Zak Cheney-Rice starts off his article about breaking stereotypes of Asian men with the important question – what makes a man handsome?
Often in our society when you think about the “masculine” and attractive man, Asian men are usually the last thought. Like Travis Kong mentions in the New Sexuality Studies Asian men are “sexually neutered” or otherwise sexually inferior (84). But what makes Asian men inferior to men of other races?
Kong discusses how while Asian women are seen as extremely sexual, Asian men are see as asexual (84). But I believe that society often feminizes Asian men because of the similarities with their female counterparts. When one examines men and women of Asian descent, their face structures and overall statures are considerably neutral in gender. An Asian woman with short hair could be mistaken as as a man, and an Asian man with long hair could be mistaken as a female. Therefore it’s not so much of body type and muscle definition, but of bone structure in the face that happens to be similar amongst the different genders. But just because the few stereotyped men in film happen to fit with the belief that Asian men are feminine and delicate compared to white or black men does not mean that all Asian men are incapable of being society’s idea of masculine.
So back to Cheney-Rice. The goal of his article is to “shatter society’s stereotypes about Asian men.” In fact, the first primetime television show with an Asian man as the man lead was quickly canceled most likely due to the fact that the main role is meant to be romantic. However, Cheney-Rice mentions a new magazine called Persuasian that aims to show Asian men as sexual and desirable people. Shown in the article were sixteen photos of Asian men from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and China looking no less masculine than white or black men. The magazine Persuasian hopes that they will be able to shatter stereotypes through exposure of the photos. (Photos can be seen here: http://mic.com/articles/104332/16-stunning-images-shatter-stereotypes-about-asian-men?utm_source=huffintonpost.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pubexchange_facebook)
But magazine can only do so much in terms of affecting society’s views that have been instilled for decades. However, eliminating the one stereotype about Asian men is not unattainable. In fact, I believe the stereotype is not as ingrained in society as other stereotypes are. In such a progressive country as the United States, there is no reason why Asian men can’t be portrayed in media as someone other than the laundromat owner or a kung-fu master. Portraying Asian men differently in media is the key to starting a change in the way that society views these men.