Saturday, 18 June 2022

Asian American Media Representation: Emasculate, Timid, Nerdy

Abstract: While the number of Asian Americans in the U.S. continues to grow and media use increases, misrepresentations of this group remain common in U.S. films. Examining representation of Asian Americans in the media is important because media can positively and negatively impact identity development, which is a fundamental cognitive, social, and developmental task related to understanding one’s place in the social world. Misrepresentations can also shape intergroup interactions by influencing how out-group members view and interact with Asian Americans. 

 

This study investigated representations of Asian Americans in the media through a film analysis. Observations of the film analysis focused on identifying the presence of representation that either resisted or confirmed stereotypes portrayed by Asian characters in films over the past 25 years. Data were collected on the frequency and type of role (e.g., lead vs. supporting character), characteristics displayed, and the content of dialogue by Asian characters in the films. Results suggested that the frequency of lead roles increased over the last 25 years, with more diverse genres emerging in recent years. Stereotype-resisting representations were present (e.g., brave, loyal, mischievous), especially in more recent films. However, stereotype-confirming representations remained prevalent (e.g., emasculate, timid, nerdy), which affirms the historic trend of misrepresentation of Asian Americans in film. The discussion centers on how Asian American representations in media may affect identity development in Asian American adolescents and young adults and influence intergroup interactions. The authors conclude with recommendations for future research and implications for practice.

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- Besana, T., Katsiaficas, D. & Loyd, A. B. (2020). Asian American Media Representation: A Film Analysis and Implications for Identity Development. Research in Human Development, 16 (3-4), 201-225, abstract
- photograph by Dorothea Lange via

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