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Hypersexulaity Of Race Analysis

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In chapter three of The Hypersexulaity of Race: Performing Asian/ American Women on Screen and Scene, Celine Parreñas Shimizu explains the historical and performative impacts of stereotypical oriental femininity in Hollywood. She presents her argument by analyzing the movie stars, Anna May Wong, Nancy Kwan, and Lucy Liu. Importantly, Shimizu goes beyond simply pointing out the issue of stereotypical representations and delves into analyzing the roles and responsibilities of the viewers and performers within representation. To begin, Shimizu directly addresses how hyper-sexuality has been tied to Asian/ American women with countless examples from the acting careers of Wong, Kwan, and Liu. An example is The World of Suzie Wong (1960). While…show more content…
Shimizu uses the term “subject-in-struggle” to describe the role of performer. Specifically, Asian and Asian/ American women are subject to operate within the hypersexualized stereotypes of oriental femininity. As an actor one must work within the constraints of production and social influences when presenting their own interpretation. Between the producers/ performers and viewers is a dialectical relationship shaping the values that are or should be presented. The influence of production is broken down throughout the chapter and analyzes the impact it can have on reclaiming agency. For example, the author begins to describe a scene and then would break it down by asking, “what do we make of her framing… as a formation of an aggressive sexuality that widens the subjectivities available to women?” (66). Due to fact that there was intentional direct contrast between the two actresses portrayed, the power of representation and characterization can be shown. The relationship between viewer and presenter is not easily seen and therefore many feel the burden of representation. For example, in the chapter, Kwan resents that her poor performance characterizes an entire race (91). The responsibility to change oppressive views should not rest on those who are oppressed. When negotiating or working under an entire industry, there are certain limits to what can be said or done and putting all the burden on the actor to combat oppressive systems within said industry is not feasible. Shimizu also argues that actors “should not be left off the hook” because their job is to represent and portray what it means to be human. There needs to be an understanding that resistance can take many forms, sometimes using the master’s tools, like using sex and hyper-sexuality to emphasize strict
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