Media stereotypes affect real life perceptions

Serina Gousby

The non-profit empowering company ATTN: recently released a video confronting the issues Asian men face as they are stereotyped as unattractive on television and film. The video featured South Korean actor Daniel Dae Kim from the CBS drama Hawaii 5.0 who mentioned that it is very notable to see Asian men on television because there are very few.

The video began with a woman asking four white American women on the street if they found Asian men attractive, and they all busted out laughing. Not only has society belittled the image of Asian men, but also it is very difficult for them to succeed in the film and television industry unless they are willing to be a stereotype.

The media usually portrays white men as the brave superhero and sex symbol, while Asian men are seen as un-dateable, foreign, and nerds, according to ATTN:. Television and film characters who have acted on these stereotypes include Han Lee from CBS’s “2 Broke Girls,” Rajiv from CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory,” and Leslie Chow from The Hangover trilogy.

The only male Asian representation I noticed growing up was the typical martial arts experts like actors Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Bruce Lee. Although this is a stereotype as well, it showed strength, attractiveness, and at times humor for Asian men in the media. However, how does that help the other Asian men who know nothing about martial arts and don’t have the perfect body?

Like other minorities such as Blacks and Hispanics, Asian-Americans have always been pressured to fit into today’s society. Some Asian men, like one of the ones shown in the video, felt they had to act more Americanized in order to distance themselves from the stereotypes. There should be no reason for Asian men to strip their authentic self just to be considered attractive and important in America.

Similarly, in terms of dating, black women also fall in a same category of being seen as less attractive, based on OkCupid charts. This is interesting since stereotyped black women include sex symbols such as prostitutes in film, music video vixens, and music artists like Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Nicki Minaj.

Minorities in general have a tough time being positively depicted in the media and celebrated for whom they are. Since Black women are now creating more platforms to celebrate their worth, like Black Girls Rock and the hashtag #BlackGirlsMagic, there should be a similar platforms for Asian men and other minorities.

Regardless of body type, intellect, and style, all Asian men should feel they are worthy and significant in the United States, and to not that they should hide their accents or be ashamed to embrace their cultures.

The media plays a huge role in how Americans see others in real life and it’s a shame that a television show or film can really affect a real person based on their race. We should always strive to avoid stereotypes and not let them be a driving force to connect with different ethnicities. Not all Asian-Americans are nerds, unattractive, short, or great at martial arts. So don’t judge them based upon what you see on the screen.