Posts Tagged 'villain'

Wick-Quoting #19: Technology vs. Family

What happens when you replace superpowers with technology?  Well, first of all, it’s not really a replacement so much as it is an addition.  In Shelly Chappell’s essay, “Fantasy Motif Metaphors: Magical Powers as Exceptionality in Disney’s The Incredibles and Zizou Corder’s Lion Boy Trilogy,” we are only interested in what she has to say about The Incredibles, directed by Brad Bird.  “The motif of magical powers as exceptionality,” is what Chappell states as a fantasy motif metaphor in children’s fantasy literature, such as The Incredibles (Chappell 23).  The Incredibles is a film about a family with superpowers that takes down a non-Super (Super being the name that is used to refer to superheroes in the film) villain who uses technology to kill Supers in order to make himself a superhero.  This storyline is the epitome of exceptionality.  In the film, superpowers are rare and a natural born ability, not forced upon people.  Therefore, Syndrome, the main villain of the film, has an inferiority complex that causes him to force exceptionality upon himself through technology.  Syndrome’s efforts in becoming exceptional himself, threatens the Incredible family’s structure of life.  The mother of the Incredible family, Helen’s line, “Everyone’s special, Dash,” combined with his response, “Which is another way of saying no-one is,” tells spectators that even though this is an American family of exceptionality, they are forced to live a normal life, hiding their powers.  Syndrome disrupts this balance with an opposite mentality that even though he is without natural superpowers, he is still exceptional through the advanced technological equipment which he created.  He openly uses his technology physically in order to kill Supers (those with natural exceptionality), forcing the Incredibles to take action—disrupting their “normal” lives.  So, ultimately, it is technology which causes spectators to distance themselves and fear Syndrome.  It is technology which causes characters in superhero films to become so difficult to relate to and threaten family life.

In order to understand the negative impulses which technology brings, we must first discuss how technology impacted lives during the late 19th century in modern cities, from Ben Singer’s article.  During this time, the shock of modernity was common.  The introduction of the streetcar brought a number of concerns and horror.  According to Singer, illustrations of accidents showed not only the body before death, but the look of horror on the bystander’s faces.  These illustrations stressed both the dangers and nervous shocks of city life (Singer 83).  It seems as though technology always comes hand-in-hand with fear.  This is understandable, considering how people fear at first what they do not understand.  Similarly, Syndrome’s physical powers through his technological devices strike fear in the characters and audiences because it is something that all people are not used to.  His technology is an extension of himself, something unnatural which distances him from us as spectators.  And like the streetcars, Syndrome’s weapons cause inconveniences for the one who uses them (even being the cause of Syndrome’s own death in the end from the combination of his jet boots and the jet’s intake).  The fear of the streetcar eventually subsided as the fear of the automobile closely followed (Singer 83).  Fear eventually slips away after a certain amount of time passes, allowing people to confront and overcome the object of fear.  In Syndrome’s case, however, we as spectators are not given enough time to become familiar with and brush off his weapons.  More time is needed in order to dull our senses by hyperstimulus.  After all, we are only given approximately 115 minutes to cope with the fear of the machine.  Re-watching the film only restarts the element of fear from the beginning to the end by secondary identification with the protagonists.

Singer writes in his essay, “Modernity, Hyperstimulus, and Popular Sensationalism,” that “in the modern environment, death could drop from the sky, inexplicably” (Singer 84).  We know this to be true from the example that Singer gives about the death of a little girl whose skull was pierced by a rusty steel rod, atomic bombs used in WWII, and technology shown in fantasy worlds of superpowers.  Therefore, technology constantly makes us aware of the dangers of modern life, and that at any moment it can be the cause of our sudden deaths.  This constant, unpredictable fear is directly linked with technology, meaning that a person who creates and controls technology is a person to be feared.  Syndrome, with his technology, destroys the family life of the Incredibles by giving them constant fear for their lives.  The Incredibles take action in order to rid themselves of this fear.  Therefore, technological advances interrupt normal, family life.  We, as people who live in a modern world and have a family life ourselves, can relate to the interruption that technology brings, siding us with the Incredible family and forcing us to both hate and fear the enemy.  After all, it is the television that causes family members to become quiet and uncommunicative during family dinners and the airplane which literally helps separation between family members.

