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Is Lucy Liu a Heroine or a Curse?
(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 04:59:49 PM)

he isn't exactly playing Suzie Wong, but actress Lucy Liu has chagrined Asian Americans nevertheless. As Ling Woo of Fox's Ally McBeal, she spouts lines like, "A woman hasn't got true control of a man until her hand is on the dumb stick," and, "There's nothing I enjoy more than seeing a happy couple and coming between them." The character is a self-described "tramp" who is simultaneously addicted to casual sex and uses sex to have her way with men. Being a creature of American TV, Ling's sexual encounters are never with Asian men, only adding fuel to the fire.
     But some think Liu deserves credit for having built near-icon status for a strong Asian female character out of the scraps she was initially thrown in her first Ally McBeal appearance in September 1998. Ling Woo was evidently to have been scenery for the Nelle Porter character but stole the spotlight and, thanks to a killer kiss, quickly became a regular.
     Liu's latter-day dragon lady has been deemed so compelling by American TV audiences that she often shares top billing with Calista Flockhart. Her overnight notoriety won her a lead in the Charlie's Angels movie in which she kicked ass, literally and figuratively, on par with the far better-paid Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore. Liu also landed the female lead in Jackie Chan's comic western Shanghai Noon and the role of a mafia dominatrix in the Mel Gibson flick Payback.
     Her sexual roles opposite mostly non-Asians have led many Asian Americans to call Liu a sellout. The facts suggest otherwise. Her family immigrated from China and settled in Queens where Lucy was born December 2, 1968. The area began its transformation from an Italian neighborhood to an Asian one as she entered grade school and Liu went through an identity crisis in the normal quest to fit in with peers. Upon graduating from Stuyvesant High, she spent an unhappy year at NYU, then transferred to Michigan at Ann Arbor where she managed to fit acting, dancing and singing into a degree program in Asian languages. She also studied an Indonesian martial art called Kali-Escrima-Silat. She speaks fluent Mandarin.
     None of that matters much, of course, to the countless Asian American women who suffer unwanted attention based on Liu's portrayal of the sexual predator Ling Woo. But some AA women are grateful that she has at least helped them shed the image of passive, submissive wallflowers. Many AA, of course, resent Liu for playing roles that reinforce the old stereotype of Asian women as being available to non-Asian men even as they applaud her for showing Asians to be English-speaking members of American society.
     All of which begs the question, is Lucy Liu a heroine or a curse for Asian American women?

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To Leave Her Be,

You're right. I base my conclusions from experiences that I've had. Most people do the same thing.

Maybe I'm missing out on something? I'm sure I am, but it's hard to alter early impressions. I am keeping an open mind though...
   Tuesday, January 28, 2003 at 08:48:00 (PST)    []
Regarding this "cat",

Well there is the saying that people are the product of their environment. We formulate and mold our view of the world and personal theories based on our own personal experiences. There is no other way for us to draw up a 'picture' of the world we live in other than by pouring reality thru the "filter" of our own experiences to formulate our own version of reality.

Cat has done exactly that, and I can't blame her. She was unfortunate to have bad experiences with AM. She is human. But I also pity her a great deal. Ultimately, she thinks she gains a lot from her choices, but I think that she loses more. It's her call.

Oh, I don't know if this matters or not, but for the record -- I am an AM.
Leave her be.
   Monday, January 27, 2003 at 17:35:05 (PST)    []
Check out where they rate female celebs desirability. Lucy Liu is in the top 10 out of a hundred women being rated. Monica Bulluci is number one. Lucy Liu is pretty popular apparently.
Interesting enough

