Asian Air 


A New Image for Asian Men?
(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 04:58:13 PM)

he original flavor stereotype of Asian men may have its inspiration in Hollywood mockery of the first wave of Chinese immigrants in the Old West. Bonanza's gimpy Hop Sing was the only recurring image of Asian men for most of TV's formative decades. For variety's sake, Hollywood racked its brain and added the coolie, the waiter and the bucktoothed enemy soldier.
Ahn Jung-hwan
Corean soccer star Ahn Jung-hwan

     Fortunately, Hollywood is no longer a one-stop outlet for depictions of Asian men.
     Pro sports's $30 billion estimated annual U.S. rake rivals the $35 billion pocketed by Hollywood. Driven by athletic excellence, pro sports allow no room for image jiggering to satisfy racial biases. The exploits of dashing Ahn Jung-hwan in the World Cup wasn't scripted for white American mass audiences. The straight-sets drubbing that a tall young Thai named Paradorn Srichaphan gave Andre Agassi at Wimbledon can't be left on the cutting-room floor. Ichiro's leadoff-hitting and base-stealing can't be imitated with wires and special effects.
     Hi-tech and bio-tech -- whose estimated $400 billion annual revenues dwarf the media -- have spawned another set of images that clash with Hollywood's. How do Americans reconcile premiere AIDS researcher David Ho or Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang with Hollywood's Hop Sings and Long Duck Dongs?
     Questions arise. Doubts are engendered.
     Even modern culture -- commonly tarred by association -- isn't entirely subject to Hollywood's reflexive Asian-male undercutting. Classical music lovers are nourished by Yo-Yo Ma's gourmet cello notes and thrill to the daring rifts of Japan's iron chefs. Younger Americans surrender racial identities to a no-holds-barred universe created by manga artists. Linguists and speed readers frequently abandon Hollywood's relentless quest for the lowest common denominator in favor of films made for Asian sensibilities.
     To the extent sports, culture and business enjoy a tighter relationship with reality than does Hollywood, they offer Asian men a fairer, more compelling stage. And these spheres too pack big audiences that take note of the yawning abyss that separates Hollywood's "original flavor" Asian men from the crispier, spicier variety in the real world.
     Is America seeing the emergence of a new, improved Asian male image? If so, is it making life easier for Asian American men? Or just stimulating a more determined effort at undercutting?

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A New Image for Asian Men?

I believe, as an Asian man that grew up in America, and is near 30, that the Asian male image has and is greatly improving. I don‚t think that we will ever be able to shake the stigma attached to us (i.e. Charlie Chan, Iron Chef, the „slant-eyed geek in ITš, etc.). But the associated image is slowly being pushed aside with the rise of such stars as Ahn Jung Whan and Han Suk Yu. These men are showing the world that Asian men are just as marketable as men of the Caucasian, African, and Latino races∑ at least in other parts of the world. Unfortunately, in America, this trend is catching on a little slower, but it is catching on.

I believe that what we are seen in today‚s media is the emergence of an improved Asian male or the overdue acceptance of the Asian male that has been always been hidden. And this new image could be attributed to something as basic as diet. Today‚s Asian-American men are not as easily pushed around as they used to be. We are as big, strong, athletic, and good-looking as any other race. We can compete with anyone. So yes it is an emergence of an improved Asian Male.

I watch my brother-in-law and my friends younger brothers who are still in Jr. High and high school, and I see that they have a much easier time being accepted now than they would have been had they attended when my friends or I did.

As a Korean, I am extremely proud of Ahn Jung Whan and look forward to seeing him become a pivotal role in the continued evolution of the Asian (American) male image.
Daniel Kim    Monday, November 18, 2002 at 08:49:41 (PST)    []
Most of us don't look like Srichaphan. He's so huge that you would expect he is rather a boxer than a tennis player. As exotic as a Tibetan nomad. I cannot identify with him.

At least people can see that Asian males don't look all the same, now.

But actually, like Matsuoka with that bowing gesture, again such an Asian guy who greets the audience. Looks somehow nerdy because of that.

Does anyone know the Mongolian wrestler Batbayar Davaa (professional Sumo wrestler named Kyokushuzan in Japan). Also huge. but looks more easy-going. Asian coolness. He had to pay some money for having clenched his fist after a victory. That's finally a spontaneous AM.
   Friday, November 15, 2002 at 18:28:58 (PST)    []
I finally watched Trading Spaces.
Vern's alright, nothing special. Then again, neither was the show.

Maybe you need to be a Home Depot type of person to get it.
   Wednesday, October 16, 2002 at 19:14:08 (PDT)    []
Phillipine War Machine
you wrote

"You can't have gigantic populations of a race if they were all homosexuals throughout the ages in those past centuries and millenia."

Yes you can. IF they're bisexual. Don't be narrow minded. There are tons of white, asian, black, latino gay and bisexual men. These guys have girlfriends and wives, but screw around with other men.

I've been hit on more than one time by "straight" guys here in san francisco. This goes for work and in clubs.

However, I do get your point. It's unfair to overly characterize asian men as gay just to make them appear less masculine. It's yet another form of racism against asians.
Political Observer
   Wednesday, October 02, 2002 at 14:43:15 (PDT)    []

"Those people should think that if Asian men are gay why in hell are there more Asians than any other race in the world? You can't have gigantic populations of a race if they were all homosexuals throughout the ages in those past centuries and millenia."

Hahahahahahaha. goood point!
word up!!!
   Tuesday, October 01, 2002 at 12:47:46 (PDT)    []
I'm more worried about my dating life in real life than my image as extrpolated from the media. But I guess it definately has connections to my real life, however indirect or small.
A Guy
   Monday, September 30, 2002 at 21:23:05 (PDT)    []
Okay, I think I need to straighten something out.

