Last updated: July 25, 2019
Topic: ArtTheatre
Sample donated:

, Research Paper

Merely last dark I saw the film, The Joy Luck Club ( JLC ) , which played on telecasting for the first clip in Los Angeles. I had been intending to see this film but ne’er got around to it until now. Since many female friends recommended this 1993 film to me, including my ain sister, I was looking frontward to sing a great work of art. Up to this point, I have heard nil but glowing reappraisals about this film.

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Near the terminal of the film I found myself thought,

There is something awfully incorrect here!

All the Chinese work forces are portrayed as bad and weak!

Why is this film acquiring good reappraisals? Are the critics all blind?

Then I started to acquire angry. What a heist! I & # 8217 ; m glad I didn & # 8217 ; t pass money to see the JLC in the film theatre. I merely spent 3 hours of my clip at place.

I noticed there were really few reappraisals adverting there were Chinese stereotypes in the film. ( One reappraisal even claimed there were none! ) I am a first coevals Chinese-American male, born and raised in the USA. I am populating the world of the Asiatic experience. I am non a Militant-Chinese-Power-Fanatic but since none of my Chinese brethren appear to be noticing on the JLC, I feel compelled to compose this reappraisal. ( Why aren & # 8217 ; t there any good known film critics of Chinese descent? )

Harmonizing to the 1990 US Census, Asians make less than 3 % of the US population. I can on the side corroborate this during my travels. Asians appear to be concentrated near the ports-of-entry metropoliss like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. In the Mid-West and Southern provinces, normally I draw stares being the lone Asian in the crowd. At first, I thought this was rude. Then it occurred to me, possibly they have ne’er seen an Asiatic before! In the flesh.

We are less than 3 % ! This means most Americans will acquire their exposure to Asians and Asiatic civilization through the media, i.e. newspapers, magazines, telecasting and films. The JLC does a great ill service to Chinese and Asians in general by perpetuating stereotypes to Middle-America, giving a deformed position of our civilization. Does anyone else see this?

For those of you that have non seen the JLC, it & # 8217 ; s about the mother-daughter coevals spread between four Chinese mother-daughter braces. All the Chinese female parents appear to hold been raised in China before World War II although this International Relations and Security Network & # 8217 ; T stated. They all go through astonishing adversities which has scarred them emotionally earlier coming to the US. All the girls were born and raised in the US. The film appears to be happening in the present clip although this International Relations and Security Network & # 8217 ; T stated. It is decidedly a feminist type film with the male characters taking a back place to the female characters. That International Relations and Security Network & # 8217 ; t bad. What & # 8217 ; s bad is the negative Chinese male characters and stereotypes the film portrays.

No Stereotypes? You Must Be Joking!

From: The Washington Post, Desson Howe, September 24, 1993

& # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; Joy Luck Club & # 8221 ; is nurturing for its turning away of Asiatic stereotypes. There isn & # 8217 ; t the slightest hint of a laundry adult male, kung fu slayer or aphorism-spouting, pidgin-English-speaking investigator & # 8230 ;

Huh? Avoidance of Asian stereotypes? Did we see the same film?

The JLC has perpetuated at least two major Chinese stereotypes and has all but set back the Chinese-American image by 30 old ages. The two obvious stereotypes perpetuated by the JLC are what I call the Gangster and the China Doll. I describe them below with other generic Chinese stereotypes. Sadly, many Chinese-made films, particularly the older 1s, besides perpetuate these stereotypes.

Asiatic Male Stereotypes

The Gangster

Rich, powerful but evil.

Can be a immature hood or adult adult male.

Cold blooded slayer.

Rape your daughter/wife/girlfriend without eye blink.

Drug/weapons trader.

Surprisingly, this stereotype speaks perfect English more frequently than non.

Yellow Uncle Tom

Can be an ineffective old adult male or weak immature adult male.

Can be really wise or really stupid.

Normally negotiations like he doesn & # 8217 ; Ts have a brace. Whiny.

By and large no 1 listens to him.

Broken English.

The Mystic Fighter

Powerful, battles for good but normally non rich.

Battles good.

Can hold supernatural powers.

Intellectually distant.

Not rather human, more demigod/terminator.

Broken English.

