Where’s Wang: Why I’m Simultaneously Super Chuffed and Slightly Sad About Star Trek’s First Asian Captain

While there is much to complain about when it comes to Hollywood and American TV shows – too few minorities, too few women, too few LGBT characters…this week I’m a little bit excited about the revelation of the latest instalment of a classic series about to hit our screens. Drumroll, please, ladies and gentlemen, Star Trek is back and it’s more diverse than ever.

 

Watching the trailer made me jump about the flat in a fit of giddiness – not only do we have TWO women in leading roles, the captain of the starship is none other than the fantastically fabulous Michelle Yeoh.

The lead lady of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will be taking the helm of the SS Zhenzhou, yet another nod of the head to how much new productions are trying to lure in Chinese viewers.

That’s one starship captain you don’t wan to mess with [Credit: CBS]
Michelle Yeoh is in my personal and very biased opinion an outstanding choice – she is kick-ass, yet elegant, authoritative yet warm. She has long-standing acting experience (since the mid-80s to be exact – down with Hollywood ageism!) and has been part of a number of impressive Kung-fu productions over the years. She is in short a starship captain you don’t want to mess with.

Past Starship Captains have been predominantly white or male [Credit: CBS]
Although my WWAM side is of course a little disappointed that once again American media just didn’t have it in them to give an Asian male the top job of leading an international, intergalactic crew into the depths of the universe, my feminist side is jumping for joy that we have the second female captain and the first female minority captain in the history of the series. It seems that American media are more able to see a tiger mum incarnation in a position of power than an Asian Kirk, but I guess you have to take these things one step at a time. Let’s enjoy this victory and hopefully it won’t take light years for them to overcome this final frontier. Live long and prosper, and don’t forget to watch Michelle Yeoh charge ahead with warp speed!

“For the most part, what we see of Asian male sexuality is the assertion of a stronger Western virility at the expense of Asian masculinity. In short, the imagery takes Asian men lightly, as less-serious competitors for women, and less-competent fighters.” Sheridan Prasso, The Asian Mystique

The “Where’s Wang” tag allows us at WWAM BAM! to review how present this bias is within sitcoms and other tv shows having come out of the Hollywood machine (and other media) over the past few years, and review any media through an AMWF lens. 

 

Laura Nutchey-Feng

Laura Nutchey-Feng has been living in China for the past four years. Her love affair with the language and country started in 2006 and she met her future husband, a hunky Inner Mongolian, 5 years later. She blogs about her crazy wedding experience at Our Chinese Wedding.

One comment

  1. Hikaru Sulu is Asian and was depicted as a Starfleet captain. He was promoted to captain and given command of the USS Excelsior three years before the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

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