This only proves that alot of white boys have asian fetishes? Lucy Liu is not attractive, well, at least she's better looking than Lisa Ling. She's no Kelly Hu or Liz Cho.
asian fetish
   Monday, January 27, 2003 at 12:55:43 (PST)    []
lucy liu is definitely not a curse for the Asian american woman. there arent that many recognized asian american actors/actresses in hollywood. people also shouldnt stereotype asians as being ling woo after watching Ally McBeal though. but lucy liu a heroine... not too sure about that yet.
   Sunday, January 26, 2003 at 16:48:26 (PST)    []
Check out where they rate female celebs desirability. Lucy Liu is in the top 10 out of a hundred women being rated. Monica Bulluci is number one. Lucy Liu is pretty popular apparently.
Interesting enough
   Thursday, January 23, 2003 at 11:20:33 (PST)    []
I want to correct his...I wanna say non-AF....not that I want to single out white woman...Sorry.
   Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 18:05:51 (PST)    []
Although I like Lucy Liu as a actress..I am put off by how Hollywood folks think she's so beautiful. She's not any different looking than every other asian female. In my opinion she's quite common looking..but somehow her beauty gets HYPED UP...more than it should. Sure..I think she's attractive..but not VERY attractive. Kelly Hu..Joan Chen..Gong Li..Tia Carrere and etc...are more deserving..if you want to mention about beauty.
   Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 17:49:39 (PST)    []
AF - My "generalizations" come from personal experiences. After dating some jerks at school and seeing how my uncles treat their own wives, this is the conclusion that I have come to.

For the record I'm the product of a 30-year AF/WM union. I hope my marriage is as happy as my parents'.

Also, I dig Lucy Liu! Fetish object or not I think she's a good role model for Asian girls (or any girl for that matter) I would love to be able to make a ton of money doing what I love...which is exactly what she's doing!
   Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 10:30:09 (PST)    []
Cat is the GD:

Are u a WF...I have the feeling you are a WF.

How many AF/WM relationships do you know to put your fingers on this issue. This is what I call idiotic. I' don't quite agree w/ what Cat generalizes about AM but you are doing exactly the same thing she does...Bigoted generalizations that come from shallow people.
   Wednesday, January 15, 2003 at 16:49:04 (PST)    []
"Even Blk people, Hispanics, and Whites know about this. They will say this in their own boards: There are a lot of white guy fetishists (who usually is the most homely type) who date Asian women. And they think it's a joke...Seriously, most Asian fetishests are men rejected by their own women."

You are exactly right- this is exactly how we whites view white guy fetishits, and actually almost all AF/WM couples- because 99% of the time they fit this stereotype.
cat IS the gender divide
   Wednesday, January 15, 2003 at 08:52:12 (PST)    []
***Cat, have you ever met an Asian man in your life? Are they male chauvinists? Oh really?! How so? Oh my!***

I've met a few through school and living in SE Asia.

The Asian men that I have met in school (in Boston) put a very high value on tradition. A lot are looking for someone that they can bring home to their family. They don't want someone who is outspoken, overtly sexy, and taking the intiative to do something. The Asian girls on campus who partied a lot were known as "sluts", although they partied just as much as everybody else (who weren't considered "sluts")

It's nice to think that they have changed to fit the times, but my experience has shown that that isn't true. I've dated both white and asian guys and that's what I've found.

It's probably for these reasons that I've found that among the Asian guys I know, Lucy Liu isn't very popular.

PS. I did look into the fetish thing. Yikes! Scary thing is: I think Lucy Liu feeds this fetish. I still think she's cool, but for white guys, she's the ultimate fetish object. yuck.
   Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 10:24:43 (PST)    []
Raising a beautiful, smart , confident chinese korean daughter in Manhattan is what I am doing these days.
she goes to private school now only recently switched from Public school.
Lucy Lui and Zhang ZiYi are both cute and talented and sexy in my book and make more money than all you posters on Goldsea.
so what, My message to my daughter is to work on your personality and be a A student in school and learn to be a ballsy and bossy bitchy ( confidence) C student in life so you don't have to work for the bullies and the bitches/ (your managers) when you grow up .
My wife and I are not rich but we have freelance careers that we majored in at college and are still doing it.
We also do not come from money or have parents that will give us an inheritance.
deal with it, and if youre lucky then your kids will be happy and sucessful and loved in this world that we live in.
My motto is " No one cares about your childhood "-
I have no more points to make, Peace out, holmes.
Joe Millionaire
   Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 09:21:03 (PST)    []
"It's 2003, women don't want to be stuck in traditional roles anymore. Asian men and their old fashioned values need to understand that, especially if they're living in North America or Europe."

Where does this stuff come from? Cat, have you ever met an Asian man in your life? Are they male chauvinists? Oh really?! How so? Oh my!

There is nothing wrong two people loving each other. But that's just what's wrong with the Fetishist, no matter what he is into. It's not the love, but it's what he gets off on.