Bruce Lee introduced the Mysterious Fighter. Whereas this is an betterment over the Yellow Uncle Tom and The Gangster, it doesn & # 8217 ; t travel far plenty. The character is an cold eradicator and has now been stereotyped excessively frequently.

Asiatic Female Stereotypes

The China Doll


Young, thin, willowy.


Subservient, demur, inexperienced person.

Soft spoken.

Sexual plaything.

Runs off with the white cat.

Speaks perfect English more times than non.

The China Doll may even talk with a British speech pattern. This, of class, implies a all right, expensive, foreign instruction. Not bad as Chinese adult females are besides portrayed as 2nd category citizens who are lucky to acquire an instruction at all, allow entirely a all right instruction. A contradiction in stereotypes here.

Stereotype Notes

These are the generic stereotypes and they may non hold all the features listed. And non all stereotypes are used in every film. As ever, your milage may change. However, these characters, in all fluctuations, are instantly recognizable.

The China Doll stereotype is used 99 % of the clip to portray Asiatic adult females.

The point is all Asiatic histrions, you see on telecasting and in films, play these stereotypes! This bears reiterating. ALL Asiatic histrions! If you don & # 8217 ; t believe me, name two films or two telecasting shows with Asiatic histrions that do non play these stereotypes. Can you call even one?

The Mothers and Daughters

In the JLC, all the female parents and girls were China Dolls at some point in their life. This can non be debated. They were all immature, guiltless, weak and subservient. All the female parents end up holding a tragic young person experience which scars them emotionally for life. It seems they besides could non forestall their girls from avoiding this stereotyped trap.

The Mothers & # 8217 ; Husbands

Guess what stereotype was the raper hubby? Precisely, a mobster. He was rich plenty to afford 4 married womans and evidently had power to take what he wanted. The other hubbies were a man-about-town and a immature male child. The 4th male parent of the twin babes was ne’er mentioned. Presumably he was killed during the WW II invasion of China or abandoned the household.

A raper and a man-about-town. Not precisely ideal function theoretical accounts. The immature male child doesn & # 8217 ; t count.

It may be argued the hubby of the

dead female parent, who describes to his girl what truly happened when the female parent abandoned the twin babes, is non a bad character. This is true but he is a impersonal Uncle Tom. He is a vehicle needed to explicate the narrative merely because the dead female parent can non. A non-entity. The character could hold been easy replaced by a friend or another aunt.

The Daughters & # 8217 ; Husbands

Two of the hubbies were white work forces and were portrayed in a better visible radiation than the Chinese work forces in the film. I don & # 8217 ; t think there was a 4th hubby.

In the one incredible relationship with the lone Chinese hubby, one girl splits all disbursals 50-50 with her hereafter hubby even though he earns 7 times her salary! She even ends up get marrieding the tight asshole. Now tell me, is that world? Did she truly believe he loved her? Did she truly love him? Would any modern Chinese adult female be that stupid? I don & # 8217 ; t think so.

Screening Out The Husbands

Let & # 8217 ; s see what we have for the Chinese hubbies. A raper, a promiscuous hubby and a clueless tightwad. Of the two white hubbies, one is merely nescient of table manners and the other is a really rich adult male who plays about with other adult females. What sort of message does that direct to immature Asiatic male childs? To immature Asiatic misss?

What other positive Asiatic male function theoretical accounts are at that place? Damn few, I & # 8217 ; m sorry to state. I did wish one and depict it in the box. Even this character was flawed excessively.

Alternate Asiatic Male Character

Disappearing Son

This short lived telecasting show starred a twenty-something Asiatic histrion ( though half Asiatic ) as the chief character! This alone was radical given the earlier Television shows like Kung Fu which starred a white cat playing a Chinese adult male.

He was even existent. Attended college, played the fiddle and even had a white girlfriend! This excessively was radical. He was strong. He was intelligent. He had a codification of moralss. He was even presentable and spoke perfect English.

Then like in all Television shows, media executives had to make in it and do the stereotype. This cat was a maestro of Kung Fu, glowed while chew overing, put out candle fires with his manus five inches off, etc. Sunglassess of Mystic Fighter! To lock in the platitude, they made his brother a Gangster! His mobster brother turns out to be their common ruin, bombast, bombast, bombast.

