WWAM AMWF media review

Where’s Wang: Youtube and the Asian Male

“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. Today we take a look at the famous video platform of  the internet age and how it’s giving Asian men a sexy voice.

Okay, so this isn’t a TV show or movie per se but I think it’s incredibly important to mention what YouTube and other vlogging platforms have done for Asian male media representation. As soon as it was possible for people to produce their own media, all of a sudden the skewed Asian male casting ratio and the terribly one-dimensional, condescending portrayals are slowly starting to disappear. Youtube has enabled talented people such as Ryan Higa, Wong Fu Productions, Ki Hong Lee (the Asian Maze Runner) and many, many others to not only become famous, and in some cases manage the jump to the big screen.

More importantly, when you have Asian males writing their own story lines, the results can be incredibly satisfying. Many of them touch upon the stereotypes they are faced with in the Western world and play with that; such an empowering move. Just check out Kung Fooled, and you know what I’m talking about. Or have a look at It’s Asian Men, if you ever doubted that Asian men can be sexy. Top it off with Ryan Higa’s entertaing ramblings on the Steve Harvey comments in Can Asians Be Sexy? My recent favourite was their skit Santa is Asian, in which Randall Park redeems himself for playing the harmless dad in Fresh off the Boat.

From the YouTube generation has sprung another project worth checking out: the Yom Yomf Network and website. Launched 2012 and based on Justin Lin’s blog, “You Offend Me, You Offend My Family”, partners include Ryan Higa, Kevin Wu, and Chester See. While the channel doesn’t seem to have been updated very frequently, there is still a lot of content to enjoy. The website on the other hand is very up-to-date and spotlights a lot of interesting media produced by Asians as well as some good discussions on matters of media representation and race.

Even us WWAMs (or AMWF couples) can find content targeted at us; take Mamahuhu’s comedy skits for example. Or check out some of the countless vlogs run by AWMF couples sharing their experiences of life, e.g. My HK Husband or Texan in Tokyo (which doesn’t have new content sadly, but still a lot to look at).

In this way, at least, the internet can be a way to bring about that utopian world in which media representation is afforded to everyone, irrespective of colour, gender or sexual orientation. Even the straight Asian Male.

As the melting pot for the under-represented and an incubator for change, I award 5 rice bowls out of 5 for YouTube and other Vlogging platforms.

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.

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