A Step Closer to Multiculturalism? Nikita as the Forever Other
Based on the French film Nikita (1990) and a previous series La Femme Nikita (1997- 2001), the first season of the U.S. television series Nikita (2010) is starred by a sexy Asian actress, Maggie Q, as its main protagonist and centers around her revenge. The series typifies another stereotypical representation of Asian women constructed through Western eyes－the woman warrior or the martial arts mistress. Some feminist scholars suggest that the popularity of
action heroines is to be considered a celebration of the deconstruction of and liberation from the gender binary of masculinity and femininity (e.g., Edward, 2004; Hills, 1999) and other cultural scholars claim that the increasing depictions of Asians and other racial minorities are the manifestation of multiculturalism (e.g., Jiwani, 2005). However, I argue that such depiction of Asian women as female warrior signifies neither the fulfillment of feminism nor the realization of racial equity, for it must go through several stages of gender and race policing.
When she is a teenager, Nikita is abused by her foster-parents. After running away from her home, she becomes a drug addict and, in an accident, she is told to have killed a police officer. The teenage Nikita is charged with murder and sentenced to death. However, a secret
U.S. governmental agency named Division fakes her execution and takes her away. Since then, Nikita has been trained by
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Enstad mentions words such as “invisible” (57, 58), “unanticipated” (61), and “threaten” (60). These words indicate the unknown which stirs a sense of terror among her readers. The unknown remains a mystery, and there is no way to predict its movements. By doing so, she underscores the direness of the spread of this toxicity by pushing against this fear. Enstad even blatantly acknowledges the emotions she’s evoking by jeering that after reading her essay, readers might want to “sanitize one’s own environment” (63). As an author, she empathizes with her audience’s thoughts on her essay which allows her to relate to her audience thus, igniting a need to take charge and further analyze this toxicity that plagues Americans. It is common for a community of people to begin scrambling for solutions to an issue when the danger is imminent compared to a future problem. On the other hand, Kim’s article not only brings together a community for a common cause like Enstad’s but, she appeals to a different emotion through her use of a history strand. Kim’s history strand consists of phrases such as “imperialism” (3), “political turmoil” (4), and “immigrant” (4). She motivates her Asian American audience to unite due to the shared histories of the community. The cultural roots of Asian Americans are not often portrayed in American media and is not commonly discussed. Kim
Today, when society talks about diversity, often times, Asian-Americans are brought into the conversation and are talked about as highly looked up to individuals, but they haven’t always been this way. On television, many times, Asian-Americans are represented as “nerdy” and “socially incapable/awkward”, Asian-American males are mostly shown as being weak and stereotypically awkward, while Asian-American females are either shown as “exotic” or also stereotypically awkward and nerdy, as stated by Takaki in his book Strangers from a Different Shore on page 479,
Natasha has been feeling like Hayley and Jenny don’t want to be friends anymore, so she goes back to Becca. Together, Natasha and Becca try to find out how she got in the river. Later on, everyone was at play practice. Tasha wasn’t feeling good so she sat out. Becca’s best friend Hannah stepped in her place. When Tasha went to go move the overhead light, it came crashing down over Hannah. It killed her. Both the police and the girls had decided that Hayley and Jenny had led Tasha into the river and did something to the light for it to fall. The two girls were sent to prison and counseling for murder and attempted murder. After that, everything was going fine until Becca started to get a little suspicious. She asked the police if she could look over all the evidence again. She then came to the conclusion that Natasha had done all of it. She had thrown herself into the river and framed Hayley and Jenny, and she loosened the light so that it would fall. The police did not believe her. One night, Becca and Tasha went out into the woods. Becca was going to try and get her to confess. Natasha did end up confessing, but then she
As a woman I have always thought that all men were superior to women in a society viewpoint. Black men superior to black women, Hispanic men superior to Hispanic women, and of course, white men superior to, well, all women, especially women of color, and men of color. However, when reading the article “All Men Are Not Created Equal” I had realized that Asian men are significantly inferior to Asian women in western society. I never really thought about the imbalance until just today, reading the article despite having always seen it in my day-to-day life. I really enjoyed how the author, Yen Le Espiritu, focused on the historical reason as to why Asian women are seen as more valuable in western society than Asian men. I, of course, had learned about Chinese and Japanese immigration and the Japanese internment in my high school history class, but I was never taught the societal and family issues that these events had sparked.
To understand how femininity and masculinity is aligned in Asian countries, it is important to understand the political events of the time and how this influences the domains of men and women. Each evolvement of a country, through a political sphere, seeks a new identity and thus helps correlates the understanding of the changing definition of femininity and masculinity. This interrelation is illustrated in countries such as China and Japan, where both adheres to the notion of Confucian teaching and both countries undergo rapid ramifications, ideals of masculinity stems from the same concept ‘wen-wu’
Although Asian Americans comprise only about 5% of the U.S. population, this group is the fastest growing segment of American society. Despite such rapid expansion, Asian Americans are widely underrepresented throughout media, whether in television, cinema, or literature. Moreover, there are different stereotypes associated with Asian Americans. One of the most pervasive stereotypes details how Asian Americans are a “model minority”. In essence, this myth describes how anyone who is Asian American will become a successful individual able to achieve the “American dream”.