I do have a bias in thinking artsy guys are gay. What I was trying to also highlight was the fact that it figures the media would pick a gay asian guy to put on tv. That was, if Vern was gay.

I didn't want to insinuate that he was gay because he was asian. Although the media does like to make it seem that way.
   Monday, September 30, 2002 at 16:52:40 (PDT)    []
I find more white guys acting as gays in the media than asian guys. I have nothing against gays, but I find it retarded to stereo type half of a race as gays.

The stereotype of Asian men as gays is perhaps because that most Asian guys in highschool and college were slender, shy, and usually aren't seen with women. Thus giving the perception to those young impressionable people that Asian men are gay, which is obviously a retarded stereotype.

Those people should think that if Asian men are gay why in hell are there more Asians than any other race in the world? You can't have gigantic populations of a race if they were all homosexuals throughout the ages in those past centuries and millenia.
   Thursday, September 26, 2002 at 07:34:36 (PDT)    []
AC Dropout,
Dude really. Some guys may look gay by the way they carry themselves and dress but are actually straight.

Vern Yip is a hip guy who dresses trendy and probably has a house that's impeccable.

He is mostly likely a straight guy who gay men misinterpret for being gay and get disappointed when he politely tells them he is not into guys.

I'm sure there have been plently of old guys wanting to take him in under their wings to provide for him and teach him about american culture :))....hehehe...Anyway!...
Political Observer
   Monday, September 23, 2002 at 15:27:39 (PDT)    []
Just to let you all know, Vern is not married, I was just on the TLC web site, just thought i would look it up, but he does seem to like katie couric.
   Friday, September 20, 2002 at 18:49:46 (PDT)    []
Political Observer,

"Some guys may appear to be gay but are actually straight."

You mean in-the-closet-straight. That's funny.

To increase my credibility as an creative artist, I must pretend to be gay.

Gees, if Vern is one of those I'm going to have to retink my rave.
AC Dropout
   Friday, September 20, 2002 at 10:19:41 (PDT)    []
AC Dropout

That's funny
   Wednesday, September 18, 2002 at 14:22:09 (PDT)    []
huu 76,
you wrote "And yes, I'm afraid he's gay because of his career choice"

I think it's still too close to call. Some guys may appear to be gay but are actually straight. Don't be surprised if his wife is a knockout.

Where's your faith.
Political Observer
   Wednesday, September 18, 2002 at 09:36:05 (PDT)    []
In response to Bill Lee who wrote:

"Besides, as AM's IR rates approach AF's IR rates, there should be no more excuse to call AF's sellouts, whores, golddiggers, etc... It's for the benefit of everyone."

This has to be the dumbest post I'd seen. What a cop-out mentality!!! Yes, forsake all that who you are, and everything will be ok. AA's might as well become pets, available cheaply at any pet store. You're pathetic, Mr. Lee!! You're not worthy of the name, Lee.
   Tuesday, September 17, 2002 at 23:13:14 (PDT)    []
Yeah, there's only so much you can do with igloos and log cabins.

I might have seen the show before. Is it when 2 neighbours switch places and decorate each others rooms?

And yes, I'm afraid he's gay because of his career choice, not because of his ethnicity.
   Sunday, September 15, 2002 at 19:27:52 (PDT)    []
Political Observer,

I heard from some friends of mine who moved down South that Vern charges an arm and a leg for his services. From people who have actually hired him they thought it was joke he did a room for under $1000 in three days.

Once you hire him, his services and taste are second to none (if you like silk), as they have told me. But his bill rate reflects it also. Not many of us average Joe's can afford this guy.
AC Dropout
   Friday, September 13, 2002 at 13:50:35 (PDT)    []

Gees, as long as you think he's gay because of his career field, instead of his ethniticity. I'm cool with that.

In the USA it is on The Learning Channel on cable. You will have to check your cable listing in Canada to see if you get it.

Who knows maybe Canadian aren't that into interior design shows.
AC Dropout
   Friday, September 13, 2002 at 13:45:12 (PDT)    []
you wrote "I'm curious to see what Vern's upto. I hope to god he digs women!"


I didn't want to go there but...hey, the guy is an interior designer, what can I say. Maybe I'm a bit jaded after being in san francisco for so long...don't hold your breath. He could very well be gay and has a 60 year old boyfriend who has a fetish for asian men.

Maybe he has a drop dead gorgeous asian girlfriend or wife.

Let's keep our fingers crossed.
Political Observer
   Friday, September 13, 2002 at 10:08:53 (PDT)    []
Is Vern a hippie? What channel/station carries his show? Is it national or regional?

I'm curious to see what Vern's upto. I hope to god he digs women!
   Thursday, September 12, 2002 at 21:01:54 (PDT)    []
I just love Vern on Trading Spaces, I watch it as much as possible. I think that Vern is by far one of the best designers and I think that it is cool that he is known for his romantic bedroom designs, I would love to have him come and revamp my room. It's also cool to see an Asian Male in the media.
   Thursday, September 12, 2002 at 18:44:06 (PDT)    []
AC Dropout,
I've seen vern yip on trading spaces. Really good image for an asian guy. No thick glasses, asian accent, ankle high pants, no attitude.

Now this is the type of image asian guys need to get in american media. It'd be a good idea for asians to write to the producer explaining how much you appreciate his role in the program.

Another major plus - he lives in atlanta. That's a pretty progressive city from what I hear.
Political Observer
   Thursday, September 12, 2002 at 13:57:32 (PDT)    []