Graduation Date

5-2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Communications and Media Studies

Director of the Honors Program

Gigi Gokcek, PhD

First Reader

John Duvall, PhD

Second Reader

Amy Wong, PhD

Abstract

Asians in Hollywood films and the industry have been subjected to unfair stereotyping and under-representation since the twentieth century and up to the present. This thesis analyzes and dissects this marginalization and stereotyping of Asians in American films through text and film analysis and critical theory. Historically, if Asians are not portrayed in a stereotypical role, then they are given no role at all, rendered invisible by Hollywood and mass audiences. Their marginalization in the film industry has damaging effects on the perception of Asians in society. This study will explain what stereotypes have endured over the course of history, their origin and reasoning, and how films continue to portray them. Research will not only cover Asian stereotypes as a whole, but also gender stereotypes attributed to Asian men and women because of their race. This study will also dissect the societal consequences that arise from detrimental portrayals of Asians in Hollywood, including the negative impact of the “model minority” stereotype often attributed to Asian-Americans and the effects on Asians in the entertainment industry. By relating portrayals of Asian stereotypes in film to societal effects, this study emphasizes how fictitious portrayals can have damaging effects once taken outside the realm of film.

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