Syndrome contains, as I mentioned before, an extension of himself in technological form.  For Marshall McLuhan, we must accept technological form as an extension of ourselves, as he states in “The Gadget Lover: Narcissus as Narcosis:”

…use or perceive any extension of ourselves in technological form is necessarily to embrace it.  To listen to radio or to read the printed page is to accept these extensions of ourselves into our personal system and to undergo the ‘closure’ or displacement of perception that follows automatically… By continuously embracing technologies, we relate ourselves to them as servomechanisms.  That is why we must, to use them at all, serve these objects, these extensions of ourselves, as gods or minor religions. (McLuhan 68)

So in one way or another, we all embrace technological form, whether it is through surfing the internet, listening to the radio, or playing the Nintendo Wii.  Syndrome uses his own advanced creations, which are like a mirror images, or projections of himself.  He created his technological weapons in order to carry out his goal of ruining Supers.  His weapons were made for a purpose, the same purpose which he devoted his life to for 15 years.  And as Agent Smith says in The Matrix Reloaded, “There is no escaping reason, no denying purpose, because as we both know, without purpose, we would not exist.”  The reason why Syndrome exists and the reason why Syndrome’s technological creations exist are one and the same.  So, like the Greek myth of Narcissus, Syndrome becomes a closed system with technology.  Narcissus is viewed to be cold and distant of others, only caring for himself (or the image of himself).  Syndrome is similar, but for him, it is technology which causes his unfortunate drift.  To “serve these objects, these extensions of ourselves, as gods or minor religions” is something that should stir fear (McLuhan 68).  It is gods who are portrayed to be all-knowing, being able to control our lives.  It is thus a scary thought to not be able to have control over ourselves and having to treat objects of technology as deities above us.  Even Supers with amazing powers do not strike the same kind of fear in us, because their powers are a part of themselves—it is them.  Their exceptionality is natural, but even so, we know for a fact that Supers are no gods because we as individuals cannot make direct use of their powers.  And even when Supers save people, Supers also use people to build up their own image.  People use Supers to live a little more safely while Supers use people to serve their honor and duty and be loved by the people.  Both sides benefit.  With machines, however, only one side really benefits—the people.  Technology gives a false identity of godlike power; but it is not natural, it is manmade.

Is it really technology that makes Syndrome such an evil, unlikeable character?  The Joker, one of the most popular villains from one of the most popular superhero franchises, Batman, is a likeable character, despite him being a villain.  I remember watching The Dark Knight at the midnight showing where there were three instances of people applauding during the film.  One time was, of course, during the conclusion of the film, when the credits rolled.  The first time was when the Joker first appeared in the film during the bank robbery sequence.  The remaining time was when the Joker offered his services to the mob and left the room with bombs attached in his suit.  Two out of the three times were in direct response to the Joker’s screen time and the last time is partially also due to the Joker’s overall role in the film.  What makes the Joker such an enjoyable figure to see?  The Joker, unlike Syndrome, contains Batman’s secret desires.  Also, the Joker does not use technology to defeat his opponent, but careful planning instead, and of course, knives, which allow him to engage in a much more personal relationship with his victims.  So by just comparing the Joker and Syndrome in a technological viewpoint, what do we get?  Knives vs. zero-point energy.  One is a lot simpler than the other.  The Joker uses his knives and planning to disrupt Batman’s way of justice.  Batman’s family is untouched by the Joker (not that Bruce Wayne has a family).  Syndrome uses his technology and planning to disrupt Mr. Incredible’s family.

Green ligh... not

I never really was on your side

Not only does technology distance Syndrome from the spectator as an unlikeable character, it also distances Syndrome from his opponents.  With his zero-point energy, Syndrome is able to inflict harm on Supers while being a safe distance away.  The Joker, on the other hand, uses primitive knives, which forces him to make direct contact with his opponents in order to inflict pain and kill them.  We as viewers relate with the main protagonists (the Incredibles and Batman) through secondary identification, more so than we do with the villains due to formal techniques and story elements.  An example is a shot-reverse shot with Batman as he talks to Gordon and Harvey on a roof.  So, in a way, we are the protagonists.  We feel the distance that Syndrome puts between himself and the protagonists.  We feel the breath of the Joker on our necks as he is about to knife a defeated victim.  Therefore, our distance with technology and those that use it is also literal.

Towards the end of The Incredibles, the disruption of technology on the Incredible family is literally seen when Syndrome attempts to take Jack-Jack, the baby of the family, away to raise him as a sidekick.  Syndrome is able to undergo this act with the help of his jet boots that give him the ability to fly.  Technology threatens the family by assisting Syndrome in stealing away the baby.  This makes Syndrome an even more hated figure for trying to take a baby away from his mother.  Ultimately, it is Jack-Jack’s natural response with his newfound powers that overwhelm Syndrome and free Jack-Jack from the evil grasp.  Natural exceptionality prevails even between a baby and a grown man with his toys.