It truly was a shame the show was cancelled. I can see why though. It was acquiring excessively supernatural and excessively fortune cookie-ish.

Other Reappraisals

The Internet Movie Database has a aggregation of reappraisals for the JLC. This includes Mr. Tanaka & # 8217 ; s first-class reappraisal ( text ) of the JLC which gives a blow by blow dissection of the film & # 8217 ; s characters which I extremely recommend reading. Besides, read the reappraisal by Michael Park.

Why Was This Movie Made?

It has a batch of Chinese histrions in it, some even & # 8220 ; good known & # 8221 ; . Why would these histrions, obvious Asiatic function theoretical accounts, perpetuate these Asiatic stereotypes? I see at least four grounds:

Possibly these histrions are excessively wearied or excessively new to recognize they are playing stereotypes. This may be possible but I find it difficult to believe.

It seems the JLC & # 8217 ; s delivering value is the relationships between the female parents and girls. This chord has been universally described to me by my female friends from all cultural backgrounds ( Asiatic, Black, Hispanic, etc ) . It seems adult females can associate to this film.

For all its mistakes, the JLC is a film that did & # 8220 ; travel mainstream & # 8221 ; with a dramatis personae of about all Asiatic histrions. The film played in general theatres, non in vague specialty/foreign theatres. The picture taking, sets, costumes, make-up, etc. were first rate. Possibly any exposure of Asiatic moving to Middle-America is better than no exposure.

A individual has got to eat. And Asiatic histrions have a peculiarly hard clip happening regular moving gigs.


The JLC falls short of being a great film of Asians because of it & # 8217 ; s portraiture of all negative Asiatic male characters and the Asiatic female China Doll stereotypes. The one delivering value of the JLC is in it & # 8217 ; s mother-daughter relationships which seems have a cosmopolitan entreaty to all adult females. Besides, the film is attractively made and has texture. However, this film would non be my first pick to demo person ignorant of Asians and Asiatic civilization.

Frequently Asked Questions or Remarks

I had been intending to set this subdivision in as I & # 8217 ; m acquiring a batch of insistent questions/comments about this harangue. Below are the most often asked inquiries or remarks I & # 8217 ; m acquiring via electronic mail.

Have you read the JLC book? It & # 8217 ; s much better than the film.

This appears to be the most asked inquiry. I have two replies for this:

The JLC film will hold to stand on its ain. Most people do non hold the clip or disposition to read the book, including me. In fact, the lone people I have encountered that have really read the book were forced to because of a category at school. Most people would instead see the film. This may be a sad commentary on society in general but it is true.

It appears more than half the people who read the book say it is merely every bit bad as the film or worse. So I guess it depends on your point of position.

How can you state Chinese are so few? One-half of my schoolmates are Chinese! We have & # 8230 ; ( list of Asiatic names here.. )

I do non do this claim. It is taken from an official beginning, the 1990 US Census. If you take the clip to research the Numberss you will see that the Chinese population does non alter dramatically percentage-wise across the USA. I predict we may travel up a per centum point for the 2000 US Census. This may convey up the Chinese population to 2-3 per centum of the entire population. Still non a batch no affair how you look at it.

Equally far as your schoolmates are concerned, your sample is excessively little to do an generalisation as to the entire US population ( now over 250 million people ) . You are likely located in a port-of-entry metropolis like Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York where most immigrants will of course congregate. If you have traveled to other parts of the US like the Mid-West or South, you will see Asians are comparatively rare in this state.

Besides, the names you include are non all Chinese. You have included Nipponese and Vietnamese names in your list. Make you really know the difference between Chinese and other Asiatics?

I am a white cat with an Asiatic girlfriend and & # 8230 ;

Surprisingly, I get a batch of these types of electronic mail messages. They normally come from the sphere so I can already think the general ignorance of these people.

Having an Asiatic girlfriend does non automatically do you an expert in Asians or Asiatic civilization no affair how much you have deluded yourself. You have no thought what it & # 8217 ; s like to turn up as an Asiatic American.

the joy fortune nine by amy sunburn

& # 8220 ; the joy fortune nine & # 8221 ;