We are more than your tiring stereotypes

Asian women are exotic, fragile, and submissive.

Asian men are awkward, unpopular,  and emasculated.

Asians are nerdy, criminals, doctors, prostitutes, know karate, and have strong accents.

At least, that’s what we always seem to be told by all the tv shows and films we watch.

It’s 2016, yet the way Asians are portrayed in the media has made little progress.

In the early 90s, a time when it was even more rare to see any Asian faces on TV, Neighbours introduced an asian family, the Lims onto the show. You would think that this would be a step in the right direction, yet only after a few weeks on the show, they were written off. The short time they had on the show followed a terrible storyline in which included the Lims being accused of eating someone’s dog.

Flash forward 2016, a segment of the NRL Footy Show, Beau knows, showed him approaching an asian lady taking a photo of dogs, and asking her if she was ‘picking out which one for dinner’. The segment received a lot of controversy over the racial slur yet many people also defended his actions. Sure, he may have meant it as a joke, but it’s really not funny when it does nothing but continue to contribute to the stereotypes asians have been stuck with for years. It’s like we’ve become so accustomed to casual racism that we have to just learn to deal with it, lighten up, and laugh it off or else be seen as downers who can’t take a ‘humorous joke’.

The following video from Minority Box is another great example of the adversities faced by Asian female actresses in the Australian media industry.

The reason why asians keep getting portrayed with these stereotypes are because the creators of the content are often caucasians who know little of the rich culture and stories that asians possess, only the limited stereotypes that have so often been repeated. Thus if change is to be seen, we’ll need asians to step up to creative roles that will enable true representations to happen.

And let’s make one thing clear, we are not your stereotypes.


Here’s some links to the examples mentioned in this post if you want to know more:

Neighbours- Lim Familyhttp://perfectblend.net/features/20embarrassing.htm

NRL Footy Show- Beau Knowshttp://www.straitstimes.com/asia/australianz/australian-tv-show-sorry-for-racist-joke-where-asian-woman-was-asked-whether-she



Let’s break the Bamboo Ceiling

Despite being known as a multicultural country, Australia has a serious lack of racial diversity within its media industry. Australians with an Asian cultural background or ancestry make up for more than 10% of Australian population yet are virtually invisible in the industry with little representation in both on screen and off screen roles. Not only are they often overlooked in the on screen casting process, there are also many instances of whitewashing asian roles in film. Furthermore, they are underrepresented in off screen roles such as directors, writers, and producers, fields in which are dominated by white males. This together with inaccurate portrayals and stereotypes of Asian people within media has created a cycle of an unbreakable ‘bamboo ceiling’ for them to gain true representation and thrive in the industry.

The BambooCeiling Campaign aims to raise awareness on this situation, to promote the importance of diversity and accurate representations of Asians in the media, and to break down the inaccurate stereotypes that have often been portrayed.

It’s time to break this bamboo ceiling.

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