Although we push ourselves away from Syndrome due to his pure evilness by technology, Syndrome is still relatable to us spectators in certain ways.  He is not born with exceptional superpowers, so instead, he gazes upon Mr. Incredible as the fan boys inside us do when we watch Superman on the silver screen.  It is only when after his help is rejected by Mr. Incredible and that we learn that this innocent child, Buddy, becomes the unlikeable Syndrome.  His response of falling into technology to get his revenge is something which most of us wouldn’t do.  So, once Buddy got involved with machines, he becomes dislocated with the spectators as one of the evil villains.

As Chappell mentions, Buddy, or Syndrome, can only try to become exceptional by using technology to enhance his limited physical powers.  Syndrome being defeated by the Incredibles gives spectators the idea that people who are born without powers shouldn’t try to become superheroes, or they might become villains; “only those who are authentically exceptional should be allowed to express their individuality and use, rather than gain, power” (Chappell 25).  This is the opposite view that the recent film, Kick-Ass, contains.  However, the reason as to why Kick-Ass works and the characters like Hit-Girl are allowed to express their individuality even though they lack powers is because they also lack technology, of course, not counting Kick-Ass’ use of a jetpack and bazooka.  It’s no wonder Hit-Girl is one of the better characters in the film.  She being a little girl, spouting derogatory words, and lacking advanced technology is what makes her so fun to watch.

Although technology makes our lives better and brings us together online, it also causes us to be distant with one another.  Syndrome is viewed to be pure evil because of his association with technology, making him hated even more compared to more renowned villains such as the Joker.  While the Joker’s motive is to “defeat the Bats,” Syndrome’s is to destroy Super’s way of life from what it already is.  Syndrome’s reason, or irritant, is that he was not born special or exceptional.  His extension is to desire for physical power – to become a superhero and be accepted.  He does so with technology, which is viewed as cheating in the film where Supers are naturally born.  Technology is something to be feared (it can kill you in the modern world, as Singer points out), and it is something that can break the family.  The Incredibles can be read as a criticism of real-life efforts to control and redistribute exceptionality (Chappell 24).  From Syndrome’s example, it is clear that technology and redistributing it only brings misfortune.  Technology in superhero films is ultimately what causes villains like Syndrome to be unlikeable.

Works Cited

Chappell, Shelley. “Fantasy Motif Metaphors: Magical Powers as Exceptionality in Disney’s          The Incredibles and Zizou Corder’s Lion Boy Trilogy.” 2008. Print.

Macluhan, Marshall. “The Gadget Lover: Narcissus as Narcosis.” Understanding Media. Print

Singer, Ben. “Modernity, Hyperstimulus, and the Rise of Popular Sensationalism.”

Cinema and the Invention of Modern Life. Ed. Leo Charney and Vanessa Schwartz. University of California, Berkeley: California, 1995. 72-99. Print

Wick-Quoting #18: Despicable Me

After I saw the first trailers for this movie, I was like, “wtf is this about?”  Then, later on, when the trailers revealed the little girls, it become all too obvious.  Basically, Despicable Me is about a villain who learns to become a caring father.  Now that we know what it’s about, why should we watch it?  To find out how it happens..

Ballet lessons?

I have to admit, Despicable Me is not a challenging or unique film.  The protagonist, Grue, and the children end up loving each other after each suffer hardships.  Because of the simplicity of the story, the film seems to be directed towards children a little more than I’d like (especially cause when watching the film at the theaters; there’s always some loud kid at a “children’s” movie).  Even so, the film is doing very well, having a worldwide gross of 188 million, with a production budget of only 69 million.  With such a low budget, it’s strange how the film has quite the popular voice actors, including Steve Carrell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, and Kristen Wiig.  Everyone’s favorite character, Agnes, the little girl, is voiced by some unknown girl.  Don’t look up who she is; it’ll just ruin your image of the cute character she plays.

I wanna go to a carnival too

The film has some addictive (and lame) lines.  Sadly, most of the good ones are shown in the trailers.  What the trailers fail to depict is how enjoyable the minions really are.  The minions are interesting characters – they have low jobs and are expendable, yet, they are key spectacles in the film.  What I mean by spectacle is they don’t help really in furthering the story.  While being fun to watch, they freeze the plot, making them only candy to the eye, similar to how women are treated in the majority of Hollywood films.  Even so, I feel they put in the right amount of scenes with the minions to make the film cute and funny, but not too much as to make the film of just adorable scenes.