There are guys who are into grossly fat women, chicks with bicks, women dressed as men, as's all the same...grossly dehumanizing.

I've bashed White women who come on this site making gross generalizations about Asian men being loyal, good fathers...these are good stereotypes, but like the Asian Fetishist male, it all comes down to objectivication.

If you would stop and actually think, you 'd know it's demeaning. This is not to say that every White guy/Asian grl relationship is based on sickness, but many are. No is no denying it.

Even Blk people, Hispanics, and Whites know about this. They will say this in their own boards: There are a lot of white guy fetishists (who usually is the most homely type) who date Asian women. And they think it's a joke.

Just check out those sites. Cat or kat, however you spelled it, you are living in a dream world (not just you) that nobody else subsrcibes to. Seriously, most Asian fetishests are men rejected by their own women. It makes Asian women look cheap, and by extension...Asian men. Just check out non-ASian sites about this subject if you are not too blind.
At least date a normal (be it looks, personality, or achievement) and not a deviant who acts and looks the part.
another voice
   Monday, January 13, 2003 at 20:05:38 (PST)    []
"Many Asian males have changed with time."

I obviously haven't met them!

Anyway, back to the forum, I think Lucy Liu is great for Asian Americans. She might not be the best looking or most talented, but she's respected. It's good to see an Asian woman holding her own in Hollywood.
   Monday, January 13, 2003 at 12:28:49 (PST)    []
You sound like the typical Asian male, b*tching and moaning because your chauvanist attitude towards women isn't going to help you get any.

***I'm sick of all this misconception abt asian men being chauvinistic,stone-hearted creatures who shun outspoken and confident asian females. Like all white men aren't chauvinistic at all. Your bitching abt asian men's chauvinism is another one of those stale generalizations which unfortunately, many asian females still blindly believe in.
Most Asian men CAN and WOULD NOT mind to have a wife who's intelligent, beautiful and who stands firm for what she believes in. Some Asian women crap ignorantly about "ALL ASIAN MEN ARE THE SAME" and yet, claim to be 21st century modern-thinking women.They aren't as clever as they think they are. They're merely helpless victims of their own false generalizations.

I'm not against my Asian sistas who fall in luv with white men, as true luv transcends all racial and cultural boundaries and inter-racial love relationships happened since millenias ago, yes,even in the most ancient times of isolated China. I am only against those who have shallow thoughts abt Asian men as male-chauvinists who are extremely pleased to control their wives and have her slaving herself in the kitchen and remain as submissive as ever, like a traditional asian wife should.That is a very untrue misconception.yes, it's already year 2003.We aare living in the new millenia. Asian women have changed, so has the typical asian male. Many Asian males have changed with time.
New AM
   Sunday, January 12, 2003 at 21:03:09 (PST)    []
actually, most white people I know think Ziyi is much prettier than LucyLiu. Azn
   Sunday, January 12, 2003 at 18:39:09 (PST)    []
Hi, I'n new here and I'm from the Netherlands.

Yes, we also have Ally McBeal in the Netherlands and I've seen Charlie's Angels, too.

Personally, I think Lucy Liu is wonderful in Ally McBeal. With the role of Ling Woo, Lucy Liu has given me a total different image of what Asian women could be: not submissive, sexual, daring, and taking the initiative to do something. These qualities are being feared by Asian men. (My brothers don't like Ling Woo).

She may not be regarded as pretty by some Asian people, but there's no mistake she is very sexy. That's pretty good for a person like her. I think this is also what we want to be, deep down inside: to send out charm. And not only is she sending it to us, she's sending it to the non Asians, too.

The role of Ling Woo might not be an example of an Asian woman, but what Lucy Liu is showing here is straightforwardness, not afraid to be the way you wanna be or who you are.
   Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 06:53:46 (PST)    []
"On Asian fetish - sometimes non-Asians have genuine attraction and love for Asians, you know. We're all humans here. We're sight based. What humans like.. is what they like. Get over it."

Therez nothing wrong per se in the writing, but somehow the tone is just if a pedophile is talking about girls and trying to control himself from wriggling.

And Zhang ZiYi is just average looking. She was actually only picked for her acting, and the fact that those film makers thinks Americans like her and she can sell tickets...basically the same reasons why Lucy Liu is always casted.
another voice
   Friday, January 10, 2003 at 12:34:45 (PST)    []