There has always been a battle between the roles of men and women. Men are very different to women in many different ways. The essays that Fatema Mernissi wrote “Size 6: The Western Women’s Harem” and Dave Barry wrote “Batting Clean-Up and Striking Out” have the same baseline, but are different in their own ways explaining gender roles and qualities. The essays “Batting Clean-Up and Striking Out” and “Size 6: The Western Women’s Harem” are both similar, but their approaches are very different by one being humorous and the other being very serious.
For centuries and even today, gender inequality and racial prejudice continue to exist. Throughout time these concepts have overlapped and intertwined, each other creating complex interactions and a negative influence upon society. In the 1980s, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw through her article, named Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color, introduced the term “Intersectionality.” Intersectionality, is the theory of how different types of discriminations interact thus, goes hand in hand with Judith Butler, in her article titled “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory” which expresses the term “gender acts” and helps decipher a probable cause of the many discriminations faced in contemporary society. Since both gender inequality and racial inequality share a common thread, I believe that what intersectionality represents will help understand Judith Butler’s view on gender classification and the dynamic it’s caused on our social and political formation.
How do the works of Yasumasa Morimura, Julie Rrap and Anne Zahalka challenge conventional ways in which gender has been depicted historically in the visual arts?
I must confess that I am guilty of harboring unconscious stereotypes of Asian women. Kathleen Uno’s article “Unlearning Orientalism: Locating Asian and Asian American Women in Family History” brought this to light. She makes a very strong argument that Orientalism has exaggerated Asian patriarchy and the subordination of women; therefore, influencing research to highlight only the oppressive aspects of the Asian family. Uno states that once we can free ourselves from the “Orientalist blinders”, it will allow us to shed the stereotypes by revaluating the role of Asian and Asian American women and acknowledging their contributions. (Uno, 2003)
In Xiaojian Zhao’s essay, “Chinese American Women Defense Workers in World War II,” the author focused on the development of Chinese American women’s accomplishments during World War II. Initially, after reading the essay, I felt a sense of pride and empowerment in my heritage as a half Chinese American woman. Zhao clearly states her thesis as the essay “focuses on the unique experience of Chinese American female defense workers in the San Francisco Bay Area.” I believe the author’s purpose is to educate readers of the World War II period which contributed to a large milestone in the progression of Chinese American women’s acceptance into American society.
Having an Asian character like Hana Ogi becoming devoted to an American man creates the sense of domestication and assimilation, seen in the U.S. reinforcing Asians as model minorities. In addition to the model minority, in popular culture there has been a change in Pacific Islanders arts sees a booming change of the integration of Hula throughout and creating that normalization in the western
Female is a weak group, with tenderness and kindness in heart, they are usually the bullied targets. Under the worldwide cognitions of the characteristics of women, roles they offered are mother, princess or blind girl. Then adding the nationality considerations, the circumstances would be the same as Japanese-American. As one of the earliest Asian immigrants into the US, Chinese were treated unfairly. The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was an evidence. If there were barely no positions in the society, not mention in the Hollywood and film industry. In the movie The Toll of the Sea, Anna May Wong played a desperate Chinese girl who was eager to own a life on the other side of the world (The US) but being betrayed by her American husband. Because in Chinese history, women were who did all the chores, stayed at home raising kids and not working. In contrast, Chinese men were people who had proper jobs and earn money for the entire family. Therefore, like the girl Wong played, when there were needs for a desperate girl role in Hollywood, Asian girls were perfect choices. And considering the commonness of certain group of people, female Chinese were the group ordinary American family most familiar with and most eager to seen on stage. In a Los Angeles Times article, the author depicted the telegraph message the audience sent to Anna May Wong, “We need a Chinese slave girl. We need a Chinese princess.” (Turner,
A cross-cultural analysis contrasting female characters that refuse to shrink their femininity and those that obey the patriarchal order, and the backlash women encounter when rebelling against patriarchal structure.
Whilst it would seem at face value that the portrayal of a strong female heroine is empowering for all women in a society of unequal gendered stereotypes, the explanations as to why the female heroine is so strong, seems only to be justified through motivation instead of ‘natural’ strength. To many theorists this motivation can only be explained through a woman’s maternal instincts, or a female link to the power and dominance projected by men which is portrayed through a female’s identification with herself and the ‘lack’, leading to a sense of heightened power through the phallic. In this essay I will be analysing whether a heroine is personally empowered through self-determination as a strong women, or instead motivated by external situations such as maternal instincts, or problems associated with gender differences.