Minions, get me a bapoy!!

So is Despicable Me the best animation film of this summer?  Sadly, no (it’s pretty obvious what is though).  However, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the watch.  Considering that it is a new franchise, Despicable Me is doing really well in terms of both profit and popularity.  Especially when you look at how it has to compete with Inception and Toy Story 3 – both very tough opponents.

Angel? No.. I'm your inner demon!!

The film is definitely targeted towards little kids (and possibly girls), not so much older boys (like me).  The minions def make this film a popular one.


Wick-Quoting #7: Asians & Hollywood


How did the increase in digital technology (media) and film influence people’s views on immigration?  Did the views increase the general acceptance of immigrants or rather put them in a negative light?  More specifically, what message did Hollywood convey about Asian immigrants in America through the motion picture industry’s creation in 1910 up to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965?  Before the Immigration and Nationality act of 1965, Asians were generally portrayed negatively in Hollywood cinema.  Even after World War II, Asians were shown in an unfavorable light, and not until recent decades did a positive shift occur.  In Hollywood, the more recent the film, the less racism is practiced towards Asians, thus allowing Asian immigrants in nowadays to be more generally accepted and tolerated by the American public.  Even so, some current films still display Asian Americans as second class citizens, in a subtle, non-offensive way.  Underrepresentation of people of color in Hollywood studios is a major problem (Park, 1).  A key example of underrepresentation of people of color in Hollywood films is the exclusion of Asian actors of where they should actually belong; such as the recent film based on the popular Japanese Manga, Dragon Ball, where a White actor replaces the lead role, thus failing commercially and critically.  Overall, with Hollywood being one of the main influential factors in America, along with big corporations and the government, it is only natural that Hollywood has had such a large part in racial interaction in America.

Wtf is this?

Hollywood does have a role in how Asian immigrants and citizens are viewed in the United States, with more recent productions being more accepting towards Asians, causing the general public to also become more tolerant as well.  However, it is mainly the early films during the 1930s in which Asians were blasted with racial stereotypes and negative connotations, causing the public to also share prejudice views on Asian immigrants.

In his paper, “Representation of Asians in Hollywood Films: Socialcultural and Industrial Perspectives,” Ji Hoon Park states, “Hollywood has relegated Asian men to play stereotypical roles, such as frosty killers, martial artists, cunning villains, and the “sexless wimp.”  Films, according to Park, “are cultural texts constructed in specific sociohistorical contexts.  The sociocultural approach embraces the notion that in cultural representation racialized bodies are organized and constructed within specific power relations (Park, 3).”  The power relations in Hollywood are, more specifically, racial power relations.  White supremacy, although not apparent, is the main representation in Western culture and media.  This treatment makes Asians, and other minorities, to be viewed and treated as second-class citizens by not just movie audiences, but by the general public as well.

Chinese Immigrants

Chinese immigrants, the first group of Asians to reach American soil in large numbers, received a great amount of racial hatred from Caucasian Americans.  At one point, the United States went against their own constitution, which states that justice and liberty should be for all, in order to ban Chinese immigrants from America for a short period through the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.  Even though Chinese immigrants were welcomed as cheap laborers for the transcontinental railroads, they were considered as “yellow peril” coolies.  Many people feared job loss because Chinese immigrants worked for much less than the average American, and were thus hired vastly by companies.  As a result, White Americans’ hatred toward the Chinese was projected in films through the inclusion of Chinese characters as antagonists, such as Fu Manchu and the evil Mongol prince in The Thief of Bagdad.

The Villain

One of the common stereotypical roles that Asian Americans portray in Hollywood is as the villain.  From the early films in the 1920s and to current day James Bond films, along with Russian villains, Asians fit the evil mastermind quite well through the eyes of White society.  In 1924, the silent film, The Thief of Bagdad, starring Douglas Fairbanks, was released.  This film contained a Mongol Prince as the antagonist of a White Douglas Fairbanks.  First of all, the actor who played the evil Mongol was a Japanese actor, an indication of how much people care about the differences in the Asian subpopulation.  Asians are all the same to mainstream society, as also shown by the non-Korean actors in M*A*S*H who could not even properly speak the Korean language.

