films. The things I’ve learned through that week, they really put a more better perspective of how I now see films and movies. It broadened my view of how much diversity there actually is in popular culture films I consume daily.

Works Cited:

Brockovich, Erin. “Consumer Advocate.” Erin Brockovich. Erin Brockovich, n.d. Web. <http://www.brockovich.com/>.

Gannon, Drew. “How Men and Women Differ in the Workplace.” The Fiscal Times. The Fiscal Times, 25 May 2012. Web.

Josh. “Gender Inequality and Women in the Workplace.” Harvard Summer School. Harvard Summer School , 13 Apr. 2017. Web. May 2017. <https://www.summer.harvard.edu/inside-summer/gender-inequality-women-workplace&gt;.

“Legally Blonde (2001).” IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0250494/&gt;.

“The Devil Wears Prada (2006).” IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458352/&gt;.

“United States: What Do You Think Are The Most Important Issues Facing Working Women in This Country Today? (by Gender).” Statista – The Statistics Portal, Statista, http://www.statista.com/statistics/328146/issues-facing-working-women-today-men-women/, Accessed 15 May 2017

“Women in the Workplace 2016.” McKinsey & Company. McKinsey & Company, Sept. 2016. Web. <http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/women-in-the-workplace-2016&gt;.