The Thief of Bagdad came out at the time of the passing of the 1924 Immigration Act (or National Origins Act), which “denied admission to all aliens ineligible for citizenship, thus practically excluding all Asians except Filipinos” (Chung, 63).  The 1924 Act perfectly matched the attitude of Asians portrayed in Hollywood films such as in The Thief of Bagdad.  With Asians shown as the villains in Hollywood movies, Americans were more willing to view Asian immigrants as evil, anti-American residents.  Anti-Chinese xenophobia was on the rise at this time, with an increasing amount of Asians depicted in cinematic images as the archetypal enemy to the White race, like Dr. Fu Manchu (Chung, 63). Fu Manchu is a fictional character created by English author Sax Rohmer.  The character is an evil master criminal of Chinese descent.  He wears the Fu Manchu mustache, a mustache commonly drawn on cartoon type Chinese characters in American cartoons at the time, further implying racial stereotyping.  The picture below is a film poster for The Face of Fu Manchu.  Racial stereotyping can easily be seen by the slanted eyes and facial hair.  Fu Manchu gives the Chinese a negative light, as shown by the catchphrase on the poster.

This movie poster is filled with stereotypes. Can you find them all?


The one good thing that came out of The Thief of Bagdad in the Asian American perspective was the rise of the first Asian American to become an international star.  Anna May Wong, who portrayed a Mongol slave in The Thief of Bagdad, was the first Chinese American movie star.  Although she represented the Asian American population in America, she was only cast in stereotypical supporting roles, usually as a scantily-clad “dragon lady.”  This image of the Asian woman as a sex object for a White-dominant country further reduced the equality of Asians in America.  Hamamoto “asserts that the representation of Asian female bodies as objects of sexual conquest in American popular culture is a manifestation of white colonial desire known as ‘Asianphilla’ which means ‘Euroamerican expressions of fondness and attraction to Asian and Asian  American women’” (Park, 6).  Therefore, Hollywood hypersexualizes Asian women in mainstream media (Park, 6).

What does this mean for how Asians are viewed in America?  Firstly, Asian women are increasingly viewed as sex objects by White society.  Even if Asian American women do not associate themselves with the Asian actors shown in films, they are still subjected to a derogatory view as a sex object.  It is impossible for people to be respected when they’re just viewed as “meat.”


The top Asian actors of the 1930-40s carried a lot of influence in how Asians were viewed.  Philip Ahn was a key Asian idol during this time period.  Throughout his career, he was paired with Anna May Wong in films such as Daughter of Shanghai and King of Chinatown.  Their pairing in films, and drama created by the media, resulted in speculations of a romantic coupling.  After both denied an engagement, many people assumed it was because of Ahn’s sexual orientation.  The roles which he was often placed in had a lot to do with how Americans viewed Asians – “Ahn often shuttled between two extreme stereotypes of Asian male sexuality (the beastly yellow rapist and the Oriental eunuch)” (Chung, 77).  Ahn’s sexuality caused contradictions to arise within Asian American masculinity and image (Chung, 77).  His speculated sexual orientation skewed the publicity of how Koreans were viewed, causing the Korean press to strongly “rule out the queer potentiality of Ahn’s celibacy to keep their hetero-normative nationalistic imagination intact (Chung, 77).  With Asian women viewed as sex objects and Asian men viewed as homosexuals, obvious problems arose for the image of Asian Americans during the 1930s.


However, despite the many negatives spins put upon Asian stars by the media, Asian stars also brought positive images to Asian Americans.  Anna May Wong made a huge impression, proving that Asians can reach stardom as well, an event that would have never happened only twenty years before.  Even so, Hollywood’s racial prejudices prevented her from reaching her full potential; hence, she moved to Europe where there existed a higher tolerance of racial differences.  Wong believed that her skills as an actress were not being fully respected and that the roles offered to her were not challenging or help her career to grow in any way in the States. This is not to say that Asians never had roles that displayed their acting skills that were beneficial to their careers and image.  In 1936, the way Asian Americans were portrayed in Hollywood was changed ever-so-slightly to a more positive view.  Philip Ahn played the romantic lead in both Daughter of Shanghai and King of Chinatown, which was considered groundbreaking due to the fact that he not only “gets the girl” but also plays the man in power (Chung, 73).  Below is a still from Daughter of Shanghai showing Ahn and Wong.

Because of the lack of Asian stars during the time, it's no wonder that people speculated a romantic interest between them

Another example of films that portrayed Asian Americans in a positive light are the Charlie Chan mysteries about an Asian detective.  This series not only centered on an Asian lead, but also on an Asian protagonist.  The Charlie Chan mysteries branched off into multiple series including the Wong and Moto versions, featuring leads of different Asian ethnicities.  Even so, the popularity of these series, along with Ahn’s starring roles in a couple of films, was only a minor improvement to how Asian Americans were portrayed in Hollywood.  The Charlie Chan series was considered a B movie production, meaning it was second to A movies.  B movies are usually shown back-to-back along side an A movie in order to gain popularity.  Not only that, but Charlie Chan was not even played by an Asian actor, but rather, a Swedish man.  Also, Ahn continued his career in minor, stereotypical roles.

Charlie Chan was a very popular series during it’s time and only became popular after White actors took the role of Charlie Chan.  Despite its popularity, it was rife with controversy, including some critics claiming that Charlie Chan is “bovine” and “asexual,” which are a few of the typical stereotypes of Asian men.

Martial Artist

Racial stereotypes did not end with the portrayals of Wong and Ahn.  Ever since Fu Manchu, the evil kung-fu master, was portrayed in The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu in 1923, the only lead roles which Asian males were able to receive were as martial arts characters.  Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li led the way in the portrayal of Asians as martial artists in cinema.  “Sure, Jackie Chan and Jet Li save the day and are the heroes, but do they ever get the girl…?” (Ngo, 1).  This ties back into the asexual qualities of Asian males in cinema.  Why is it so important for Asians in cinema to get the girl?  It is because Asian men are viewed as asexual if they don’t.  Also, other races would get the idea that taking Asian women is the right thing to do, because that is how it’s portrayed in cinema.  Thus, having Asian martial artists really doesn’t help in the accepting of Asian in American society, because the Asian protagonists are still placed in stereotypical roles and even as heroes do not receive the same treatment that White protagonists of typical American films do.


Asian Americans are not the only ones hurt by their portrayal in Hollywood.  All the other minorities are, at some point or another, negatively viewed in various films and media.  However, “Though people of color have been marginalized in American media, Asian Americans are substantially different from African Americans in their portrayals.  While African Americans are largely victims of misrepresentation, Asian Americans suffer from both misrepresentation and invisibility in the media (Park 1).  In The Birth of a Nation, Blacks were represented as sex offenders and greedy, sly people.  This is obviously a misrepresentation which made the KKK, an organization with a violent history of racism, look glorious in the film.  Asians are misrepresented as geeks, terrible spouses, and villains.  Not only that, but Asians aren’t even represented in films which display the generic population of America.  This gives Americans the idea that Asians should not be considered citizens of the US, due to the lack of representation in films.


Asian American actors starring in films that shaped views on Asian immigration such as Battle Hymn (1957), Lost in Translation (2003), Portrait of a Hitman (1977), and Harold and Kumar are influential up to this day and continue to shape people’s views of Asian Americans.

Thus, the change in Asian American celebrities, their treatment and roles in films, as well as the plot and content of films themselves, have been changing over time and in turn, influence audience views on Asian immigration. However, films like Pearl Harbor did cause some complications with the American’s views on Chinese and Japanese immigrants.  Due to films like China Sky (1945) and China Girl (1942), many Americans started to accept Chinese immigrants more and turn their xenophobia onto the Japanese. This provided perhaps a temporary boon to the portrayal of Chinese in film as opposed to Japanese characters, but overall did not help reverse the negative portrayal of Asian Americans in the media.

Hollywood is perhaps hesitant to portray positive Asians’ images in movies that provide White audiences with portrayals of social interaction among Americans of different races. According to a report by the Committee of 100, Americans are less comfortable with Asians holding positions of power in comparison with women and other minority groups (Park 13). Thus, Hollywood, being dominated by mostly Whites, portrays a vision of Asian Americans that has played a large role in the view of Asian Americans over the years, within the history of the United States and its constant change in demographics.

Work Cited

Asian American Artistry. “Asian Pacific American: Historical Timeline Details (1920 to 1929).” 31 April 2010.


Chung, Hye Seung. Hollywood Asian: Philip Ahn and the Politics of Cross-Ethnic Performance. 31 April 2010.


Ngo, Janet. “Stereotypes of the Asian Male in Hollywood: Anything more than Martial Arts Characters?” 17 November. 1 May 2010.


Park, Ji Hoon. “Representation of Asians in Hollywood Films: Sociocultural and Industrial Perspetives.” 2008. 1 May 2010.


Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. “Anna May Wong.” 25 April 2010


Wikimedia Foundations, Inc. “The Thief of Bagdad (1924 film).” 25 April 2010


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